1985 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas 4.2 Litre from North America


A car for adults, not kids


Before I start this review, to everybody considering getting one of these beautiful cars; they're NOT Toyotas. You do NOT just drive them into the ground! Preventative maintenance IS THE KEY to owning a reliable Jaguar! With that out of the way, let's do the review now.

Things that have gone wrong with the car:

- I blew 4 tappet guides. I knew they were going anyways, and I rebuilt a 1986 model engine to replace it with. (Mind you those tappet guides were on their way out for about 3,000 miles....And people say Jaguar isn't reliable...=) )

- The transducer for the speedometer went at 100,000 miles. (A simple $100 part and about 30 seconds of labour to replace it.)

- The rear main seal sucks on these cars. Although they used a Borg-Warner transmission, the seal is rope and it likes to leak oil, which is no big deal to me; I check my oil every time I drive this car.

General Comments:

- I bought this car for a whopping $500, which was a STEAL.

- I drove this car from Rhode Island to Florida with NO problems WHATSOEVER. Yes it leaks oil - (About 1/2 quart every 2 months.) It's a 23 year old car.

- The car is so comfortable to drive in and yes it has the power and pep to dust most cars if needed. =)


- If you're planning on buying one of these cars, do NOT get the 12 cylinder model of this OR a 12 cylinder Jaguar. They ARE unreliable and COSTLY to fix. Mind you, the 5.3 litre engine leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the extreme lack of power. You're better off with the straight 6.

- Get a 1986-87 model year XJ6. Jaguar took out the air pump that is on top of the engine in previous model years, which gives you much more performance and better fuel economy.

- Make sure you install a "Tappet guide stake-down kit" Because modern day gas is garbage and the engine is so old, (The engine remained almost exactly the same for 40 years.) the tappet guides come loose from the poor grade of fuel we have. It's rather inexpensive to install ($300) and saves your engine.

- These engines are reliable engines, REGARDLESS to what people have said about them. Install the stakedown kit, keep up on the preventative maintenance on this car, and you'll have a real head turner for decades to come.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2008

2nd Sep 2008, 23:09

Hi, I just bought a 1987 Jaguar XJ6 and I love it, it is gun metal grey and the only thing that doesn't work is the HORN! How about that for a 21 year old car? And yes it does dust down the highway, but I was wondering what speed this car loved the most? Anybody got any hints?

1985 Jaguar XJ6 4.2 4.2L injected from Australia and New Zealand


Truly a great car


Front stub axles and disks needed to be replaced (and of course disk pads and bearings were replaced). The disks had done a lot of miles - fair enough. However, it was a surprise to learn that the stub axles tend to wear under the inner bearing. Seems to be a known weakness. Also one of the hubs wore where the inner bearing seated into it. Again, this seems to be a known weakness.

Electric window switches all failed and needed to be replaced.

The leather seats have deteriorated, and it would cost more than a replacement car to fix them.

Look after the body - they tend to rust.

General Comments:

I love it.

The series III is a truly beautuful old car. They are now very cheap, and if you shop around you'll find plenty with nice bodywork, a good interior and a sound engine and transmission.

However, as noted above, with these old cars, the front suspension components are likely to need a big refit. Shop around for those parts - the dealer parts are frighteningly expensive, but there are enthusiast businesses in Auckland who can supply them at much cheaper prices.

The old jag is a delight to drive. Not a sports car, I guess, with only 200Hp as opposed to the 300's I hear people boasting of for similar-sized, modern cars. However, it still exhibits heaps of comfortable power, and it's a really responsive handler for such a big car (My big old Mitsubishi Magna family car was no comparison, nor is my wife's Corolla).

I'm now torn. This car's interior is starting to deteriorate. Do I buy another one? I've run mine from age 14-21 years, how would one cope as my everyday car from age 21 to maybe 30? I don't know - but, if I go modern I am really going to miss the style and comfort at a tiny price tag (I paid $3k). Did I mention they are whisper quiet?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2006

19th Nov 2006, 10:36

I am also a Jaguar lover. I purchased my first 87 Jaguar in May of 1988. It was Alpine Green with the Alabaster (white) leather seats. I had about 120,000 miles on it before I bought my second one in August 1999. Same color, same year, lighter color interior. I now have 106,000 on it. I only drive about 3500 miles a year; husband won't let me take it out of town (smile). He wants me to start looking for another car, but quite frankly, I haven't seen a car that even comes close to the 87 Jags looks and styling. Maintenance is an issue, but over the years, it is still cheaper than a new car payment. As long as I can get parts, I want to keep the car. I'd love to redo the dash, the wood trim is cracking badly, but don't know where to go. Would also like to get the seats reupholstered; that might be cheaper than buying new seats.

Any thoughts?

15th Dec 2006, 22:55

World upholstery has seat covers.

26th Dec 2008, 05:22

Keep the beauty - you'll regret selling it later on down the road. Even if it 10 years down the road.