I'm interested: what's the appetite for Jaguar XJ40s among the PH fraternity at the moment? It's a car that, perhaps wrongly, I sensed had slipped under the radar for many, yet, judging by the rising prices of good ones out there, clearly, it's catching the market's attention. I spotted this one while on the hunt for a Series III. The Series III's curvaceous lines, skilfully modernised back in the day by Pininfarina, have never seemed anything less than beautiful to me, in a way that the XJ40's angular, 80s form never quite did. And yet it's an iconic car that's instantly recognisable and one that I know very well, having cut my teeth on them as a Jaguar apprentice technician back in the mid 90s.
I can certainly tell you what to look out for when buying one. There are lots of things, actually. Collapsed A-frame mounts (the forward mountings for the rear subframe) is a common concern, as is a split prop-shaft rubber. In fact, anything rubber needs checking carefully, including front suspension wishbone bushes, damper bushes (the top mounts for the front dampers often disintegrate completely, causing an alarming but thankfully cheaply curable knocking.
The rear half-shafts also wear. These form the top link of the double-wishbone suspension at the back, and they endure added stress as a result of doing two jobs. Whining diffs are another thing to watch for, but be wary of MOT testers failing a car because of play in the wheel bearings. I've had to point out to a few testers that the XJ40's taper-roller bearings should have a modicum of play.
The AJ6 engine is pretty strong if regularly serviced but watch out for timing chain rattles and head gasket failure. The ZF auto transmissions are also dependable, although need routine fluid and filter changes to keep them that way - make sure the fluid isn't black. And don't necessarily be concerned by oil leaks. Everything leaks on an XJ40 - the head gasket, the rocker cover gasket, the diff seals etc - and trying to stop them is an impossible task that will either drive you insane or towards bankruptcy - or both.
My advice is: if it's weeping wipe it off; if its coated, sort it. Obviously, rust and electrical issues are concerns, and on that subject, check the HVAC works correctly. There are numerous flaps operated by servo motors and they stick. If you're lucky, you can free them with two specialist service tools I highly recommend investing in: one is a long, thin screwdriver and the other is a hammer. Pop the former onto the offending part and whack it gently with the latter, which should do the job.
If that all sounds a bit scary, the good news is that lot of the work is doable if you're happy to get your hands dirty, or there are numerous specialists on hand to help if not. The late, 6.0-litre V12s are, to my mind, the most interesting of the XJ40s, but the S model (like this one) is much simpler and has always appealed. I liked its quad headlamps, body-colour-grille vanes, attractive five-spoke alloys and the lovely rose wood veneer inside, which, as far as I can recall, was unique to the trim. The 4.0-litre versions had proper power and also electronic control for the four-speed auto that made them more reactive and smoother. The 3.2 is still fine, though, with plenty shove for relaxed, rather than truly spirited, progress. And this one, in bright Flamenco Red with those miles and a proper main-dealer history, has to be worth a punt - don't you think?
SPECIFICATION | JAGUAR XJ6 3.2 S
Engine: 3,239cc, straight six, naturally aspirated
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 200 @ 5,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 219 @ 4,000rpm
Recorded mileage: 26,000
Year registered: 1993
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £9,995
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