Is it a Jaguar? Is it a Daimler? An interesting question to be answered between the years of 1966 and 1983, but only a die-hard car enthusiast would be able to answer it.
Perhaps a little background will help. Daimler Motor Company Limited is the oldest British car manufacturer, having produced its first car in 1896. In 1960 Jaguar Motor Company bought Daimler and therein lay the problem. The braintrust at Jaguar wanted to produce a line of luxury automobiles but also wanted the Daimler name attached to them, thus cashing in on a venerable name in the auto business. Thus the Daimler (Jaguar) Sovereign was born. These luxury sedans had a Jaguar body, chassis, and engine and truly looked like a Jaguar. The first model, the Sovereign 420 built in 1966, was basically a Jaguar 420. In ensuing years the Jaguar Sovereigns (Daimler Sovereigns) were based on the Jaguar XJ6, a time-honored luxury sedan.
Confused yet? If not you haven’t been paying attention! The only noticeable difference between the Sovereign 420 and the Jaguar 420 was the traditional Daimler radiator grille, so obviously we aren’t talking about a major facelift. If you were to look at photos of the two side by side you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two.
Probably the most famous of the Daimler Sovereigns was the Double Six, a 12-cylinder replica of the Jaguar XJ Series III which featured a 5.3 liter V12 engine. Production of that classic continued until 1992 and after that year the Daimler name basically disappeared with regards to the Jaguar company.
One has to wonder at times what criteria are used in making million dollar decisions? Obviously the goal by Jaguar was to cash in on the traditional and much-revered Daimler name, but one has to question producing basically a clone of the Jaguar models. What was the point? Was it assumed that the general public wouldn’t be able to see that which was painfully and laughably obvious? Would the ruse work to confuse the car experts and reviewers?
Was the Jaguar Sovereign an admirable car? Most definitely it had many of the features that were always strong points of Jaguar. It also had slightly less refined interiors and a tendency to lose its personality and uniqueness, which can also be said of many twins. In the end, probably the best thing that can be said about the Jaguar (Daimler) Sovereign is that