1985 Jaguar Sovereign 4.2

Ian Scanlon


As indicated elsewhere in Members’ Vehicles, I have a stable of British Cars. As a young man in the late ‘60s and 70’s the XJ6 and XJ12 were probably my favourites. It wasn’t until 2016 that I acquired this Jaguar. It was at the All British Day on the Newcastle Foreshore that I was chatting to an old friend from the 49-78 Holden Car Club who had parked his Jaguar beside me. I mentioned that I would like an XJ12 having just phoned about one that was for sale in the Southern Highlands. My friend mentioned that this featured car was for sale and I was welcome to make an offer, which I did. I thought my offer was one of those ‘ridiculous’ offers, but it was accepted.

General maintenance has been undertaken, tyres replaced, wheels sand-blasted and painted, a new distributor, new rear wheel bearings, and replacement light/high beam/hazard contacts and switches.

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Ian’s 1985 Jaguar Sovereign at the MCMA Concourse in 2018 where it gained

third place in the Best British Category.



The Jaguar is a regular on Maitland Classic Motor Association runs, and especially at show ‘n shines. It was driven on the club’s Tour of the Australian Alps in 2017 that included Canberra, Melbourne and the south coast of NSW. This tour covered 4949 kilometres over three weeks and the Jaguar was a fabulous touring car only requiring new rear wheel bearings in Melbourne.

The Jaguar XJ6

From 1970 it was Jaguar's flagship four door model. The original model was the last Jaguar saloon to have had the input of Sir William Lyons, the company's founder, and the model has been featured in countless media and high-profile appearances. Sir William appeared in numerous advertisements referring to the car as "the finest Jaguar ever". An unusual feature, inherited from the Mark X and S-Type saloons was the provision of twin fuel tanks, positioned on each side of the boot / trunk, and filled using two separately lockable filler caps: one on the top of each wing above the rear wheel arches. This featured carried all the way through to the last of the Series 3 cars in 1992.

David Wilkins in The Independent on July 1st 2010 claimed that Jaguar's original 1968 XJ is one of the most significant cars in the company's history, but that significance is double-edged. It was an outstandingly beautiful and capable machine, qualities that are still apparent today; but its very success became a curse. The difficulty of replacing the first-generation XJ meant that it remained in production, albeit in modified Series II and Series III form until 1992, twenty-four years after it first entered production, striking evidence of the soundness of the original design.







4 door luxury sedan


DOHC V12 in-line six cylinder


4235 cc


205 horsepower (153 kWs) @ 5500 rpm


314 lb ft (426 N-m) @ 3000 rpm


Borg Warner Model 66 3-speed automatic


Four-wheel independent


Ventilated discs on all wheels, inboard at the rear


1740 kg

Claimed top speed

120 mph (193 kph)

Standard equipment

Climate control air conditioning, trip computer, central locking, power windows and sun-roof, alloy wheels, leather seats, and security alarm

Max Stahl,in Classic Wheels on February 11th 2017, wrote that the XJ6 sedan was developed over four years as Project XJ4 (XJ for “experimental Jaguar”). This period included Jaguar’s merging with British Motor Corporation (July 1966) and Leyland (January 1968). Project XJ4 used many existing Jag elements including the XK dohc six-cylinder engine (since 1949), subframe-mounted front suspension (1955) and modular independent rear suspension (1961). Yet the resultant XJ6 sedan, which launched at the British Motor Show in October 1968, hit such a sweet spot that it endured, with apparently only subtle evolutions, into the next century. Rear cabin space soon came in for criticism, but road tests raved about the XJ6’s handling, ride and noise suppression. The 4.2 auto was swift and the four-speed manual even more so. There was talk of a modular V8/V12 engine; the latter, would arrive in 1972. The launch price of the XJ6 undercut German rivals by at least 25 percent and waiting lists quickly grew. Max reflected that despite the XJ6 being the best car in the world in 1969, it coincided with the worst era in British manufacturing. Strikes around the country constantly crippled output and quality; at one point, XJ6s were delivered with temporary wire-mesh grilles.

The late Robert Penn-Bradly, in Restored Car No. 176, claimed that these cars were the sweetest most competent cars that were light years ahead of the competition when released, and survived successfully for 24 years of production. A total of 850 000 XJ6 and XJ 12 Jaguars were produced in Series 1, 2, and 3 form with updates but few significant changes urging Penn-Bradly to claim “right first time”, and Classic and Sports Car in the February 2003 edition, …” the best saloon car in the world …”


Ian Scanlon

April, 2020