In the mid 1960’s founder Sir William Lyons felt that Jaguar had lost its focus and in the process the company was spending too much money on too many models. He set about designing a car that would encompass all the attributes that Jaguar owners loved about their cars, namely classiness, comfort, space, and excellent handling. The result of this endeavor was the Jaguar XJ6, first introduced in 1968 and at that time a revolutionary saloon car.
Pardon the British for the word saloon. To those in North America saloon means sedan, which is defined as a three-compartment vehicle, a separate compartment each for the engine, seating, and cargo. While we are defining things, the XJ6 name refers to “experimental Jaguar with a straight six engine.” Having said all that, the groundbreaking Jag XJ6 delivered on its promise so impressively that forty years later it is still admired by car enthusiasts worldwide.
Originally offered with a 2.8 L or 4.2 L engine, subsequent models over the years have featured the 4.2 L as standard. In 1973 the Series II model was introduced, and in 1979 the Series III model was offered, but all continued to offer the classic stylish automobile that drove like it was a physical extension of the driver. Slip inside an XJ6 and you instantly feel important, and start the engine and turn onto the road and you are in for an incredibly comfortable and graceful ride.
To this day driving purists prefer the Series I Jag for its simplicity of design and its insistence on maintaining a proud heritage. The Jaguar name has always been a synonym for elite. Sleek like its namesake in the animal world, sure of foot and beautiful to look at, one drives a Jaguar knowing that you are surrounded by the finest in British engineering. One does not drive a Jaguar XJ6 to the pizza shop; one owns a pizza shop and drives the XJ6 to the bank. It may seem like a silly distinction but that’s only because you haven’t experienced true luxury until you have driven a Jaguar.
Founder Sir William Lyons had a vision. Forty years later that vision is still considered one of the finest European import cars to have ever been produced. It seems to be that way with all visionaries. Excellence begets excellence each and every time. Although it is relatively easy to find one of the Series II or Series III XJ6 models, try to wrangle your way into a Series I model some day and find out what it feels like to drive a vision.