It is often stated that the 2 door XJ was the last car styled by Sir William Lyons and that had it not been for his influence it would never have existed. Sir William retired in March 1972 but continued to consult for Jaguar and the previous statement is not entirely true as he was asked for his input on XJ-S and XJ40. However, it had clearly been something that Sir William had wished to explore for a while as the early styling proposals for the XJ show a two door saloon centre section sandwiched between E-type reminiscent front and rear, albeit with an apparent four door window arrangement. This was in 1963. Jaguar had maintained a clear disctinction between its sports and saloon models since the SS100 and Mk IV in the 1930s so a two door saloon was uncharacteristic.
The Premature launch
The Series 2 XJ arrived in 1973 and made its public debuted at the Frankfurt International Motor Show 13th-23rd September followed by an appearance at the Paris Salon 4th-14th October. The 2 door's UK debut was at Earls Court 17th-27th October where a Lavender XJ12C with Dark Blue leather and chromed wheels was on the stand.
The press pack for the release of the S2 focused on the two door with its folder cover featuring 3 line drawings of the coupe in Jaguar and Daimler guises. The covering note from Jaguar Public Relations Manager Andrew Whyte stated that, "we are also taking the opportunity of announcing... a limited volume 2-door model - a new venture for Jaguar - which is scheduled to join the new range early in 1974."
The two door would be availble in Jaguar and Daimler specifications with 4.2 XK or 5.3 V12 engine. The XK was rated at 170 bhp at 4500 rpm while the V12 was 254 bhp at 6000 rpm.
Length: 190.7in / 484.3cm Height: 54.1in / 137.5cm Width: 69.7ins / 177cm Wheelbase: 108.8in / 276.3cm Oil Capacity: 4.2 - 8.25 litres 5.3 - 10.8 litres Petrol tanks 2x 45.5 litres 0-60mph 4.2 (Automatic) 9.9 seconds 5.3 7.5 seconds Max speed 4.2 120 mph+ 5.3 140 mph+ Fuel Consumption 4.2 14-19 mpg 5.3 11-15 mpg
Identification XJ6C: Horizontally slated grille pattern with Jaguar head at top centrally. XJ12C: As above, but with "V12" symbol below Jaguar head. Sovereign: Traditional Daimler "fluted top" grille with vertical slats, surmounted by "D" motif. Double-Six: As above, but with "V12" symbol instead of "D". All models would have silver painted steel wheels that could be chrome plated as an option. A coachwork line would be applied to the body flanks of all 2-door Series Two models of both marques.
The 'revised' launch
In 1975 Jaguar released a new press pack with an embargo date of 30th April. The pack announced 8 new models but 5 of these 'NEW' models were fuel injected versions of the V12 2 and 4 door XJ in standard and Vanden Plas trim. The only really new models were the 3.4 litre XJ6 and Sovereign and the 4.2 litre Sovereign now being available in Vanden Plas spec. The press release states that the fuel injection would initially be, "fitted to 2-door models but will be available on 4-door cars later this year." One might suppose that this was because there were some saloons already built but that the 2-door production hadn't yet kicked off. Of the 15 models just two in the range were summarised as 'REVISED' - the 6 cylinder 2-doors. The press release also announced that the company now offered, "a broader selection of trim and optional equipment across the range which includes, for the first time, cloth seats as an alternative to leather." "All 5.3-litre fuel-injected Jaguars and Daimlers have a black Vinyl roof and a chromium-plated side strip on the bodywork. Distinctive light-alloy road wheels are an optional extra for 5.3 models." 5.3 litre (injection) 285 bhp at 5750 rpm Fuel Consumption 14-16 mpg
|Retail including Taxes
|XJ 4.2C Overdrive or Automatic
|XJ5.3/C Overdrive or Automatic
|Sovereign 2 door Overdrive or Automatic
|Double-Six 2 door (Fuel injection)
"eighteen months ago... came the "Series Two" Jaguars and Daimlers ... At the same time, there was a preview of the two-door XJ6/XJ12, - now on the production lines at Coventry." "Conceived by Bendix, developed and engineered by Bosch, and jointly adapted by Lucas and Jaguar, the new system represents the first series-production application of fuel injection to a V12 engine." Weight XJ5.3C/Double-Six two-door inc. air conditioning and 67.5 kg of fuel 1861kg XJ4.2C inc. 67.5kg of fuel 1745 kg "All seat facings for 5.3 Jaguars and Daimlers will be of the wide-pleated pattern hitherto exclusive to the Daimler marque." "Black is a standard cloth colour which can be specified with any body colour"
The car didn't actually go on sale until April 1975 which is usually attributed to problems with sealing the frameless windows against wind noise and high demand for the four door. The North American market is said to be a significant reason for the coupe's existant with most manufacturers offering a two door version of their models that represented a high proportion of sales. I have seen many ludicrous claims on the internet about how Jaguar created the two door body, often with the phrase 'cut and shut'. It is not the case that they took a four door car and cut it half before chopping a section from the middle and welding it back together again. It is also not the case that they took four door cars off the production line and modified the bodywork by welding up the doors. The body is based on the SWB saloon floorpan but with a different rear quarter pressing and roof section. Forward of the front seat back and aft of the rear window the car is identical to the SWB and LWB saloons. The SWB platform is 4 inches shorter than the LWB. The coupe doors are 4 inches longer than the saloon front doors. By the end of 1974 the SWB 4 door was dropped in favour of the LWB having only been offered in saloon form with the 4.2 XK leaving the coupe as the only model on this platform. All two door cars (with one special order exception) were delivered with a black vinyl roof. There has long been a suggestion that this is because the modified roof section flexed and would cause the paint to crack on the pre production cars so the vinyl was used to cover this up. However, when I removed my vinyl roof as part of a full body restoration the paintwork was immaculate. What seems to be forgotten is that Vinyl rooves were very fashionable in the 70s with the highest trim levels of many brands including Jaguar and Daimler having vinyl rooves as standard. The Jensen Interceptor, Lotus Elite and Rolls Royce Silver Shadow all had them as an option. The 4.2 was only ever offered with carburretors but the V12 got fuel injection in 1975. Jaguar had intended to offer the V12 with fuel injection from the outset in 1971 but Brico had cancelled its plan to produce a suitable system. Jaguar worked with Lucas to modify Bosch's Jetronic system so that it was suitable for 12 cylinders as it was only developed to work with 8. The fuel injected V12 had a stated 285bhp at 5,750rpm an improvement on the 241bhp at 5,750rpm of the carburetted version. In November 1975 Autocar tested an XJ5.3C and found it to be 21% more economical than the carburretor equipped (and heavier) XJ12 they had tested earlier. Still 13.8mpg vs 11.4mpg is little to shout about. This is said to have increased range from 200 to 270 miles on two full tanks of 20 gallons. In reality I've never got more than 240 from my car though. In April 1977 the gearbox on V12 engine's was changed to the General Motors Turbo Hydramatic 400 which replaced the Borg Warner Model 12. To tell the difference between a car equipped with the GM rather than the BW is a wider distance to travel between 'P' and 'R'. Jaguar is said to have carried out some re-engieering on the GM 400 as in its standard form it was more suited to low revving V8s and could not reliably accept the torque, power and revs of the V12.