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Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40): buying guide and review (1986-1994)

Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40)
There’s something about a Jaguar that no other car can match. Climb aboard after the most arduous day and it’s like soaking in a bath of Radox – all your cares just melt away. Buy the right car and you’ll have effortless power and a magic carpet ride, which conspire to produce one of the best forms of escapism in the classic car world. It’s no wonder that Jaguars always used to be marketed as cars which were gracious, spacious and, er, quick.
Launched in 1986, the fourth-generation XJ6 (dubbed in-house as the XJ40) was the car that won Jaguar the Car of the Year award and went on to generate healthy profits for the company. It was good news then and still is, because whichever model you buy – as long as you do your homework – you’ll savour every moment. If this all sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. But buy badly and you’ll regret it – a neglected XJ40 will be a bottomless pit or restoration, into which you can pour your cash. The problem is, cherished XJ40s are few and far between as low values mean many of these cars have been neglected for years. But buy a good one and look after it, and you’ll have one of the most soothing classics available.
Which one to buy?
With more than 15 versions of the XJ40 offered there’s plenty of choice – most common are the 3.6-litre and 4.0-litre cars. Least desirable of the lot is the 2.9-litre car, as they tended to come in standard spec, which meant not many toys to play with. But buy a Sovereign and you’ll have buttons galore – just make sure they all work.
The best examples of the XJ40 were made after 1993, and there aren’t that many of them because production ended in 1994, although some cars were registered in 1995. But anything built after 1990 will be great as long as it’s been looked after. Anything earlier than this and you’d better have your eyes wide open before parting with any cash.
Because of the complexity of the XJ40, it’s worth arming yourself with some paperwork before buying. Firstly make sure it’s got as much service history as possible, although most cars will have had several owners by now so you’ll be looking for bills from a trusted specialist instead. It’s also worth investing in a copy of Nigel Thorley’s Haynes guide to buying and maintaining the XJ40 (ISBN 9781859608623). Now out of print, used copies are available.
Performance and specs
Jaguar XJ6 4.0
Engine 3980cc, six-cylinder
Power 235bhp @ 4750rpm
Torque 285lb ft @ 3750rpm
Top speed 138mph
0-60mph 7.1sec
Fuel consumption 19mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual/Four-speed automatic
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2870mm
Length 5023mm
Width 1798mm
Height 1314mm
Weight 1777kg
Common problems
• The XJ40 is better built than its predecessors, but it still rusts badly. Start with the front subframe; repairs aren’t possible so costly replacement is the only solution. V12 cars have a different subframe, which doesn’t rust, but it’s not interchangeable with a six-cylinder item. Also expect corrosion where the floorpans meet the sills, the leading edge of the bonnet and in the returned edges of the boot lid, although you should check every body panel for signs.

• Front wings bolt on so replacement is straightforward, but the inner wings are much harder to repair, so check their seams, the rear edges and around the shock absorber mountings. Boot floors rust, usually because of holes in the rear valance. The front bulkhead rots too, although corrosion is rarely bad enough to condemn a car.

• Six-cylinder head gaskets fail, betrayed by leakage from the right-hand side of the cylinder head/block joint. If the engine is misfiring it’s more likely that the gasket has been blown out altogether between two combustion chambers – ignore this and new pistons will be needed. 

• Black smoke from the exhaust of a 2.9-litre car suggests blocked breather pipes. Broken top timing chain tensioners are another issue, so listen for rattling from the front of the engine. Repairs entail removal of both the cylinder head and timing chain case – which costs plenty. 

• The V12 gives few problems if maintained; just be wary of a neglected cooling system as a cooked V12 will cost a lot to revive.

• The Getrag manual gearbox is tough, but listen for untoward noises. Fixing a Getrag ’box isn’t really possible, leaving replacement with a decent used unit as the only option.

• Automatic gearboxes are equally long-lived, although problems will occur if the transmission fluid isn’t changed regularly – Jaguar recommends every 60,000 miles, but every 30,000 is better.

• Worn out shock absorbers and sagging springs wear out but can be replaced. Be wary of cars with self-levelling suspension (Daimlers, some Sovereigns) as the struts seize up and replacement is expensive.

• Wheel bearings fail, so corner with the windows down, listening for chattering noises. If neglected the whole stub axle can be destroyed.

• On cars fitted with anti-lock brakes (which is most examples) dashboard warnings are common, claiming the system isn’t working. It’s an automatic MoT failure if the system isn’t operating properly. 

• The interior trim (seats, panels) is generally durable, but the plastic trim that adorns the door arm rests and the centre console arm rest tends to crack. Headlinings sag and the carpets wear through or rot after becoming waterlogged because of a leaky air-con system.

• Even the most basic XJ40 has plenty of electrics and electronics – many of which give problems. So check absolutely everything, including the condition of the battery, then haggle accordingly as you discover faults.
Model history
1986: XJ40 launched in 2.9-litre and 3.6-litre guises. ABS, PAS and self-levelling suspension standard.
1988: XJR 3.6 introduced with bodykit, alloy wheels and metallic paint. Daimlers get heated door locks while all XJ40s get heated door mirrors.
1990: 4.0-litre engine replaces 3.6 and 3.2-litre replaces 2.9. Sports handling pack is optional.
1993: Re-engineered car arrives with very rare LWB Majestic option. Four-spoke steering wheel now fitted, with airbag, more direct steering. 3.2 Sport and 4.0 Sport introduced, with bodykit, alloy wheels and enhanced interiors. V12 Jaguar and Daimler models launched.
1994: 3.2 Gold appears with alloy wheels and leather trim, shortly before all-new X300 XJ range arrives.
Clubs and websites
• www.jec.org.uk - Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and forums
• www.jaguardriver.co.uk - Jaguar Drivers’ Club
• www.jaguarownersclub.com - Jaguar owners club and forum
• www.sngbarratt.com - Jaguar parts and spares specialist
Summary and prices
Even a worn out XJ40 will still feel great to drive, and with prices for usable examples starting from £3000 they can be very tempting. Projects can be picked up for just £1000, although great care must be taken to avoid cars with terminal rust. If you want to find a low-mileage example, then prices can range from £5500-£8000. 
Words: Richard Dredge
Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40)
Last updated: 4th Nov 2015
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Jaguar XJ6 cars for sale

7 Search results
Jaguar XJ6
21264 92430 GBP
  • Jaguar XJ6 C 4.2 Green '78

    £21,264 £21,264

    The Jaguar XJ is the name of a series of flagship, full-size, luxury cars sold by the British automobile brand, Jaguar Cars. The XJ line has had a long history, with the first model released in 1968. The original model was the last Jaguar saloon to have had the input of Sir William Lyons, the company's founder, and the model has been featured in countless media and high profile appearances. The current Jaguar XJ was launched in 2009. It is one of the official cars of the royal families and UK Prime Minister. Commonly referred to as the "Series II", the XJ line was facelifted in autumn 1973 for the 1974 model year. The 4.2 L I-6 XJ6 (most popular in the United Kingdom) and the 5.3 L V12 XJ12 were continued with an addition of a 3.4 L (3,442 cc or 210.0 cu in) version of the XK engine available from 1975. The Series II models were known for their poor build quality, which was attributed to Jaguar being part of the British Leyland group along with massive labour union relations problems that plagued most of industrial England in the same time period, and to problems inherent in the design of certain Lucas-sourced components.[citation needed] Initially the Series II was offered with tw

    • Year: 1978
    • Mileage: 85498 mi
    For sale
  • 1996 Jaguar X300 3.2 Litre XJ6. One Owner From New. Sapphire Blue.

    £92,430 £92,430

    This Jaguar X300 XJ6 3.2 Litre has had only one owner from new and is in exceptional condition. Finished in Sapphire Blue with Cream leather and rich burr walnut woodwork. The car has traveled only 175,000 Klm and comes with a fully stamped service log book. Together with all the manufacturers information books, wallet, spares keys with the supplying dealer key fobs. Even the original purchase order from the supplying dealer Asquith & Johnstone for $117,000 is present. The X300 series Jaguar were a giant leap ford in build quality and this car really reflects this. It performs faultlessly without a single rattle or squeak. The engine is an instant starter with excellent oil pressure and no rattles or smoke. The 4 speed ZF automatic gearbox is smooth with crisp shifts through the gears. The ZF rack & pinion power steering is a delight. Electric windows, Air-Conditioning, Central locking, Trip computer and CD multi changer (remember them) all add to the driving pleasure of this Jaguar. Even the ashtray and cigar lighter are unused ! What a splendid carriage for so little money. © Copyright 2016 | Cummins Classic Cars | ABN 86 122 279 350 MD Licence 20325 Website by VA

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
  • 1971 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan


    This Series I XJ6 sedan is a lovely, very original California car that has been well preserved, has always been garage kept, and has had limited ownership. It was owned by the same owner from 1973 up until the last few years when the last owner purchased it. It still retains its California blue license plate and is in its original color combination of Fawn and Biscuit. The car shows lots of patina and is a great candidate for a high level restoration, or to drive and enjoy as is. The interior is all original, save the headliner which was replaced, and the rear seats are in great condition as they have likely never been sat in. Mechanically the car has been extremely well maintained, with the following recent work being performed: new ball joints, rotors and calipers installed; the bumpers were rechromed, the windshield gaskets were replaced, a new Pertronix Ignition was installed, new 7 Inch headlights added, new fuel pumps (Both tanks work), new tires installed, and the A/C was updated to a Sanden compressor. There are beautiful lines and great features with the series I, which is very sought after by the Jaguar collectors. It features its correct Philips AM/FM push button radio,

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
    Classic Showcase
    (760) 758-6100
  • 1972 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan


    (SOLD) This Series I XJ6 sedan is extremely original, well preserved, and has limited ownership. The car shows lots of patina and is a great candidate for a high level restoration. Mechanically the car has been extremely well maintained with a recent service done with a Jaguar professional, new tires installed, and comes with receipts totaling over $4,000. There are beautiful lines and great features with the series I, which is very sought after by the Jaguar collectors. Features a British Leyland AM/FM radio, power steering, power windows, A/C, and power brakes. Here is your opportunity to buy a running and driving XJ6 and improve the car aesthetically to your liking as you wish.

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
    Classic Showcase
    (760) 758-6100
  • 1977 Jaguar XJ6L Series II 4.2 Sedan


    This well preserved and very stylish XJ6L is a Southern California car since new, and has spent it's entire life in the Western region of the United States. It has benefited from a strong maintenance history, and is currently scheduled for a full service and detailing by Jaguar specialists at Classic Showcase.

    • Year: 1977
    • Mileage: 80097 mi
    For sale
    Classic Showcase
    (760) 758-6100
  • 1985 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas 4.2 Sedan


    (SOLD) It is very rare to ever find a car that looks like it did the day that it left the showroom floor. Here is your opportunity to own one of the finest original examples in the world today. This Vanden Plas Series III Sedan has just over 10,000 original miles. All of the factory stickers are still under the bonnet in place, it smells new, it looks new and drives like new. It has never been in an accident, and has been in a dry storage for many years. It recently came out of storage and had a full service performed as well as having the head rebuilt, major tune-up, and the transmission serviced. This included changing all the fluids and a new battery. It recently passed California smog so it is ready to go to its new home. This is a no excuse car, and it would be hard to ever find one that is a truly a time capsule in such an elegant color combination. This Vanden Plas features a factory power sunroof, power windows, cruise control, alloy wheels and is fully loaded including the original Jaguar sound system. It is still wearing its original tires, which is good for collecting and showing. For driving, it would require a new set of tires. It has the original jack and both sets of

    • Year: 1985
    • Mileage: 10960 mi
    For sale
    Classic Showcase
    (760) 758-6100
  • 1986 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan


    (SOLD) It is very rare to ever find a car that looks like it did the day that it left the showroom floor. Here is your opportunity to own one of the finest original examples in the world today. This is a two owner Vanden Plas Series III Sedan with just over 8,000 original miles. All of the factory stickers are still under the bonnet in place, it smells new, it looks new and drives like new. This car was in a climate controlled garage for many years, and it recently has had a full service performed by Classic Showcase. This included changing all the fluids, installing new tires due to age, a new battery, servicing the fuel injection system, installing new shock bushings, installing new seals in the air conditioning system, new compressor, and charging the system with Freon. It blows ice cold today. This is truly a no excuse car, and it would be hard to ever find one better with this spectacular color combination. It also features a factory sunroof, alloy wheels and is fully loaded. It has all the original books, jack and both sets of keys. It recently scored 99.9 points in a Concours in Preservation Class. This example is for the collector that appreciates good patina and superb ori

    • Year: 1986
    • Mileage: 8193 mi
    For sale
    Classic Showcase
    (760) 758-6100
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