|"You talking about me? Because I'm the only one here!"|
Through this collection of random models I have found a way to be a "participant" in a wide range of Jaguar's history and mystique on several different levels. None of my cars is the exact model that has become highly valued and therefore priced out of my reach, but they are realistic substitutes for those models. I'll admit it up front that almost everything is priced above my means! The challenge is trying to find the models that have the connection. They are all still worthy on their own merits. Let me begin my examination with my first acquisition, the '89 XJS convertible.
There is no reason to rehash the history of the fabled E type, It is well known. The XJS came along after the series three E type was considered to be obsolete. I have read reports that described excess inventory of this model that was stored at an airport near the factory. Why were these cars sitting around? Because the model had lost it's appeal. Recall that the Jensen Interceptor was introduced in the later '60s and it's more modern styling, luxury orientation and the use of brutish American muscle under the hood shoved the E type out of the limelight. The Interceptor was a bonafide luxury GT. The E was forcefully massaged by the factory into that mold, which seemed to dull the luster even more.
|A great name and not a bad car.|
The XJS was the answer. Svelte avant garde styling, great refinement and the fabulous V12 motor decisively stole the Jensen's thunder. It was so successful that it remained in production for over twenty years, That, of course is part of the root of the problem, well over one hundred thousand were built! If familiarity doesn't always breed contempt it surely will breed indifference. And that was where the XJS sat, for years.
A similar thing has happened to the XK8. How can these beautiful cars be so ignored?
This has book ended the XJS between the well loved, well valued, E type. A very strong pressure from below. Above the XJS the values of the X100 are steadily dropping, Instead of capping the values of the XJS , these lower values are allowing the XJS to rise through this permeable barrier. The X100 values are sinking around the rising XJS valuations. All of this is just my convoluted opinion that XJS values are slowly on the rise.
So what does this mean to me, or any other Jag hobbyist that would like to own one of these fantastic cars?
Well the XJS is finally being appreciated for what it has always been, a very attractive grand tourer. The styling, while unappreciated for so long, is being seen through new appreciative eyes. So how do I perceive the situation?
Having my XJS convertible allows me to enjoy a true luxury GT car at a buy in price that was accessible to me. The XJS was considered just one step down from an Italian exotic. That Jaguar V12 engine installed in any model, E type, XJ12, or XJS makes for an interesting and worthwhile automobile. A twelve cylinder powered anything is really something!
As with most collectible older Jags, there is usually a performance and racing pedigree that you can delight in. The XJS was the fastest four passenger car in the world at the time of it's introduction. It won the European Touring Car Championship. It was the Trans Am champion with Bob Tillus and group 44. Just think, it raced against Corvettes, and other American Pony cars and won! And then there is the Aston Martin connection.
The DB7 was built off the XJS platform. The design had originally been planned for the XJS replacement, The early DB7's used the supercharged version of the Jaguar six. Basically it was the XJR engine but in a higher state of tune. Even though the DB7 was hand built in small numbers by TWR operations, the XJS roots are apparent. I went to see a 2000 MY DB7 at a dealer in Studio City, and standing alongside and sitting in it, it sure felt like my own XJS. They are in truth, brothers under the skin. In my mind, my XJS is pretty convincing and attainable equivalent to the DB7, and best of all, I've got mine!
Jaguar has rightly been famous for building some of the most desirable sporting luxury sedans in automotive history. The introduction of the XJ6 in 1968 led to a continuing design series that ran for almost thirty years. Grace, Space and Pace all wrapped up in fine Connolly leather and exquisite wood veneers. Jaguar moved to the XJ40 design which many felt was a bridge too far. That was rectified by the introduction of the X300 in 1995. This model combined the classic design cues with a more modern cabin design.
A redesign of the AI6 motor resulted in the ultimate and final version of the Jaguar straight six motor. An all alloy, dohc, fuel injected, four valve heads, and crank fired coil on plug ignition system. This great motor can only be surpassed by the XJR, boasting an Eaton supercharger. The first of a continuous series of supercharged engines.
The reliability of this design has led it be a favorite of Jaguar hobbyists. The styling pays tribute to the earlier series of the XJ6 and maintains beautiful proportions. The body styling was successfully used on the successor, the XJ8, which debuted Jaguar's new V8 engine. My XJ6L features the extra long wheelbase that makes the interior capacity equal to any of the classic Jaguar predecessor. My '97 XJ6 is the final model in that series, and the final straight six powered Jaguar. And what a six!
Ownership of my XJ6 allows me to participate in the continuing history of Jaguar luxury sedans. While few were campaigned when new as racers, The XJ6 has found popularity recently as a historic racer. There is a special series for these sedans, The front pages of Jaguar World are filled with colorful photos of XJ6's and XJS' decked out in their finest racing regalia mixing it up on the track.
|photo source race car.com.|
My latest acquisition is the '51 Mark VII that I just bought. It was the first saloon powered by the XK engine. I've got a lot to say about this car so I'll give it's own post.