header image
Homepage. This page: My classic XJ6 S1 4.2 Jag

XJ6 Jaguar
2001 had been a year of several purchases and disposals, including a S1 Daimler XJ6, the Ashley special, the A40 Somerset, and re-purchase of E83W pickup NCA129. There was also a modern car purchase for 'er indoors, but I won't sully these pages with its inclusion. I decided early in '02 that it really was time to junk my running of a modern car (the BMW 750), and resort to running something with style and of a certain age. Not least was I keen to jump off the bandwagon of depreciation which comes with running something more recent (although even that car is now in its 15th year!), and the appallingly high insurance cost despite me having a NCB and being over 30.

So, with slightly heavy heart, I decided to put the Beemer up for auction and have a look around for a worthy replacement. Pre-requisites for the replacement included its build date - must be pre-1973 so that it qualifies for zero rate road tax, look sufficiently interesting, drive nicely, be comfortable, and upto regular use.

Volvo Amazons entered the frame (again!), and were a leading contender for quite a while. I've had a few of these over the years, and knew that a presentable one would be in budget. However, the thought of another S1 XJ6, preferably in better nick than the green meanie (Daimler XJ6), kept rising to the fore - 4.2 was the best bet, short wheelbase coz I like its styling and rarely carry anyone in the back seats (footroom a bit limited), and if anything they handle a little nicer. Another XJ12 would be nice, but with 10mpg being a regular occurrence, I couldn't really stomach the running costs if I was to use this classic machine on a daily-ish basis. I even dallied with the idea of spending a bit more and getting a nice presentable Mk2 Jaguar, but if I'm honest the examples that were in the price bracket I was considering probably wouldn't have been too healthy - a Daimler V8 version was also considered, and they seem to be more affordable while still having the general Mk2 Jag shape, but the thought of finding spares to rebuild the 2.5 V8 should it go pop, put me off.

So, an XJ it was to be (unless a nice Amazon appeared in the meanwhile). The Beemer was by this time sold, via an internet auction, and the £readies were already beginning to burn a hole in my pocket. A quick scan of the classifieds in a number of classic car magazines produced nothing that excited me. A trawl of the internet however highlighted a couple of possibles. The first was the right spec - short wheel base, midnight blue, and bodily solid (or at least so the advert said). I contacted the owner to find out more, and see some pictures if he had some. The resulting images were a little disappointing - the car looked kind of solid, though it was sat on a grassy bank, covered in snow and salty road goo, full of condensation, and looked generally unkempt .. this didn't entirely put me off, but I was beginning to question quite how well it had been looked after. And when the vendor hinted that he'd seen similar examples going for around the 3 grand mark, I knew I'd have to cast my beady eye elsewhere.

An auction site had been listing, on a repeat basis, a couple of series 1 XJs that belonged to a guy in London. One was an XJ6L in BRG, but had a few problems in the bodywork department, so I ignored that one. The other example the seller had was a '72 short wheelbase, in a light blue/lavender colour, 4.2 auto and blue leather trim. It had been listed a number of times, but no-one had bid. The advert mentioned that it drove well, and the engine/box were fine, there was a recently fitted exhaust, and was in good order. So after some lengthy consideration (a quick call to dad to arrange a lift to London!) I arranged with the vendor to zip down to London, in dads 500SEL Merc, to check out Sir William Lyons' finest moment.

Not being accustomed to piloting a car around Londons manic streets, we inevitably got a little lost and ended up driving straight through the centre on a busy Saturday afternoon. However we survived the battle with marauding black cabs, Routemaster buses, and officious members of Her Majesty's Constabulary, and arrived sarf of the River with an hour or so's daylight remaining. A quick look over the car confirmed that the body was more or less ok - a few signs of filler here and there, but basically sound and looking the part. A quick test drive confirmed that it drove ok (bar a non-functioning kickdown) so a deal was reached, and we set off, back through further traffic queues, in the direction of the M4/M25 to make our escape.

To say the run back went without a hitch wouldn't be strictly accurate - a flick of the heater blower knocked the fuse out, leaving me (as I found out later) to negotiate the hectic A roads of London without brake lights or indicators!! A replacing of a fuse at an M4 services cured that one, however a fix to the by-now dripping O/S fuel tank would not be a cureable thing. A check of the fuel tank switchover highlighted one non-running pump - a quick look and we found the offending wire which had fallen off.

And so we set off just as it was going dark, in rain and spray, and bugger all visibility thanks to the legendary Jag lack of demisting (plus my reluctance to use the feeble blower in case the lights tripped out again), and a pair of crap wiper blades. I tried opening a window to help things a bit, but all that did was suck in nice petrol smells from the leaking tank.

Eventually we landed back home, car and driver in one piece, with dad rueing the loss of a wiper blade on his Merc somewhere on the M40.
Curiously the next day, while treating it to a good wash and a lick of polish, the passenger side fuel tank also started to leak all over the drive, in sympathy with the drivers side, leaving 2 nice big puddles of pricey fuel forming on my driveway...that, and the leak from the waterpump, made me feel gladdened that I have yet to lay a nice new driveway at home. If this is a sign of things to come, maybe I won't bother!

Two weeks later and both rear tanks were replaced with later S3 XJ6 items, it had a new waterpump, gearbox mounting and fluid, engine oil & filter change and some fiddling to get the twin SU carbs in synch.

March '02 Update: I've been using it as fairly regular daily transport, one of the (replaced!) fuel tanks still leaks when full, but I can live with that for now. A problem with the braking (wooden pedal feel) was tracked down to a blockage in the vacuum pipe leading from the inlet manifold to the servo itself - full of gunge it was. A quick clean later and normal service was resumed - quite a relief as a reconditioned brake servo isn't cheap! I've ordered a replacement rear number plate surround from the US of A, and am thinking of fitting an S1 XJ12 grille, simply because I prefer the look of its chrome vertical slats to the messy chrome & mazak arrangement as found on standard XJ6s (I'll keep the original in store should I ever sell the car on!). There is a vibration to the steering which I have yet to cure - a wheel balance all round hasn't fixed it, so further investigation will be required.

2003 Update: After enjoying this old Jag for a year or so, I sold it on, in readiness for a housemove that was coming up. With already far too many vehicles, the Jaguar went as part of a pre-move thinning of the fleet.

Other XJ stuff:
Jaguar XJ6 & XJ12 Series 1-3 feature
Classic Jaguars UK (external link)

(PS This page is just one of hundreds of pages on www.oldclassicccar.co.uk, stuffed full with articles, photographs (including a free image archive!), visitors stories, memorabilia, postcards, advice and more, all dedicated to classic cars and their enthusiastic owners everywhere!!)

Back to classic gallery

Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers