Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40).

Background to the XJ40 and early variants.

Jaguar's XJ40 of 1986 had a great deal to live up to, following as it did the Series 3 XJ range, final evolution of the "original" XJ Series first launched way back in 1968. These first XJs were greeted by universal acclaim from the motoring writers of the late 1960s, although some did criticise the car's fuel economy, and cramped rear cabin, the latter problem addressed by the later "L", long wheelbase, versions. These niggles apart, the new-for-'68 Jaguar was a fine machine indeed, available initially with a 2.8 and 4.2 version of the legendary straight-six XK unit. The twelve-cylinder XJ12 would follow in 1972. Revisions would see the Series 2 XJ being introduced, with the re-worked Series 3 making its debut in 1979, still with either six- or twelve-cylinder propulsion housed beneath its curvaceous, but expensive-to-produce bonnet.

Enter the new Jaguar XJ40 series.

By the late 1980s the Series 3 was beginning to look a little long-in-the-tooth, albeit in a stylish and agreeable way. Clearly a new car was needed if the opposition was to have any chance of being countered. Jaguar hadn't been sitting on its laurels mind you, as plans for a new XJ, codename XJ40, had been on the back-burner since the 1970s. The new XJ40, powered by the AJ6 rather than the XK engine, made its debut in 1986. Whereas the arrival of the original XJ saloon received praise from all corners, the response to the XJ40 was polite but perhaps less rapturous. The elegant swooping lines of the Series 3 had been replaced by a more angular design, more in-keeping with 1980's fashions but not perhaps what the die-hard Jaguar enthusiast had expected, or indeed hoped-for.

Jaguar XJ40s for sale on eBay today (incl parts).

Initially, the XJ40 series was available in 2.9 and 3.6 litre form, the former sporting circular headlamps while the latter employed rectangular units, quite a departure for Jaguar at the time. The V12 (XJ81) version of the new car would have to wait, in the meantime the 12-cylinder Series 3 XJ12 continued in low-volume production alongside its angular new cousin. Both Jaguar and Daimler versions would be offered.
The launch of the new car not only signified a new take on traditional Jaguar saloon design, it also heralded a radical behind-the-scenes re-think of how the flagship saloons should be built. The original XJs harked back to the days before wholesale automation in the production line, where panels would often be formed from several sections, often requiring a great deal of manual labour to complete. The XJ40 production line would be a much slicker operation, with fewer individual components going into each finished car.
Example of 3.6 litre Jaguar XJ40

Enter the 3.2 and 4.0 versions of the XJ saloon.

In 1989 the 2.9 litre model was dropped, replaced by a 3.2 version, while the 3.6 was enlarged to 4.0 litres. Analogue instrumentation, replacing the digital read-out of the early cars, also found its way into the XJ40's cabin. A sporty version, the XJR, went some way in offering a performance version of the XJ saloon, although modifications were useful rather than startling, and it would only be the later - X300 - XJR that would see a supercharger gracing the underbonnet area, the XJ40 XJR was never thus equipped. Shown below, a 2.9 XJ6 on later X300 rims.
2.9 litre Jaguar XJ40 on later X300 rims
Production of the Jaguar XJ40 and XJ81 derivative continued until the launch of the X300 of 1995, itself based on the XJ40 but returning Jaguar to a more familiar, curvier, line of performance and luxury saloons.

Jaguar XJ40 / Daimler books.

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