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    Jaguar XJ6 S1’s out of the basement but still a bargain

    / #1969 / #Jaguar-XJ6-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XJ6 / #Jaguar-XJ12 / #2018

    Prices have been moving up nicely for the early Jaguar XJ6. Time was you could by a good ‘1969 XJ for £7k but fine original low-mileage cars are now approaching the £20k threshold, as buyers understand that a professional restoration comes with a £120k bill.

    Pembrokeshire Classic Investments in Wales has a superb 22,000-mile ’1972 4.2 auto in Old English White with all books, manuals and tools for £18,995, while the Classic Car Warehouse in Blackburn has another very original ’1972 4.2 auto with 48,000 and two owners for £15,995. Back in 2012 Silverstone sold a perfect ’1969 4.2 with 13,000 miles for £24,640 – that car is worth £40k now. Those first XJs cost a bargain £2592 and were plush, fast and smooth but you had to wait a year for delivery. Road testers raved and in ’1968 it scooped the Car of the Year Award. Launch year cars carry a premium with their silver-rimmed gauges, body-coloured wheels and rear reflectors in the reversing lights, but only a handful survive.

    The Jaguar XJ6 ushered in a new era of luxury car dominance with Mercedes-beating silence, speed and technological refinement for £1000 less than an S-Class. The 4.2s feel more urgent than 2.8s and although manual XJs are more rare, the Borg Warner self-shifter is much more waftable. Daimler versions are worth 20% more but are harder to find. Even tatty projects are now running at £3-£5k but seek out the best you can find. Given the current six-figure restorations costs a fine Series 1 XJ at less than £20k is a resounding bargain – just like it was back in 1968.

    VALUE 2012 £6750
    VALUE NOW 2018 £11K
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    JAG XJ-6 CUSTOM / #1970 survivor inspired by #Broadspeed / #Jaguar-XJ6-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ6 / #Jaguar-XJ6 / #Jaguar /

    His dad offered him his old Jag and he said no. Then he saw sense
    Don Lewthwaite’s Dad had to persuade him to accept this Jag as a free gift. Luckily he got his act together soon afterwards.


    How can you tell when you’re getting old? There are certain signs. For instance, you ask everyone to be quiet when the News is on telly, Gloria Hunniford starts to look increasingly fanciable and you think those slippers look ever so comfy. Now, there are certain cars that look as if they have been specifically designed for the older generation. Estate cars seem to be one of them, along with large lumbering saloons like a Rover 75, a Volvo 740 or a series 1 XJ6. Don Lewthwaite felt the same at one time.

    Back in 1973 this particular #Jaguar-XJ6 was bought brand new by Don’s Dad. He ran it for the next few years and then decided to upgrade to a newer model. He was so dismayed at the tiny bag of beans of trade in value that he refused to sell it back to the dealer.

    Instead, it was offered to Don – free! Now Don really didn’t see the appeal of this car and he wasn’t particularly keen on taking on the ownership. Not until his Dad agreed to let him do what he liked with it. Ah, now that makes it a lot more interesting. Back in 1978 when Don took over as legal guardian of the Jag, customising cars was getting pretty big in the UK, thanks to influences from America. Metal flake paints, polished wheels with fat tyres, airbrushed flames and sidepipes were all becoming more common on our streets. Thankfully Don wasn’t quite into the full on American taste, (or should I say lack of it)?

    Don had some appreciation of Dad’s Jag, and he knew that this car could easily have been spoiled if he’d gone totally Yankey Doodle with it. He did however, still have some big ideas. The bodywork saw a huge commitment in time and effort for Don and a coach building friend. They painstakingly produced bespoke arches with a combination of steel rods and sheet metal. Taking hours upon hours to perfect the shapes and ensure they matched perfectly. The original idea of adapting a set of Big Cat style glass arches would’ve been so much easier but, wouldn’t have looked as good that’s for sure. The body was then treated to more than a few coats of #British-Racing-Green . I think 17 was mentioned somewhere in our discussions. However many it was, it was certainly enough because it’s not been repainted since. A grille from a V12 helps complete the look.

    The flared arches weren’t just for looks, Don wanted the true American Custom look with a set of 15inch Cobra Superslots fitted with the customary huge Pos- A-Traction, General Grabber type of tyres.

    You might be wondering then, how come they’re not on the car in the pictures. Simply, the tyres aren’t made in the required size anymore. This did lead to some difficulties for a while as the only tyres to come close were off roaders. ‘Not only did they look daft but, the noise was intolerable’ Don explains. ‘I had to bite the bullet and get a new set of wheels’. In typical fashion for Don, they are both gorgeous and very expensive. ‘Took a bloody year to save up for these’, he says. ‘Nice though aren’t they’? Oh yes matey, nice doesn’t really cover it. 18 inch custom split rims from Image Wheels. They keep the Cobra look but are now shod in a much more practical and modern profile. They certainly help to give the Jag a more up to date stance and look.

    The engine of an XJ6 is almost as famous as a Rolls Royce Merlin. The straight six 4.2 has been the mainstay of so many Jags throughout the years. Don of course wanted to improve things. He’d seen a photo taken under the bonnet of a racing Jag and was besotted with the layout. So, the seed was sewn to replicate not just the looks, but some of the power too. A 4.2 from an XK was sourced and although it came equipped with an injection system this was ditched in favour of three Weber 45 DCOE carbs. The engine received a full on race quality build with a lightened and balanced bottom end, forged pistons and a gas flowed, big valve head and higher lift injection cams.

    All this was beautifully assembled with the help of a Mr Rob Beere, a man well known for his Jag engines. An absolutely gorgeous sculpture in stainless steel is the 6-to-3-to-2 exhaust manifold that finishes one of the most fantastic engine bays I’ve ever seen. It curves elegantly down and under the bulkhead where it meets up with even more bespoke stainless in the form of one off exhaust system. The mixture of the noise of the three Webers gulping at the atmosphere coupled with a muted roar from the twin tail pipes is simply awesome. It’s not shouty and angry, it kind of just lets you know that it’s there and willing to use its 300 plus horses at a moment’s notice. In fact that’s how the whole car presents itself. It’s no shrinking violet but, it’s not some loud, coarse, in your face hot rod either. The modifications have a subtlety about them and retain the very British essence of the car.

    The interior continues in the same way. A cursory glance would lead to think that nothing has really changed. The dash is festooned with the usual Smiths dials surrounded in a wood veneer. But have another look at those front seats. They’re actually Recaros that have been re-covered in a leather to match the interior. Even the original T handle gear shift helps disguise the fact that the Borg Warner 65 auto box it’s attached to is reworked and with a locking torque converter. All of which helps get the power sent reliably through to the XJS Power-Lok differential.

    Suspension wise too has had the subtle but proper attention spent on it. There’s no sign of a custom car, arse in the air, jack up job here. Oh no, the layout remains as intended but, now benefits from adjustable Gaz shocks all round and all the spongy rubbery bits have been replaced with Superflex versions. The whole thing offers a great combination of ride quality and control. Stopping this beauty has been left to the already hefty standard braking system. For good measure the original servo remains in place.

    Now, there is one aspect of this build that may not sit well with everyone, the roof! As you can see there is a matching pair of tilting glass sunroofs. Could it be that these additions spoil things? I’m sure that some people could clutch their chest with anxiety on seeing them but they’re not a huge shock to me. You see, that style of sunroof was from way back then, just the same as the car itself. And in keeping with customising tradition of the time, why use one when there’s room for two. It happened all the time with lights, exhausts and airhorns so, no big deal I reckon. To prove a point Don picked up another trophy at Tatton Park.

    Don has managed to create something very special with this Jag. It has all its Britishness still very evident and intact, because the changes have all been pretty subtle. The use to which the car is put isn’t far removed from its original purpose either. It is still a very stylish, comfortable cruiser. Only now it has a bit more character and a good deal more grunt. It’s my kind of car, mind you – I am a bit of an old man.
    Thanks to - Tatton Park


    Midlands based engineering company Broadspeed was renowned for competition cars throughout the 60s and 70s. Many will remember some of the more famous cars like the John Fitzpatrick BTCC winning Anglia, or Andy Rouse’s Dolomite Sprint. My favourites were the incredible Mk1 Escorts. Heaven knows what they’d be worth now.

    In 1975 there was a rather interesting request by BL to race prepare the Jaguar XJ12 Coupé. These cars were to be entered into the European Touring Car Championships. Extensive modifications were made mechanically to these large machines to provide more power and improve handling and braking. The body received just as much attention too, with a large open grille at the front and deep rear spoiler. The biggest change to the exterior though, were the strikingly large arches.

    These were not only a regular addition to many a Broadspeed creation but, were very much a necessity to house the much larger rims. The Big Cat certainly commanded a presence. Sadly the BMW 650 CSLs were lighter and outperformed the Jags.

    Broadspeed XJ12 Coupé didn’t win but it looked coolest.

    Arches were created in steel not glassfibre.

    Image wheels ape original Cobra Superslots.
    Glass roofs are back in vogue on modern cars.


    Big rims on old cars can look out of place but the #Jaguar-XJ 6 pulls it off with aplomb.

    Three-speed autobox remains but has locking torque converter.
    Custom stainless manifold is beautiful.

    4.2-litre Jag XK engine has injection cams and three glorious Webers.
    Well petrol’s only 99p a litre – so why not?
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    It’s not often you see a #Jaguar with a supercharged #V8 sticking out of the bonnet. Well here’s two of them!

    Shotgun Wedding

    In the average wedding car, you’d be lounging in the back in the swells of loved-up marital bliss. But these big cats would definitely have you calling shotgun… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Ben Hosking.

    “What is a wedding? Well, Webster’s Dictionary describes a wedding as: the process of removing weeds from one’s garden.” So said Homer Simpson in the iconic 1994 episode ‘Secrets of a Successful Marriage’. Inspiring stuff.

    Weddings, it goes without saying, are hard. Months of preparation, agonising over seating plans and the family politics of who you can and can’t invite without causing awkward tension and a cessation of future Christmas cards, grappling with suppliers who double the cost of everything simply because you’ve prefixed each item with ‘wedding’ (seriously, ‘wedding napkins’ are just napkins that happen to be at a wedding)… it’s enough to age you ten years in one. The honeymoon comes as a blessed relief simply because it’s a chance not to spend every evening doing bloody wedmin.

    For people like us, of course, there’s an extra level of stress and jeopardy: what do you go for in terms of wedding transportation? For the average couple it’s easy enough to just get on the blower to Rent-a-Roller and rock up in a Silver Shadow, job done – but if you spend every day with engine oil under your fingernails and squinting through arc-eye, you need something a bit more eye-catching.

    Something with a story. And that’s where Fat Cat Classics come in – at least, for residents of New South Wales, Australia. This is your one-stop shop for a badass wedding convoy; they’ve got a fleet of three matching Jaguars jam-packed full of shock-and-awe mischief and rumbling horsepower. You see them here bunched together in the workshop of Sydney’s Forza Performance, but this is an aggressive trio that loves nothing more than a blast on the open road, vying for tarmac-troubling supremacy as they each deploy sodding great gobs of torque. Sure, they’ll get the blushing bride to the church on time, but they’ll frighten the life out of her on the way there. Which, naturally, should set a precedent for the rest of the marriage.

    You’ll spot that there are three cars in the package, each resplendent in shimmering silver paint and lipstick red interiors. There’s a 1963 Mark X, a 1971 XJ12, and a more modern S-Type – we’ll swerve the latter for the sake of keeping this spotlight squarely focused on the Retro Cars heartland, and take you on a journey in the former pair, each one eager to ruck up your suit and do unseemly things to your cummerbund.

    …but before we do, let’s take a little look at their respective personas. You see, these cars have names, and names always carry weight; the Mark X is named Elizabeth, and you may call the XJ12 Marilyn. As you’ve no doubt deduced, this refers to the classic celebrity rivalry of the late 1950s and early ’60s, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. While history ultimately seems to have handed Monroe the trophy, it was Taylor who was winning the race for column inches, and her bank balance was pretty healthy too – she was earning $1m a movie while Marilyn was taking home $100k. It’s the classic tale of the eager up-and- comer in the shadow of established royalty, with both parties actually being enormously jealous of one another’s assets. And so the rivalry rages in the Fat Cat garage.

    Elizabeth is imposing enough to immediately position herself as top cat here. The perky billet 8/71 supercharger poking through the savaged bonnet acts as a psiren song, an irresistible lure toward the danger within.

    “The engine swap was easily the hardest part of the build,” says Fat Cat’s Sean Carolan. “We had to re-engineer the whole front end.” Indeed, with the Jag’s original motor swapped out for a meaty small block Chevy V8 – 6.3-litres, no less – you can imagine just what sort of upheaval was required. The floorpans were reconfigured, transmission tunnel reworked, and firewall modified to make room for the vast new powertrain. An XJ12 independent rear end sits out back to help deploy the growling fury of it all, ensuring that the engineering project wasn’t just confined to the car’s leading edge, and there’s a feel of solidity and dependability throughout the chassis. And that’s just as well really, as the last thing you want is your wedding car breaking down. “We made the decision to keep the power at a moderate level, to ensure that there were no annoying breakdowns or overheating when getting the bridal party to the chapel,” Sean explains. “As such, Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we changed our minds!”

    The natural balance to be reached here is that, no matter how powerful or extreme a wedding car may be, it must always be luxuriously appointed. No bride wants her five-grand dress being creased by a set of aggressive Takata harnesses or snagged on an exposed door innard. So Elizabeth’s interior has been artfully trimmed in fi nest scarlet leather – a hide plucked from the Aston Martin menu, no less. The carpets and headlining wear a similarly bright shade, with the overall vista being one of classic, timeless elegance. Well, until you peer over the chauffeur’s shoulder and spot that gargantuan blower poking out of the front, that is.

    What of Marilyn, then? Is she a shrinking violet, in the thrall of the ruler of the roost? No, not a bit of it. Let’s not forget that Marilyn Monroe was a bit of a firecracker, and seldom happy to stand in another’s shadow. The logic of the respective names does falter somewhat when we look at linear chronology (Taylor was some years younger than Monroe, whereas the Marilyn Jaguar is the younger car here), but their positions make sense. The Mark X is the bigger, brasher, more imposing car, but the XJ12 snaps at its heels like a snarling puppy. The 1971 Series 1 was in fact born of a ten-day whirlwind of workshop activity in the run-up to Sean’s own marriage to his partner-in- crime Leigh. “We built Marilyn on a very tight timeline,” he says. “It was created from a rolling shell in just ten days, it was very intense – we were still working on it at 2am on the day of the ceremony. I was one tired groom!” Hey, it’s all about priorities, isn’t it? And if your wedding car is your business, you can’t show up in a half-finished motor. Particularly when your other car is so flawless.

    You can see that the aesthetic is neatly carried over to the ’71; both cars wear the same 20in Vertini wheels and the same shade of silver paint, along with that shockingly red interior treatment with its old-school wood accents. They also share an absolute disregard for any semblance of subtlety when it comes to poking shiny slabs of mechanical equipment through the bonnet, and the XJ12 is also no slouch. Sean’s looking at the thick end of 420hp at the rear wheels, which should ensure that the bride’s mother arrives at the church sideways, screaming in terror and choking on acrid tyresmoke. In deference to her big sister, Marilyn wears just the one carb instead of two and a smaller blower, but the numbers still aren’t to be sniffed at. It’s more about hierarchy than compromise.

    “If I had my time over again, I think I would have put a bigger supercharger on Marilyn,” says Sean thoughtfully, scratching his chin as he considers the implications. “In fact, I think I would have built both with injected setups instead of the carbs…” You can see the way his mind’s working, can’t you? These cars aren’t just built as static showpieces; they’re workhorses of course, but evolving ones. Work also happens to be pleasure here, and you can’t stop a man like this from playing with his toys. There are always treasons, stratagems, and spoils afoot. You can be pretty sure that if and when you were to see these cars again, they’d be subtly different – or perhaps, as befits their nature, not so subtle…

    The act of planning a wedding is never going to run smoothly, but if you’re aiming to get married in the vicinity of this fleet of raucous Jags, that can at least be one major box ticked off the list. And if you need help with the rest of the planning, just remember the wisdomous advice that Homer Simpson had to offer on the subject: “That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!”

    Oh wait, no, not that. Er… “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” There you go. The Simpsons always offer a solution.

    SPECIFICATION #1971 / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1 (MARILYN) / #Jaguar-XJ12 / #Jaguar-XJ-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1-Marilyn /

    ENGINE: 400ci (6.6-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 #V8 , 4-bolt mains, 4in stroke Scat crank, Scat H-beam rods, Probe forged 8.9:1 pistons, Clevite bearings, ARP head and mains studs, ported alloy heads, Isky springs and retainers, Cam Tech custom solid cam, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster doublerow timing chain, Melling oil pump, 750cfm Barry Grant carb, 4/71 #GM supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley fuel pump, custom 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in mild steel exhaust, X-pipe, 420rwhp

    TRANSMISSION: T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, Jaguar XJ12 LSD, custom tailshaft

    SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
    BRAKES: Series 3 front brakes, stock rears
    WHEELS & TYRES: 8.5x20in Vertini wheels
    INTERIOR: Momo steering wheel, Recaro front seats, red leather trim, Hurst shifter, red carpets, red headlining, satnav, Pioneer stereo, Autometer gauges
    EXTERIOR: Stock restored XJ12, bonnet cutout

    SPECIFICATION #1963 / #Jaguar-Mark-X (ELIZABETH) / JAGUAR MARK X / #Jaguar-MkX / #Jaguar-Mk10 / #Jaguar-MkX-Elizabeth /

    ENGINE: 383ci (6.3-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 / #GM-V8 / #GM , Scat 3.750” crank, 4-bolt mains, #Scat H-beam rods, Probe blower 8.8:1 pistons, moly rings, #Clevite bearings, #ARP head and mains studs, ported cast heads, #Cam-Tech hydraulic roller cam, Crower lifters, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster double row timing chain, Melling oil pump, HE sump, #B&M oil cooler, Edelbrock water pump, XR6 thermo fan and radiator, 120A alternator, custom billet pulleys, 2x 750cfm #Demon carbs, TBS 8/71 supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley Black fuel pump, block hugger pipes, twin 3” exhaust, custom X-pipe, 450rwhp
    TRANSMISSION: #GM-T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, #Jaguar XJ12 diff , LSD, custom 2-piece tailshaft
    SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
    BRAKES: Factory #Jaguar twin-piston calipers
    WHEELS: 8.5x20in (front) and 10x20in (rear) Vertini wheels
    INTERIOR: Custom Aston Martin red leather trim, Hurst shifter, Autometer gauges, red carpets, red headlining, Pioneer head unit, power amp and speakers
    EXTERIOR: Stock restored Mark X, bonnet cutout

    “Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we ever decided to change our minds”
    How many wedding cars do you know of where the engine sticks through the bonnet! Christ, it’s enough to make you want to get married!
    At the time of its launch the XJ12 was claimed to be “the fastest full four-seater in the world”. With a #Chevy-V8 it’s now even faster! #Jaguar-S-Type isn’t really retro Cars fodder, but it completes the Jag trio nicely.
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