No Chevy – 1973 Jaguar XJ6

In the 1970s and 1980s, many Jaguars succumbed to the Chevrolet 350 “upgrade”. And while the 350 and its small block brethren are excellent engines for some purposes, the XK inline six cylinder engine was far from fragile itself. It was most often the components around it that failed, leading to it cooking itself. Or, once the engine was worn out, cared for or not, slipping an easily available V8 was a cost-effective way of getting back on the road without sacrificing power or durability. So it’s not so easy to find an early chrome-bumper Jaguar XJ6 sporting its original engine, and in drivable condition to boot – a quick recent survey of west coast listings shows that, among the few available XJ6s, around a third to half retain their inline sixes, and of these, a fair proportion are non-running project cars. So let’s take a look at this 1973 Jaguar XJ6 for sale for $3800 in Port Townsend, WA.

1973 Jaguar XJ6 front

Green on beige is a traditional crowd pleaser, and this front view shows what’s best in these early cars – a full-height grill, copied by the Volvo 164 and lost to bumper height regulations in Series II cars. Bumper overriders look like they were sourced off a prewar vehicle, but if you pop those off and convert to large headlights for the main beams, you’ll have a stunning looking front end.

1973 Jaguar XJ6 left front

Chrome spokes appear to be from a later XJ40 car, and don’t look as good here as the chromed steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps that were stock. That glossy sheen on the paint is rather misleading, since the car seems to have been freshly washed down, but not to worry – just bring a spray bottle of water everywhere you go and save all that money you’d have wasted on paint. All trim is present around the car, and it is said to be running well with a rebuilt engine several years back. The car also has a Jaguar block heater (suggesting it lived in a colder climate, so check carefully for rust – like you aren’t doing that anyway) and new front brake discs, calipers, and pads.

1973 Jaguar XJ6 interior

The seller says the headliner is starting to come down, but otherwise everything works, which if completely true, is quite remarkable for any luxury car its age. The interior does appear to have been redone in vinyl, but it’s a practical choice for a usable driver. That said, with all the project cars in the market, and later cars returning to the earth from whence they came, it might be possible to find a complete interior from another car. Amazingly, the headrests are not saggy, and while the seats don’t match them (or the center console), everything else looks remarkably complete. An engine photo would have been nice, but this one really gives the impression of a driver upon which you can improve at your own pace.

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3 Responses to “No Chevy – 1973 Jaguar XJ6”

  1. Dave Says:

    These are lovely cars, nice find. We’ve all heard the jokes about Jag reliability, but I always felt they’re pretty decent cars for a weekend cruiser. They’re nearly as substantial as the German alternatives…and IMHO have aged far better than the Italians. There are pitfalls, (parts availability, poor rust tolerance) but who doesn’t enjoy a challenge?

    I also couldn’t agree more about the smallblock. I’m not a purist, but the answer to every finicky car isn’t an LS1. Given such a beautiful chassis, the V8 is a poor choice. Low-end torque and spare parts availability can’t hide flaws. IMHO it’s too common, too plebeian, too rough, and (worst of all) it just doesn’t sing like the XK does.

    I suspect a typo…surely you didn’t mean to condemn the XK?!? Might I suggest: “…the XK inline six cylinder engine was far from fragile itself.”

  2. MountainMan Says:

    such a lovely car, I agree with Dave, nice find

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