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Homepage. This page: Two colour photos from the 1970s of a Series One XJ.

Photos of a red (1971) Jaguar XJ6 Series 1.

I'd like to feature a few more photos from the 1970s, of cars now keenly collected by enthusiasts. Two such images are amongst a collection kindly shared by Keith Belcher, all from his family albums. An immaculate red Jaguar XJ6, in Series 1 4.2 swb (short wheelbase) guise, stars in this pair of images. Having owned a few early XJs myself over the years, I'm quite partial to these great-looking saloons, especially in swb form.
The Jaguar in question is registered XOV 222J, from a Birmingham series first issued in April 1971. The XJ6 was launched in 1968 with two engine options, either the 2.8 litre or 4.2 litre straight six XK unit. The all-alloy 5.3 V12 engine wouldn't come on stream until 1972, so the first four years of XJ production relied on the XK engine which could trace its roots back to the XK120 of 1948. Despite its age, the engine helped ensure that the new XJ would be a huge success, offering superb looks and performance, in a package that undercut most of its competition in price. Reliability and build quality was however no better than average for the era, and would sink yet further as the 1970s unfolded (by which time the XJ had morphed into the updated Series 2 version). To my eyes at least, the Series 1 - in swb form especially - is the best-looking of all the XJ saloons.
The first of Keith's pictures has the Jaguar parked in the driveway of the family home, on a particularly miserable damp day in the 1970s. I well remember the ventilation system being pretty marginal on my own XJs, so clearing a misted-up screen was not always a quick task. The Series 1s though did have opening quarterlights, as could be found on the previous 420s, Mk10s and Mk2s etc, so if you didn't mind a few drips of water on your knee, they would help speed up the demisting process. The opening quarterlights were deleted on the launch of the Series 2.
Parked in the neighbour's drive is another (now) rarity, a Mk1 Ford Escort van. Who would have thought back then that forty years later, values of good Escort vans such as this would be more than a match for an equally well-preserved XJ? Such is the fickle, often un-predictable, nature of the old-vehicle market today. One, a swish executive's mile-muncher, festooned with leather and wood throughout, the other, a workaday delivery van.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Front view of an XJ6 Series 1
Next, a rear view of the Jaguar. Details in evidence here differentiate the mid/late Series 1s from the very first cars. For example, the 1968 XJ had small red reflectors incorporated within the reversing lights (by now they'd been re-positioned below the main rear lamps). The rear exhaust extensions were straight on the first cars, but were later curved outwards, to reduce the chance of fumes being drawn into the boot area. A peek inside would also reveal instruments fitted with chrome surrounds on the 1968 cars, replaced with less reflective matt black surrounds on this era of car.
This bright red S1 XJ shared drivespace with a small Japanese hatchback - a Mk1 Honda Civic, a rare car to encounter on 21st Century roads but quite a common sight in the 1970s.
Rear view of 1971 XJ6
Unlike many Jaguars that reach old age, this one didn't just end up being wheeled into a scrapyard, or destroyed in a banger race, at the end of its useful life. No, instead, a relative who later bought and ran the car for some time, eventually used the running gear to create a "replica" AC Cobra.
The Series 1 XJ - surely one of the best-looking big saloons of the 1960s/1970s? My ultimate choice would either be a short wheelbase 4.2 with the manual-overdrive gearbox, or a S1 XJ12 swb. Daimler versions were also produced, but my preference is for the Jaguar-badged variants, the V12 in particular as it has a more stylish (IMO) radiator grille.
Thanks for the photos Keith. Early XJs can be found in numerous locations across the site, this page for instance, has a number of period factory press photographs for the Series One on it. Use of the site search will bring up the other pages that happen to have XJ content on them. If anyone else has in-period photos of the XJ, I'd like to see them please. Keith also sent over a couple of photos featuring the rare Daimler Double Six VDP (Series 2) that his father once owned, they can now be seen on this page here at OCC.
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