Spied in the classifieds
This year marks 50 years since the Jaguar XJ6 first hit the streets, and it’s hard now to conceive the impact this low-slung, groundbreaking beauty had in 1968. If it was a visual delight, it was even more impressive to drive and to be in: no other car at the time was so hushed and no other rode so well.
The Series 2 improved the breed subtly while the Series 3, with its ugly bumpers and raised rear roof line, improved the space but lacked the grace. Something new was needed to launch the XJ into the modern era, and the all-new XJ40, launched in 1986, was the answer. Its angular styling and modern interior with all that electronic wizardry didn’t initially meet with the wholehearted approval of traditional Jaguar lovers. However, it was a great car to drive, with a wonderfully compliant ride and smooth new all-alloy inline six engines. It also had a chassis so good that it won over many drivers.
What didn’t win the XJ40 so many fans was the build quality. That all-electric instrument panel gave trouble and the various minicomputers and microprocessors behind the scenes were known to fail too. Rust was a huge problem and the engines had a question mark over them, with oil leaks and reports of head gasket issues, and even the hydraulic suspension gave trouble.
However, some say this reputation isn’t completely deserved, especially on the later models. We found one on Pistonheads, a well-maintained 1993 car with a full service history and only 80,000 miles, up for just £4600. It represents pretty good value for an XJ, although all the usual caveats will still apply when buying this or any old Jag. Expect hefty bills.