Junkyard Gem: 1985 Jaguar XJ6

Wire wheels, Lucas electrics, and everything else that makes a Jag a Jag.

  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
The Series III Jaguar XJ was built for the 1979 through 1992 model years, the final chapter of a quarter-century of the iconic original Jaguar XJ (though production of the straight-six model ended in 1987). Thanks to notoriously troublesome electrical systems and rapid depreciation, but blessed by stay-of-execution-obtaining beauty, most of these cars were parked under blue tarps in driveways before the end of the 1990s... awaiting repairs that never came. Here's one that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard over the winter.

If you were serious about driving a Jag during the easy-money 1980s, you needed the optional wire wheels. That showed those rubes in the BMW 735s and Mercedes-Benz 500SELs what real class was all about.

The 4.2-liter version of Jaguar's legendary straight-six engine made 176 horsepower in 1985. That was six fewer than the 735i's six and eight fewer than the 500SEL's V8. However, the XJ6 cost $32,250, versus $36,880 for the BMW and $51,200 for the Benz. Given that the Jag offered at least as much (and maybe more) status on the street, its price tag looks like a pretty good deal.

Of course, the electrical stuff would have a few issues, but so what?

Lovely Rita learns to fear the Jaguar in this British Leyland advertisement.

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