Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 15th March 2018

The Jaguar XJ 1968 model is part of the British luxury brand’s flagship series –  and is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018.

Considered to be the car that kept Jaguar afloat in the lean 1970s – The Jaguar XJ 1968 was known as the “eXperimental Jaguar.” We are going to be taking a brief look at the origin and impact of this iconic car.

Started In 1968

The original Jaguar XJ model was one of many experimental projects at the time, envisioned by the company’s founder, Sir William Lyons. The concept was a saloon car that would have the handling of an E-type. As the project progressed, rear doors were added, and the front ends were cut off – creating the now recognisable XJ look.

The launch of the car took place at the Paris Motor Show, in September 1968. Sir William Lyons actually appeared in the adverts for the model and declared it to be the finest saloon car Jaguar had ever produced. The rest of the world seemed to agree at the time, and the model was named ‘Car of the Year’ by Car Magazine.

Further Development

When the XJ first appeared it had an XK 4.2-litre engine, with twin carburettors and 245bhp. Jaguar also developed an alternative 2.8-litre version of the engine to appeal to Continental markets, where car tax was dictated by engine size.

The model name XJ6 was then chosen – due to the car then having six cylinders. It offered numerous improvements such as face-level ventilation and foam padding to the instrument panel.

It’s revolutionary design is still being felt today – with over half of all Jaguars ever built being XJ models.

Still A Modern Icon

Arguably, it could be considered that the best version of the XJ came last – with the model produced between 2003-2007 featuring an all-aluminium body and a wide variety of engines, including a 2.7-litre V6 diesel – it still looks great today.

The XJ model has seen countless media and high-profile appearances. The current 2009 Jaguar XJ, is one of the vehicles used by the British royal family, and the UK Prime Minister is often transported in an armoured version.   

Today the XJ stands at the pinnacle of the Jaguar range, as the most recognisable and prestigious of the three saloons. It is still considered the definitive Jaguar saloon amongst fans and enthusiasts.

By The Car Spy (1970 Jaguar XJ6 4.2 Series 1) [CC BY 2.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

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