Not so sure: Jaguar XJ6L

Right up front, I have to say I’m a little conflicted about this. My experience with the XJ6 so far makes me think of a Buick with a better ride and a nicer interior. The car in question, which I drove while working at the Larz Anderson Museum, was a fairly late model, possibly a 1987. Mechanically, it was in pretty good condition, and despite the gaping hole in the floor and some other east coast issues, drove fairly well. But I was expecting a bit more of a sporting feel from the company that built the Mark 2 and the E-type, and I definitely didn’t get that feeling from this car. What’s more is, as a cheaper car they’re not exactly known for being terribly robust.

That out of the way, this is an iconic design with a historic engine. Moreover, the western cars should be a bit less rust-prone, so they might be within budget range for our purposes. This example looks like a good candidate – even though it was built during some of the darkest British Leyland days, the pictures show it to be in pretty good cosmetic shape on the outside, and it seems to have had much recent work. The BRG on tan color combination is classic, and should be appealin to a larger market when you decide to move along. Check it out on craigslist in Portland, OR for $3295.

1978 Jaguar XJ6L front

Seller lists new or rebuilt head, transmission, steering, brakes, fuel pump, front end, and paint. Ask for documentation before taking this for granted, but it seems like one could end up with a well-sorted car for $3000 after negotiating a bit. On the plus side, the seller appears to be a British car lover, since he’s willing to take other British cars in trade – hopefully his enthusiasm translates to good car.

1978 Jaguar XJ6L rear

The car looks pretty straight and clean, and those steel wheels with hubcaps, along with the older-style front and rear-end styling have a closer connection to the original design. All in all, this is a pretty attractive car, and looks like a good, affordable way to get into a Jaguar. Let me know your experience with these, or if you check out this actual car.

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4 Responses to “Not so sure: Jaguar XJ6L”

  1. Roger Says:

    I’ve had a few XJ6 cars, from series 3 machines like this to later XJ40 and X300 cars. I would have to agree with you about driving them, they’re solid, stress-free ways to get from A to B, especially if you’re going to be racking up highway mileage. As a sporting car they’re not really a point and squirt device.

    The biggest problem is as they get cheap they start getting dodgy really quickly. Watch for rust around the windscreens and rear windows, and if the interior is falling apart, forget it unless you don’t care about that. Headliners do not age well at all, expect to find them torn and droopy.

    Mechanically they’re fine. For some reason, the Borg Warner 35 is often replaced with a “John’s Cars” conversion to a TH350 (inexplicable) or TH400 (better, I guess). I’ve never had an issue with the BW35 and don’t really understand why anyone would go to the bother of swapping in something else, other than to increase billable hours.

    The clear coat will have failed (just like all Jaguars after a few years) if the paint is original.

    If you like them, the X300 six-cylinder cars (95, 96, 97) are better machines without the bland styling of the 88-94 cars. Plus you can get a supercharged version, which is a lot of car.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about total miles, but rather look for well-cared-for miles.

    Biggest issue with used Jaguars is finding one that is sensibly priced. A nice S3 XJ6 should be no more than this car, and a dodgy one much less. But owners tend to believe that they’re sitting on a gold mine, sometimes. And NEVER buy a used XJ6 from a small dodgy car lot, they get the worst of the worst and jack the prices up like you wouldn’t believe.

  2. Jeff B. Says:

    Great summary Roger. I’ve always like the looks of these – and have lusted after the rare 2 door coupe, but can’t imagine myself ever taking the plunge. These are the only make of car where the ones that have had American V8’s dropped into them actually interest me!??

  3. Roger Says:

    The engine really is the least of the worries on these, so the V8 conversions don’t make any sense unless you’re really putting in a powerhouse. V8 conversion cars don’t seem to have any resale value at all, so they are cheap. But that’s usually because the guys who do them typically start with a worn out car, plop a V8 in, and that’s as far as they get.

  4. bruce taylor Says:

    I purchased the British Racing Green 1978 Jaguar pictured above.
    The first year for fuel injection. Yes the guy in Portland who owned this car before me was a British car guy for sure. He put a great deal of love into our Xj6L. The care continues with service at Consolidated. Barbara, Ed and the crew really love Jags and certainly know how to keep them fabulous. Just added a 94 xj12 to the barn ..wow 301 hp in an xj..get ready!

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