The first Jaguar XJ hit the pavement over 50 years ago, which makes it the longest-running model line in the company’s history, not to mention being its flagship saloon for most of that run.
While it isn’t easy to capture that long and rich automotive history in a blog post, we can certainly offer you some highlights.
The Genesis of the XJ
Considering that the E-Type first rolled off the assembly line in 1961, you’d think that the early 1960s were a heyday for Jaguar. But, while the E-Type popularized the company in North America, their saloons were generally built on aging platforms and in danger of being eclipsed by the likes of Mercedes.
On the heels of the instant success of the E-Type, Jaguar started to work on “Project XJ4”, which evolved into the XJ6 Series 1, released to the public in 1968.
The XJ6 Series 1 & 2
With low-profile tires, rack-and-pinion steering, something approaching bucket seats, and advanced suspension, the Series I is now considered to be at least a decade ahead of its time. A V12 version introduced in 1972 was the world’s fastest four-door saloon at the time.
The XJ Series 2
The Series 2 debuted in 1973 and continued the leading-edge tradition started with the Series 1. Standard equipment included fibre-optic dashboard lighting, central locking and power windows. A more sport-tuned, two-door XJC appeared in 1975, but fewer than 10,000 units were built.
One of the reasons for the XJC’s short run was the introduction of the XJ-S in 1975 to replace the E-type.
The XJ Series 3 and 4
By 1978, the Series 2 was showing its age. But Jaguar wasn’t quite ready to launch its replacement, the XJ40 (Series 4). In the meantime, the company released the Series 3 with styling updates from famed Italian design house, Pininfarina.
On its arrival, the XJ40 was the first all-new XJ since the Series 1. Intended to address Jaguar’s reputation for “issues”, company boss, John Egan, indicated that the major components of the car must last at least 100,000 miles.
The XJ (X300)
While Jaguar purists were aghast following Ford’s takeover of the company, the American automaker’s dedication to quality improvement resulted in the release of the X300 in 1994. Its clean styling, quantum leap in quality and technical advancements are credited with keeping the XJ line intact
The XJ (X308)
With the renewed interest brought about by the X300, Jaguar quickly followed it up with the X308. Its lightweight V8 engine was intended to battle stiff V8 competition from Mercedes, BMW and Lexus.
XJ (X350) (X358)
For the sixth generation of the XJ line, Jaguar’s X350 featured an aluminum monocoque to reduce weight by 40%, while improving rigidity by 60%.
Today’s Jaguar XJ debuted in 2009, making the second longest-running XJ generation after the Series 3, which had a 13-year run.
If you have a Jaguar XJ, and you want dealer-equivalent service, including warranty-approved Land Rover Jaguar parts and service, get in touch with us here at Westminster Motors.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article “A Hat Trick of World Car awards for Jaguar I-Pace”.