Spied in the clas­si­fieds

Head-turn­ing bar­gains

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

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.

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