The story goes that Jaguar were developing the 1986 ‘XJ at the same time as their XJ220 supercar which makes owning the former a great conversation piece. Originally launched in 1986, early models were less than reliable and suffered from suspension trouble, steering problems and were and the electrics were the stuff of nightmares. For fear of being stuck with the widely used Rover V8 Jaguars owner, British Leyland deliberately made the engine bay of the new XJ6 too narrow for a V8 engine – preventing anything other than a straight six from being fitted in.
Fortunately Ford took over in 1989 and gave the XJ a new lease of life as well as a flagship V12. Three years later it received a much needed facelift featuring the classic ’round headlight’ design-cue from the early 60s as well as ditching certain US-spec features concentrating more on a British feel and design. Its original design may have been signed off back in the 1980s but 24 years later the XJ6 is still a very desirable car to own.
Although British Leyland fought hard to resist the V8-spec ever seeing the light of day, their original coup paid off as most prospective owners go in search of the straight-six. The internet is awash with plenty but finding a well looked after, low mileage example is almost impossible. Most have seen over 130,000 miles and anything under that is very rarely up for sale.
The XJ6 may have been a TV prop, a decent chauffeur car and fit for a long line of Prime Ministers, but if you do come across a nice example it is very hard to resist. Certainly early cars should be approached with caution and anything that clearly hasn’t been looked after is certainly worth disregarding.
The six-cylinder engine on the other hand is fairly reliable, although timing chain and head gasket problems are far from unknown. The other major thing to watch out for is rust and pretty much everywhere. Pay
particular attention to the sills, arches and boot lid corners.
So how much should you pay for a decent example? Most round the clock XJ6’s can be picked up for £500 but you’re better off starting at £800 and going up to £1,500 for the late 1994 spec.
Searching the internet brought up a 1992 saloon with just 81,000 miles. It’s in metallic red with contrasting beige leather and has all the factory features including air-con and electric seats. It’s been treated for rust, had an engine overhaul and every conceivable bill, MOT and service receipt is up to date. The current owner has had it for five years and wants to sell it to concentrate more on his caravanning hobby so the XJ is no longer needed. It is a very fine example and a rare find indeed.
So if you’re in the market and have been waiting to find that mint XJ6 there are several good examples currently for sale. Best hurry up though as all the good ones go first.
1992 Jaguar XJ6 3.2 litre saloon auto. 81,216 miles with full service history, 12 months tax and MOT with all bills and receipts since 1992. Full leather interior (beige) with electric seats, air conditioning recently serviced and all electric components in full working order. Full bodywork treatment (no rust) and recent engine overhaul. Drives superbly with no faults whatsoever. Very well looked after over the last five years. £800.