Back To The 80s: Jaguar XJ6

Fri 27th Sep 2019

When we think of the classic eras of motoring we might cast our mind back to stylish cars of the 1950s, the muscle cars of the 1960s or the super cars of the 1970s. What might not spring to mind however is the motors which were produced in the 1980s - an era which certainly favoured practicality over power, style and sophistication.

But the cars of today owe much to 80s, it was a decade which brought us turbochargers, multi-valve engines and hot hatchbacks, an era of the people-carrier and the rise of the SUV. Digital displays and electronic gadgetry, were the norm as designers pushed the boundaries of of what was capable in a production vehicle.

So let's celebrate the 80s, a period of huge change across Britain as a whole, and one which had incredible landmarks in the motor industry.

Jaguar XJ6
Sir William Lyons, the co-founder of one of the UK’s most iconic luxury car manufacturers Jaguar, often claimed that the XJ6, which was launched at the 1968 Paris Motor Show as an ‘eXperimental Jaguar’ was his proudest achievement.

With a philosophy of creating a saloon style car with the handling of an E-type, it took instant acclaim and was named ‘Car of the Year’ by Car Magazine.

“The XJ6 was profound. It had so much visual power,” stated Jaguar’s recently retired Director of Design Ian Callum in a 1999 Auto-car interview. “The wheels were enormous. Nobody had seen anything like them before. They filled the whole body. I remember collecting a brochure from the local dealer and going back the next day for another. I still have them both.”

Though Sir Lyons officially retired in 1972, he remained a regular visitor to the styling studio at Jaguar and was never afraid to offer his advice, right up until his death in 1985. In fact it is said that Sir Lyons’ influence was felt on the new XJ6 which was launched in 1986, known as the XJ40.

The car had been in development since the early 1970s, but due to a range of problems at British Leyland, the XJ40 suffered interminable delays before being unveiled at the British International Motorshow.

A much more angular vehicle, the XJ40 saw the introduction of rectangular headlamps, and square lights at the rear. There was also a quarter light in the rear pillar.

The engine was an all-new AJ6 inline-six engine, which replaced the XK6 unit used in earlier XJs. Inside the luxury saloon was leather and walnut veneers, which smacked of opulence compared to rivals BMW and Mercedes.

Manufacturer: Jaguar
Class: Full-size Luxury Car
Assembly: Coventry, UK
Did You Know?: Due to the 1973 fuel crisis the XJ40 was designed to have less weight, less drag, less wind noise and a stronger structure, all with the aim of making it more economical.