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The XJ Coupes

XJ6/12C - All Years

A fine looking V12 coupeThe XJC’s, otherwise known as the XJ Coupes, are a rare two-door version of the standard four door saloons. When Sir William Lyons began styling exercises for the new XJ models in the mid 1960’s, it was clear that he had the notion of a two door coupe in mind for eventual production. The SS Airline coupe of the 30’s was based on a two door pillarless design and its influence was significant when the XJ saloons were being styled. Many of the early mockups are based on the two-door theme in various forms. However, the public would have to wait until the introduction of the series II models, and well into this series, before production XJ coupes could be seen. They were first shown in 1973 at the International Motor Show when it was announced that both 4.2 liter six cylinder and 5.3 liter twelve cylinder versions would be available for the 1974 model year. However, production was delayed until the 1975 model year due to a combination of labor disputes at the Brown’s Lane factory and engineering troubles with the coupe body itself. The two door coupe body is based on the shorter wheelbase series I XJ platform. Without the window pillars, the coupe body suffered from structural rigidity problems and troubles keeping the wind noise down.  This latter problem was due to a low pressure area forming in the window area which tended to pull the front side windows outward and away from the sealing surfaces mounted on the rear side windows. Jaguar remedied the problem with an ingenious pulley and cable system that pressed the front windows inward toward the seals.  The result is a car that although not quite as quiet as a regular saloon, is reasonably quiet nonetheless.

 

When the XJ coupes arrived, they were clearly meant to be the sporty XJ models. In Europe, they were offered in either Jaguar (XJ4.2C and the XJ5.3C) or Daimler form (Sovereign 4.2C or Double Six C). In North America, they were offered as the XJ6C and XJ12C. The twelve cylinder XJC’s came standard with fuel injection (except for some early production and european models) and all models came with air conditioning and automatic transmissions as standard equipment. All coupes were equipped with a black vinyl roof as standard equipment (except for a series I prototype produced for Jaguar management). The reason for the standard vinyl roof was not clear but rumor has it that it was either the marketing folks who insisted on it or poor finish on the roof itself . Whatever the case, many latter day owners have chosen to remove this feature in lieu of a cleaner appearance.

 

Overall, the XJC’s are quite well proportioned and have a masculine air to them. The styling of the pillarless coupe gives a sense of "openness" that is often associated with a convertible. The shorter wheelbase also gives the car an incredible appearance of balance and aggressiveness. The car somehow feels quite smaller than the longer wheelbase four door cars, which is only four inches shorter, and its handling its quite different as well. I have found that most photographs don’t do the car justice and that it is more beautiful in person. The doors are large and heavy and the rear seating room is slightly reduced. However, egress is helped by special bucket seats that fold forward allowing better access to the rear seat and this arrangement comfortably seats four adults. If an open-air experience is your cup of tea, however, a few of the XJC’s were produced in convertible form by Avon-Stephens coachwork in the UK.

Production Numbers

The production numbers of the XJC is as follows:

Model
Total worldwide production
XJ6C (XJ4.2C)
6,487
XJ12C (XJ5.3C)
1,855
Daimler Sovereign 4.2C
1,677
Daimler Double Six C
407
Total Production
10,426

 

The production runs were made from 1975 through 1977 with some cars produced during 1977 registered as 1978 models. Additionally, a few pre-production models still exist and one is known to exist based on a series I body. In all, XJC production numbers are very low by Jaguar standards and the XJC is considered to be Jaguar’s rarest production model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Many Exist Today ?

 According to Paul Phillips, a noted coupe expert who runs a coupe parts house and coupe registry, less than 200 exist in the US. Paul states that "I have about 150 registered and I come across about 5 coupes a year that I am not familiar with. I thus estimate that my registry has not accounted for about 25% of the running coupes left in the US". One might expect similar numbers to exist elsewhere in the world - particularly Europe. The existence of other rare models, such as the Avon convertible, is probably limited to less than a dozen.

 

 

 

Racing Coupes

Broadspeed Racing Coupe

 In the mid 1970’s, British Leyland fielded several XJC’s known as the BroadSpeed Coupes. These cars are very aggressive looking with widened body panels to accommodate wider tires and specially constructed 550 hp Braodspeed V12’s. The suspensions were basic XJ designs with special double coil springs and shocks. The coupes were extensively modified on the inside and the exterior shell was lightened. The Broadspeed cars were utter failures in terms of racing wins but often were extremely fast on the tracks setting record qualifying times. The first cars suffered from oil starvation problems, tire failures, and drive shaft failures. Mechanical reliability problems, however, resulted in loss after loss. This losing streak, when combined with lack of long term British Leyland commitment, eventually forced the retirement of the cars and the team after a very short racing career. Later racing coupes, such as the Hannah V12 coupe, have been quite successful once the initial problems of the car were worked out.

Registry

Register your coupe on Per's XJ register at:  XJ Lovers Guestbook v.5.  Be sure to include details of your coupe including the chassis and engine numbers as well as the condition of the car.  Its also interesting to know how you may have modified the car (for example removing vinyl roof - I did).  You can search the guestbook contents by trying here  gbsearch.html.

Some Jag-Lovers Coupe Photos

 

 

 

  Daimler Double Six Coupe owned by Henk DeVries - A sharp euro coupe in excellent condition. For more information, see his web page at  http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/4245/

got a couple of photos of your coupe that you're not afraid to show ?  Let us know and well try to put them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Coupe Restoration

Under construction - watch your step !

Stage I - Falling in love with the car

Cars are like magical mechanical mistresses - and the sexiest ones lay waste to relationships, families, social lives and pocket books.  If you see one that lures you, run and hide because once the spell is set, you've been had.                             -Anonymous amateur philosopher overheard in a local bar.

I had the genuine pleasure of starting my first mechanical love affair at the ripe old age of 19.  I bought a 63 E-type roadster fresh out of high school.  My friends and I drove it through the summer testing its performance potential (they really will do 130 mph + but the top tends to come up and has to be held by the passenger !), outrunning the police, and discovering the universal effect that it had on persons of the female gender. As I look back on this highly romantic period of my life, it represented an absolute zenith of spiritual connection between man and machine. But as with all love affairs, they are imperfect.  I quickly realized that the car was very impractical for winters in Utah and high in maintenance costs.  Sadly, as 7 years of engineering classes faced me at the end of the summer, I momentarily came to my senses and sold it - a tragedy that should never be repeated.  But a busy college education kept my mind off of the car and I filled the void with lesser species such as a Sunbeam Alpine and various US makes with little bodies and big motors.  Strangely enough, pursuing two engineering degrees destroyed enough right brain activity that I really didn't miss the E-type. Oh sure, I occasionally swooned as I thought of the car and described the experiences to somewhat confused and dumbfounded non-Jaguar owners.  However, my senses were to be awoken as I turned thirty . I came across a nice series III XJ6 for sale on a local car lot.  As I looked at the car, the sensual pleasure of sitting in the E-type and the sound of the exhaust note came flowing back.  The XJ6 was closer to being a practical car for me at this phase of life since it's hard to carry the whole family in a E-type.  However, the XJ saloon still had that familiar slightly feminine and slightly masculine purposeful look. At that moment, standing there in the used car lot and getting way more excited than the situation deserved, I knew, the way that people know that life changing experiences are about to happen, that I was hooked again.  The car's allure was more than I could take.  I had to have one.

Knowing very little about the XJ6, I began searching for information and came across the Jag-lover's mailing list and web site.  I had hit the international nerve center of those with the same affliction as me - severe Jaguar fever.  Some were experiencing the budding romantic phase of their relationship to the cat and some were old hands at it and had lots of advice on what to buy and what to avoid.  On the web site, I came across the series II XJ coupes.  Their rarity initially sparked my interest.  As I looked at the pictures of these cars, I knew immediately that I had to have one.  And in my new tradition of listening to my right brain, I knew that I wanted the V12 model too.  Everything about it seemed impractical - extreme rarity and a complex and potentially obstinate motor.  Much like my taste in women.  But in a strange way, the whole package seemed balanced and totally satisfying in a way that somehow escaped me.  I found the two door lines to be absolutely stunning.  I easily imagined myself motoring at 100 mph down the deserted backroads of Utah in my beautiful coupe with the silent power of the V12 ushering us into the distance.  Suddenly, those obligatory family vacations and trips to in-laws with the family seemed more appealing. My wife, herself well exercised in the impractical, was sold on the idea.  The next step was then to find one and off I went  to buy my copy of Hemmings Motor News. 

Stage II   - Finding The Right Car

Leaving the local bookstore with a Hemmings clutched in my hands, I couldn't wait to open it and find the car of my dreams.  My drive home was filled with ideas of grandeur and optimism.  Would I find the perfect coupe that had been kept in perfect condition by an elderly english gentleman ?  And would this car fit my budget of less than 10,000 USD ?  I arrived home, headed straight into the den, and opened the HMN (an abbreviation for those of us mastered in the art of utilizing Hemmings Motor News) to the J cars for sale.  There were plenty of E-types for sale along with other classic Jaguars. As I perused the J Cars For Sale, I momentarily got stuck on the E-type section mainly on the prices.  To think that I had sold the 63 E type for 10,000 USD in 1983 and that it would be worth 2-3 times that now, I was amazed !  I quickly moved on realizing that, although worth it from a sheer pleasure point of view, an E-type for 30,000 USD was not what I set out to buy.  As I looked at the section on XJ's, there were plenty of four door models.  I came across a few XJ6C's but I held steadfast - I wanted the twelve cylinders.  I wanted the inconvenience and impracticality and also to announce to the parts couter person (they're not always men anymore !) that I needed TWELVE spark plugs.  Two XJ12C's were for sale.  One of the cars, the owner was asking well into the 18,000 USD price range.  Too high.  Besides, perfection is over-rated - right ?  I didn't believe it either.  I then came across two coupes for sale by the same owner - one an XJ6C and the other a XJ12C.  Both could be had for less than 10,000 USD.  Perfect if I could only talk him out of the twelve.  I called the number and got one of those annoying answering services where the lady acts as if she is personally annoyed that you were calling at all.  The minutes ticked away until the phone rang.  This guy had two coupes and yes he would be willing to split up the pair.  The price was right too.  he would sell the XJ12C for 4500 USD.  It was a complete California car without rust.  I reasoned that a little mechanical work and some new paint and that would give me what I was looking for for my 10,000 USD target price.  He agreed to send me some photos of the car.

I waited several days until the photos arrived.  Much to my dismay, the car was not a shiny perfect example.  Rather it was in primer but appeared complete.  And again, it seemed to be complete and rust free which was my main requirement.  I am no stranger to restoring cars and have done several rusty examples and some non-rusty examples.  There is no question, the rusty ones are the only ones worth restoring.  Based on the photographs, I decided to buy the car.  It was left to get the car from California to Utah.

Stage III - The Honeymoon

Stage IV - Facing Reality

Stage V   - A Deal That Can't Be Passed Up

Stage VI  - The Disassembly

Stage VII - Color Comes Into Her

Stage IIX- The Home Stretch


Text last updated on 10/22/1997 by Jim Cantrell - coupe owner - jimc@sysdiv.SDL.usu.EDU

Page last updated on 2/25/00 by Henry Fok. Send your comments to: spectre@jag-lovers.org.

 

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