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

Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40): Buying guide and review (1986-1994) Classic and Performance Car
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. 
 
After the original XJ was launched in 1968, it’s hard to think that it had to last almost 16 years before the XJ40 took over in 1986. Thanks to various issues that held up development of a replacement (work on a replacement started as far back as 1972), the XJ40 came later than expected, but it represented a quantum leap in all areas for the company. 
 
Lighter, more efficient and faster than its predecessor, the XJ40 was also the first Jaguar to make significant use of computer aided design during the design process, which also helped to bring down production costs. All of the suspension was new, although the design remained largely the same with one major change – moving the rear brake discs from inboard to a more conventional outboard location. The earlier car’s twin rear-damper arrangement was also simplified, reducing cost and improving refinement to a small degree.
 
If this all sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. 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. It’s also not quite powerful enough to do the large Jaguar any justice. But buy a Sovereign and you’ll have buttons galore – just make sure they all work.
 
When new you could buy the XJ40 in either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, but few ever really wanted to change gear themselves. Today manual cars are scarce, but the ZF 4HP22 automatic transmission is still rather good and suits the car well. 
 
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.
 
If you want something a little more sporty? There is the the possibility of the JaguarSport XJR-4.0 Litre. The TWR bodykit looks very much of its era, but you can’t deny it has a certain appeal. 
 
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. Don’t assume that just because the light isn’t illuminating that the system is working correctly – the light must first come on and then extinguish when the engine is running. 
 
• 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.
 
• After a number of years, the lacquer on the wood trim can begin to turn milky and even crack. Specialists can re-finish these parts, but it isn’t a cheap job. 
 
• 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.
 
Owners clubs, forums 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. 
Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40)
Last updated: 7th Jul 2016
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Jaguar XJ6 cars for sale

13 Search results
Jaguar XJ6
5850 17950 GBP
  • Jaguar XJ6

    £12,000 - £15,000 est. £12,000 - £15,000 est.
    Auction Date: 10 Jun 2017
    RESERVE PRICE
    • Mileage: 20400 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    Auction Date: 10 Jun 2017
    Classic Car Auctions
    +44 (0) 1926 640 888 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 1981 Jaguar XJ6 Series III 4.2 Automatic

    £12,995 £12,995

    This stunning Jaguar XJ6 has to be the finest example we have had the pleasure of owning. This wonderful motor car has only covered 32000 miles from new. Sony Broadcast Ltd in Hampshire bought the car brand new from Jaguar and for two years the car was used by one of the Company's Managing Directors. In 1993, Sony actually gave the car to the then widow of the former Managing Director as a gift. The vehicle had only covered around 15,000 miles and was only used briefly in 1984 before being dry stored for twelve years. In 1996 one of the owner's sons then put the car back on the road taking the mileage to 24,000 before the car finally sold in 2009. In 1996-1997 over £2000 was spent on re-commissioning which included the replacement of fuel tanks, fuel pump, fuel filter and new exhaust system and in 2008, the Jaguar was treated to some substantial brake work. We sold the Jaguar in 2011 to a local customer has covered 7000 miles in five years, taking the mileage over 32000. During his ownership around £1300 has been spent on maintenance and servicing. The Jaguar has been a delight to own and has essentially been faultless over the five years. On the road the Jaguar is just delightful

    • Year: 1981
    • Mileage: 32000 mi
    For sale
  • 1981 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan

    POA POA

    This low original mileage Series III sedan is equipped with air conditioning, power sunroof, power driver seat, power windows, power brakes, power steering, leather interior, cruise control and Sony AM/FM radio with cassette player. It has a V6 with automatic transmission and is finished in a Silver exterior with a dark blue leather interior. It has had been cared for by one Jaguar loving family since it was purchased new. This car was well taken care of, and it shows. All gauges, the radio, lights, horn and sunroof all work as they should. It comes with full instrumentation, as Jaguar is known for. The wheels, and tires are still in good shape, and it still carries its original exhaust system. The purchase of this beauty includes the matching spare tire, and jack. This is a great entry level Jaguar that allows you the comfort Jaguar is known for, with style and elegance, in an affordable model.

    • Year: 1981
    • Mileage: 72614 mi
    For sale
  • JAGUAR XJ6 4.2 Vanden Plas 1978 Auto Petrol

    £5,850 £5,850

    1978 XJ6 Vanden Plas 6 cylinder LWB saloon. Quite a rare car in 4.2 form, usually found as V12 cars. This particular has has been largely un-used for some time and will be sold with a new mot and ready to drive. Fabulous paintwork with only a slight blemish to the o/s scuttle.............no ominous noises or oil/water loss, excellent oil pressure and a manual choke conversion. The interior is exquisite in un marked coffee hide with overrugs in the front, the rear seating has seen hardly any use...........the carpets are in superb order. A fine motor car priced to sell and enjoy.

    For sale
  • 1986 Jaguar XJ6 Series III 4.2 Sedan

    POA POA

    This exceptionally preserved British Racing Green over Biscuit XJ6 is a fine original example with low mileage, and a 1 owner / 1 family car showing as new inside and out. Purchased new in 1986 by an insurance executive and avid car collector, the XJ6 was stored in a climate-controlled garage and driven sparingly. The 4.2-liter 6-cylinder has been used gently, runs strong, and is matched with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The sedan’s Connolly leather hides still exude a rich aroma, while the complimenting seats appear free of any wear and look just like new; the sedan retains its original Pirelli P5s tires, and the factory floor mats and carpeted trunk floor have been covered since new; the car’s tool kit has never been removed, and is in as-new condition. The XJ6’s original coat of paint is vibrant and shows no rust, body work, dings or dents. In recent years, the headliner was replaced by master trimmers and the car was regularly serviced, keeping it current and hassle-free. This sedan will make a great choice for the Jaguar collector looking for a truly original XJ6 example, worthy of your favorite drive, or as a formidable Concours contender.

    • Year: 1986
    • Mileage: 20819 mi
    For sale
  • Jaguar XJ6 Saloon 1972

    €17,950(£15,122.88) €17,950(£15,122.88)

    Jaguar XJ6 Saloon 4.2 1972 Overdrive manual gearbox Since the introduction, the XJ was THE flagship of Jaguar. This very luxurious saloon is delivered in 1972 and provided with British Racing Green paint, beautiful chrome details and original wheels with chrome wheelcovers. The 4.235CC engine is in marvellous technical condition, actuate by the manual gearbox with overdrive. The entire interior is equiped with beige leather and aluminium accents and a gorgeous wooden dashboard. This Jaguar drives very good and many comfortable rides are guarenteed. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
  • 1972 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan

    POA POA

    (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
  • 1986 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan

    POA POA

    (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
  • 1985 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas 4.2 Sedan

    POA POA

    (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
  • 1971 Jaguar XJ6 Sedan

    POA POA

    (SOLD) 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

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • 1977 Jaguar XJ6L Series II 4.2 Sedan

    POA POA

    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 has received a full service and detailing by Jaguar specialists at Classic Showcase.

    • Year: 1977
    • Mileage: 80097 mi
    For sale
  • 1976 Jaguar XJ6 Sports Coupe

    POA POA

    This exceptionally preserved and stylish XJ6C is an original California car with single long term ownership. With only 44,784 original miles driven since new , the car has been very well maintained throughout the course of its life, and has been preserved in storage since 1998. The team at Classic Showcase has woken the car up after long term storage, making it road-ready by performing the following services: a comprehensive servicing to the cooling and fuel systems, including the changing of all fluids including oil, transmission, differential, and brake fluids; a new brake switch in reservoir bottle, replacement of fuel pumps and sending units, hot tanking, epoxy sealing the inside, and painting the outside of the tank in its original color, along with new fuel lines and filters. The carburetors and chokes have been rebuilt and setup as well. We have also added a new battery and fresh set of tires, new hoses throughout, new steering rack boots, front brake pads, turned the rotors, front sway bar bushings, down link bushings, and engine mounts. The interior has been completely freshened up, and includes a new headliner, front carpets, and new foam added to the Sedan’s seats. It is

    • Year: 1976
    • Mileage: 44784 mi
    For sale
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