14 October 2013

Jaguar Market Spotlight: XJ Saloons

Jaguar E-types are remembered for their stunning looks, their sporting performance, and for one of the most famous quotes in all motordom, penned by Henry Manney (“The greatest crumpet-catcher known to man”). Jaguar saloons of the 1970s and 1980s, on the other hand, are most frequently thought of in the context of what they are not. Namely: an E-type. Lately, however, buyers have come to cast a more appreciative eye on four-door models from this era.

Outside of Blue Chip Jags like the C-type, D-type, and XKSS—cars that are simply unattainable for most enthusiasts—the biggest movers in the Jaguar market during the past 16 months have surprisingly been XJ saloons. While the E-type (Series I to Series III) has increased in value at an average of 12%, the XJ has climbed 26%. The average XJ price today is nearly 12% higher than it was in 2008, and is at its highest price since Hagerty Price Guide was first published in 2006.

The thing about XJs is that the market has stopped knocking them for having two too many doors—for the moment at least—and instead noted that these cars carry many of the positives of their more sporting brethren at a 20%-50% deduction in price. Early XJ-6s have the famed 4.2-liter inline-six XK motor that is so celebrated in E-types. XJ-12s likewise benefit from the smooth V12 that makes Series III E-Types such fun to drive. The cars obviously have completely different lines and driving dynamics—they are family cars after all—but the characteristics of the motor are preserved in the larger model. In a lot of ways, the visceral charms of the motor still shine through in the sedan, even if performance is dampened by the car’s greater weight.

In terms of collectability, early Series I cars are best as they have purer looks when compared to Federalized models and offer a more classic interior. Series II models are generally safer due to their side-impact beams, as were Series IIIs. Both the first series V12 and 4.2-liter models offer performance that is not out of place in today’s traffic, with 0-60 times at 7.4 seconds and 8.8 seconds respectively.

Make no mistake, XJ sedan prices are not primed to overtake E-type coupes, nor will they be unimpeachably collectible in the long term. Market tastes change as do prices, and high build numbers and an inherent bias towards two-door models work against the XJ in general. Recently, though, prices have been on the move, even outpacing Coventry’s most famous model. Smartly buying a Jaguar XJ today for a few years of service looks like it could end up being a free ride when it comes time to sell down the road.

Brian Rabold is the editor of Hagerty Price Guide.

7 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Michael Rogers central coast of Calif November 4, 2013 at 00:01
    As I recall, the JagXJ was labeled the BEST CAR IN THE WORLD for some time,. while they didn't have the class of the earlier saloons like the Mk-7-8 or 9 their overall performance was of course much higher! They are also relitively inexpensive.
  • 2
    Robert Wilden S.E. United States December 11, 2013 at 21:14
    As I recall, there actually was a limited run of two door XJ Coupes, I can remember a good friend of my Father, who owned an Engineering Company in Midlands of England, had one of those models. It possibly had longer doors than the four door model, I can remember to this day, his beautiful daughter, emerging from the back seat in a 'mini skirt'. Did any of the two door coupes get to the US??
  • 3
    John Brunk Kansas January 2, 2014 at 10:41
    A few months ago I bought a 1971 XJ6 in Green Bay, Wisconsin and drove it 700 miles home. It was a great trip with no car problems. Even the air conditioner worked reasonably well.
  • 4
    Jan Ypma The Netherlands February 2, 2014 at 16:11
    I am the owner of a XJC 5.3 1975 for 8 years now. About 1.873 were built, some 1.100 in left hand drive and 500 are thought to be still on the road. Fitted with the 4.2 6 cilinder, some 6.500 were produced. If any of the XJ's are or will be collectabel the 2 door versions are the one's to go for. I'm sorry Mr. Rabold did not mention the 2 door models at all in his "spotlight" because, if one looks ate the production numbers, the XJC's are far more exclusive the E-Type's.......
  • 5
    wallaert Belgium April 18, 2014 at 05:08
    Hi, I have folowing. first registered in Belgium in 1975. Jaguar XJ6C CHASSIS N° 2J 50025 BW LHD Any idea of its value? Kind regards
  • 6
    stephen thomas United States December 11, 2014 at 10:51
    I have 2 XJ12C'S great cars , one is restored and the other is preservation . I never see any at the car shows I go to .
  • 7
    Steve Worthington MN USA February 19, 2015 at 10:51
    The XJC both 6 and 12 are becoming very collectible, some did get to the US but very limited numbers because of the failure to pass side impact tests. The rear "folding" windows were the issue, but a limited number of "federal" cars were built. I have a 1977 XJ6C I have the original sale document, and it states XJ6L on it - not XJ6C it's basically the same spec as the Federal XJ6. I am in the midst of a major restoration of my car it should be complete by the spring. There is an XJC Register out there.The above production figures are incorrect - there were 6487 XJ6C - 1677 Daimler Soverign 2 door, 1854 XJ12C - and 407 Daimler Double Six 2 Doors - the coupes are now fetching $40-50K

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