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Older Jaguars--1946-1986

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
edited April 1 in Jaguar
This topic was started by the host to ask
questions and share information on all postwar
Jaguars from 1946-1986. This would include all the
XK and XJ6 and Mark series coupes, convertibles and
sedans.

For information on more modern Jaguars, please
review the topic lists in the > or
> message boards.

Questions, comments?

MODERATOR

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Comments

  • I have heard that the 85/86 were the best of those years. What do you think. And is a good one in good shape a good buy now. And what are they worth????
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    In 1982, Jaguar gained independence from British Leyland, and started cleaning house big time. As a result, starting in late 82, the quality of cars coming out of the factory began dramatically improving. The general consensus is that from about 84 to 87 were good cars (These are going to be the ones I look at when I get two nickels rubbed together). If you find a Jag in good shape, I think it will be a very good buy (provided they're not asking 15 grand for it. I read an ad for an 86 that said the owner had done 20 grand worth of work to the car and wasn't "looking to make much of a profit on this car" He didn't give the asking price, but I seriously doubt he would have taken less the about 15 grand, and nobody who knows anything about those cars would offer that much. For that kind of dough, you could probably manage a 93 or 94 VDP.) Seriously, a late SIII in good shape will probably fetch about 6 or 8 grand on a good day.
    If your seriously looking at one, I have one piece of advice. HIRE A JAG MECHANIC FAMILIAR WITH THE SIII JAGS CHECK THE CAT FROM STEM TO STERN BEFORE YOU BUY!!!
    Above all else, have fun and don't drive (too) fast ;-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Many people prefer the older body style, so that's why I cut it off at 1986. Also they are very affordable, in the $6K-8K range for nice cars. I'd certainly agree that the 1970s XJ6s are to be avoided if possible.

    MODERATOR

  • Just to correct something that I often see here - to the best of my knowledge there was never any ownership of Jaguar by British Leyland.

    Jaguar was owned by the UK government, as was BL - the 70s were a big time for nationalized industries in Britain - but there was never any connection. When the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 they set about privatising many nationalized institutions, with Jaguar being one of the first - though the government continued to pour money in for some time.

    This history goes a long way to explaining why cars of the 70s should be avoided, and certainly the further that you go into the 80s the better the cars tend to get - though there are exceptions. Personally I would take any Jaguar from about 48 through to early to mid 60s over any of them for looks, and any e-type, though with the exception of a couple of later e-types I haven't driven any.

    As for cutting it off at 86 shifty - you are probably right, but forgive me any personal transgressions if I go to 88 occasionally - after all I am biassed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Well, we're all friends here...I was only trying to separate the older and newer cars, because we were getting so many questions about 90s Jags in this Board.

    I like most of the older Jags although I do have a tough time warming up to the big fat Mark Vii, Viii, etc. But they do have a kind of charming lumpy Rolls Royce look. Not all that much fun to drive, and I must confess I lament Jaguar's turning away from sporting cars to their 1980s-90s land yacht days. Perhaps the new F-Type will help to change that, but even here this is a very expensive car for the very few.

    The whole soul of Jaguar, how they came to be successful, was providing affordable and high quality sporting machines for the middle class. I think this original vision has been lost, and I'd love to see it return.

    MODERATOR

  • people who have connections with Jaguar decision makers, and I keep hearing the figure of $45,000 for the F-Type. That suggests fairly high production numbers to benefit from economies of scale.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    That's still up-market but perhaps that's the best they can do under the circumstances. I was thinking around $30K-35 max would place it in the traditional jaguar market. The original Jaguar wasn't conceived as a car for the country club set, it was supposed to be for real driving enthusiasts. I'd like to see them regain that portion of the marketplace. There was a time when a Jaguar was a real bargain for the money.

    MODERATOR

  • I have a beautiful yellow '76 XJ6. She has original Lucas "Prince of Darkness" electrical and 39K original miles! Every thing works perfectly, with the exception of a sagging headliner that I replaced, she is the "reliable car" that I drive when my Volvo is broken.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    I think those low miles are working in your favor, and I bet you take really good care of it, too.

    MODERATOR

  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    but frightening under the hood. My dad had an XJ12L (long wheel base maybe?) from which I bring two memories. First, I seem to remember that it had a battery fan, I mean, a fan built into the battery box next to the windshield. Jeesh. Second, it looked like the engine compartment was a vessel into which they poured car hardware until it was full to the top, stomped on it, and poured in just a bit more. No wonder John's Cars does quite the business.

    Not to beat on furrin' cars anymore today, but the Jag V12 strikes me as a perfect example of the triumph of marketing over reality. I bet that that OHC wonder is heavier, less reliable, and makes significantly less power than an engine of similar displacement and vintage, the 327 Chevy.
  • The 5.3L V12 produced 299hp and 330lb/ft or torque. US specs reduced those numbers to 262 / 292(I think). But US specs did run on regular pump gas - at least when new.

    Don't know about a battery fan, my battery is in the trunk!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Most V12s are not built for power, but for smoothness and refinement. Your sturdy 327 engine would be very ugly in a Jaguar sedan...too rough and too noisy for that type of car unless you really did a magnificent engineering job of isolating and muffling that engine. But for all their refinement and prestige, V12s are complex and expensive to manufacture, so we are seeing most high dollar foreign luxury cars going to OHC or DOHC V8s.

    MODERATOR

  • When I purchased my new 1975 XJ6, It had a B-L badge or decal in several spots on the car. The owners manual and ad literature also had B-L's logo on all of the pieces. Am I hearing correctly that B-L never had an interest in Jaguar? If memory serves me correctly, BMC (British Motor Corp and Leyland Motors) merged prior to nationlization. After B-L was formed, it bought Triumph and Rover as well. In fact Jaguars engineers specifically designed the XJ cars to NOT accept the Rover V8 that Leyland wanted to put in Jaguars. Having been through the Jaguar plant in Coventry and spoken with members of the staff, about the B-L years,your statements about
    B-L are IMHO questionable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Jaguar was associated with British Leyland from 1968-1974.

    MODERATOR

  • My '75 XJ6L also had that feature. There was a small fan mounted outside the battery box with two leads to the wiring harness. My mechanic told me that it was to disperse any battery fumes that might accumulate under the hood. The only problem was that only a Lucas battery would fit properly. However we did come up with an Interstate that would fit by greasing the battery and then slipping the battery box down over the battery.
  • Although my 75XJ6L was a '75 model, it was built in Jan of '75 and since the bodies came from Castle Bromwich plant, the body may well have been a late '74. It did have all the B-L markings in various spots. In '89 when I visited the Jaguar assembly plant in Coventry, they were still trucking the bodies from Castle Bromwich (near Birmingham) to Brown's Lane on Leyland canvas covered trucks (4 at at time)they were stored in several outbuildings and assembled already painted and with the doors on. Amazing to watch them build them. They were building 50 per day at that time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    :Yes, it's possible that a 1975 had BL markings, since the' 75 bodies probably were actually built in' 74, and perhaps the car finally assembled later....I'm not sure of the exact dissolution date, perhaps the corporate structure carried over into 1975...but the books do indicate 1974 it seems, from what I'm reading in various sources.


    Mr. Shiftright
    Host

    MODERATOR

  • During my visit in '89, I also got to see the building where the E-Type was assembled. The Daimler Limousines are also built there and finished entirely by hand. The have the Jaguar engine and transmissions. The factory is very old and so small, in fact the the assembly lines are serpentined rather than straight. The workers take a great deal of pride in what they build. The guide on the tour was asked why they used Lucas electricals, his reply was "Because they're British.
  • I have loved jaguars for years and have the opportunity to do something about it. I have found a 1986 Sovereign at a used car place ( they don't do luxury vehicles). They want 2800 for it and it looks clean in and out they think it need rear brake work. Is this a good year and car. I have heard mixed stories about reliability etc. I have found a good Jag mech.who is going to look at it for me but I wanted some other input before making the leap. wanting to avoid a money pit but capture some of the Jag excitement!!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    1986 was one of the better years, but you've raised one red flag already "rear brake work" XJ6's have the rear brakes mounted right beside the rear diff, inbord of the suspension, to improve handling. Which means the entire rear axel has to be dropped to do *anything* to the brakes, and this will run you much more than the 2800 you pay for the car. If you want a Jag great, but don't buy the first one you see. Take your time, have the car checked out, and buy as close to a perfect car as you can find. Yes, you will pay much more than 2800 (which is less than what a *good* 86 would probably be going for), but it will be money well spent. To buy the first cheap jag you see is, as the old saying goes "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    I agree with rea98d...you've picked a decent year (mid 80s fuel injected 6 cylinder car) but you picked one hell of an expensive repair bill, with those inboard brakes and god knows what else when you start unbolting the back half of the car. I'd run like hell from this one. The best price would be FREE, and even then you only have a $3,000-5,000 car if you fix it up perfectly!

    What you want is a car that someone has spent $15,000 on, and buy it from him for $5,000.

    MODERATOR

  • Thanks for the feedback rea98d and Mr_shiftright. I went to have a look and it was not in the shape the sales guy said it was. fenders rusting through, back window out, quarter panel loose. This one is a money pit. It broke my heart to see one in such an awful state of neglect.
    I will continue my search.
    Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Junk, a car like that is junk and ready to scrap. Sounds like a parts car at best. You'll find many XJ6s neglected, because they are so cheap to buy and the buyers can't afford the upkeep. It's the kind of car you have to buy in the right shape at the right price or you'll never come out on it.

    MODERATOR

  • I am contemplating buying a one-owner 1986 V12 - owner was former Jag mechanic-always garaged, etc.
    57K, $10 grand, very clean. Car has Euro gray market engine (no poll. controls)and fuel injection-- welcome anyone's comments on performance-maintenance-things to worry about, etc. I plan to drive it frequently but not everyday. Appreciate any comments. A. Ay cock, Atlanta.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    It would have to be a grey market car, because Jag never sold a Series III V-12 in the United States. I'd make sure that the car was already properly titled in Georgia, so that you didn't have to fool with the government and all their red tape regarding registering foreign market cars. Also, be sure you find a Jag Mechanic (other than the one selling it, make sure he has no interest in the car), and have it checked out stem to stern. Any mechanic familiar with a V-12 XJS (which was sold in this country), should have no trouble servicing an XJ12. (or inspecting one)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Thank you rea...this is a duplicate post that saaycock made, so I also answered him. I wasn't all that encouraging because of the V-12...I didn't even get into the gray market issue, and here too we could have troubles, as the car may not be spec'd out the same as a US market V-12. Also, the conversion work to make it conform to US standards could have been badly done, as it often was in the 1980s.

    Last of all, it is very overpriced, especially for a gray market car. Gee, he could buy a lovely and newer XJ6 for less than that and not have the stigma of gray market to deal with. This would be a tough car to unload.

    I'd say offer $6K and ask for a 6 month warranty or forget it.

    MODERATOR

  • Our local Cadillac dealer just took in a '96 XJ12L VandenPlas with 59K on the clock. They allowed $11K on trade for a new Cadillac. Since the dealer is a friend, I drove the car and it appeared to have had excellent care. Mr Shiftright is correct on the brakes. On my '75XJ6 a complete brake job (new tubing etc) was over $1,000. Also, if my info is correct, do NOT use any other brake fluid than Castrol in earlier cars as it will eat out every seal in the brake system. Can you comment, Mr Shiftright?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    I do remember older British cars being quite sensitive to certain brake fluids, but I just don't know about a 1975 model. I always use what the manufacturer suggests...I rarely try to outguess factory engineers unless what they designed was an obvious failure. But if it's just eccentric, I try to follow their advice.

    Except in a Ferrari, a V12 makes no sense to me personally. Modern V8s can do the same job better and with far less fuel and complexity. As for the older cars, the Jaguar 6 cylinder engine is a great motor...look at how long it lived in production! Longer than the Chevy Stove Bolt 6!

    I just can't imagine having to say, do a rear brake job and fix two bent cylinder heads from overheating on a Jag V12...these are common enough problems and what a repair bill! And for what, really---the 6 cylinder car does the job as well or better.

    MODERATOR

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    You miss out on the joy of going up to the parts counter and seeing the man's face when you tell him you need 12 plugs & 12 plug wires! Or the thrill of looking down your nose at all of us wiht "only" 8 pistons beneath the hood. Or the sheer excitement of shouting "I have a V-12!" when everyone is bragging about their hopped up Honda VTech engines.
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