The Series I Jaguar XJ was the last out of the marquis to match superior driving dynamics and exemplary build quality with stunning design. It created the brand cachet that successive Jags prodigally exploited for decades. Power rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes pushed the technological envelope, while the power plant pushed the sheet metal to higher top speeds than anyone else while looking better than anyone else. So it’s a little unsettling that someone with adequate means commissioned a build that settled for ordinary: Yet another Chevy 350/Turbo 400-series swap. Find this 1973 Jaguar XJ6 here on craigslist with 350/R700 four-speed swap for $4,995, located in Las Vegas, NV.
This is the equivalent to an Applebee’s steak, or a car inconveniently having starter issues at a pivotal part in a horror movie, or a seasonal Hallmark movie with a plot substituted for a string of lukewarm moral platitudes. They’re not flawed, but they’ll get a few points knocked off by your inner hipster for lack of originality. It’s the same reaction that will keep you from watching A Christmas Story with a warm mug of hot chocolate. Again.
Specifications for this power plant are required learning in seven states, but here it is again in case you missed it: An easy 300 horsepower with a good static compression ratio and adequate breathing. The R700 four-speed automatic is a modernized version of the Turbo Hydramatic, and remembers more wars than your great uncle. This configuration has 30,000 miles and has been all over the Southwest with no issues.
The pearl white leather interior is perfect, as is the chrome trim and likely resprayed paint. This is the “have your classic luxury and drive it too” build that Ford tried in the late ’90s; looks that mimic Grey Poupon in the back seat, but easy drivability for meandering around the Kohl’s parking lot while listening to Maroon 5 on FM radio, you mainstream sheep. Despite the unoriginality, its low cost and excellent quality earn its place here. Because everyone has their price.
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