Oh kitty, what have you gotten yourself into this time? I fear that you’ve now used up all nine of your lives and this will finally be it for you. However, there’s always hope that someone will come along and convince the owner here to set you free to roam the fancy neighborhoods another day. But it’s more likely that just some of your organs and other internal bits might live on, after all, much of you is shared with every other one of your general breed out there.
Wyoming isn’t a locale normally associated with V-12 engined Jaguars, so I was a little shocked to see this here, especially since I’d entirely forgotten that the XJ40 generation of the big Jaguar actually was available that way. Then again, there are more wealthy ranching, oil, and mining folk here than you’d perhaps imagine so maybe this has been up here its entire life.
I’ll forgive myself though, since even though the XJ40 was on offer in the United States from 1988 through 1994, the V-12 was only available for that final 1994 model year and internally known as the XJ81. Total production for the States ended up at 1,565 units. Since we have not featured this model previously that I am aware of, it’s not getting any easier to find them curbside, so this may end up the only time one is featured.
This particular one is one of the earliest, produced in February of 1993. These were also introduced to the world that same exact month at the Amsterdam Auto Show, so it was likely shipped over here shortly thereafter and then sold as an early 1994, I’ve seen references to a 1993.25 model year in Jaguar Heritage paperwork which this pretty much is, but not as far as the US authorities are concerned, the R in the 10 position makes it a 1994.
The full numbers produced for the US version seem to be five in 1991 (likely engineering or evaluation prototypes), then 39 in December 1992, 1121 in 1993 (the bulk including this one) and a final 400 in 1994. Rest-Of-World examples numbered another 1,325 and and Daimler Double Six variant numbered a surprisingly large 1,203. Of all of those, only 141 were long wheelbase examples. For reference there were a total of 208,733 of this bodystyle produced for worldwide consumption when adding up all variants and pre-production models as well dating back to 1983 of which 3,733 or 1.8% of that total had a V-12.
This one, as with all of the US versions, was based on the short (standard) wheelbase model. And the color here is just Black, as likely a good number of them were. As you can see, I’ve at this point exhausted the exterior angles that show nothing missing, here a rear door has either given itself to another car or arrived here without. Never mind that, it’s but a flesh wound, luv.
The basic car is of course XJ40, already covered in great detail here by William Stopford. And to most people that’s exactly how they will identify this one, there is very little to give away that it’s a bit more pedigreed than that commoner. The gold growler up front is probably the most obvious clue (besides the XJ12 badge on the back) but some of these types of items get used in other variants as well when sold elsewhere, the black grille inserts are supposedly different here as well but seem to have been used on others too, if perhaps not the US XJ40. But enough school lecture, let’s lift the bonnet!
Hinged at the front, it pops up easily and actually stays upright, the hydraulic lifter things still holding it up after all these years. Normally the inline six already looks like it takes up a lot of space in here, but the V-12 sucks up all of the extra room and then some.
The 6.0liter puts out 301hp and 334lb-ft of buttery smooth power, which back in 1993 was quite impressive and made it the most powerful sedan in Jaguar’s history according to their brochure. Of course on this engine there are various electronic bits that can and do fail and with the low production numbers are either expensive, unavailable, or make people rely on used pieces to keep their cars going. It isn’t altogether uncommon to see XJ40s in junkyards, and V-12 engines aren’t unseen either, but are most often in the XJ-S model, often with a shockingly low odometer reading.
Circling around the back shows more stuff missing, the paint clearcoat has started to fail from sitting outside in the strong Wyoming sun, and from this perspective it’s all a bit of a mess.
These are the correct wheels for at least the early models of this car, and don’t look anything particularly special at first or second (or any) glance either. Tires in this case were Goodyear Eagles in 225/60-16 with date codes from the year 2000, so someone probably replaced the first set of tires and then this is that first and only set of replacements, it’s likely this car has been sitting for over a decade.
Here’s the center cap for that wheel. Here, kitty, kitty! It’s plastic if you must know.
The trunk is quite large and yes there is a little rust in there. British cars will apparently start to rust after some time if exposed to the elements, who knew, I’m assuming the trunk lid has been gone for some time.
But I know that rear end was getting you down, so this should brighten anyone’s spirits, leather, wood, ooh, Daddy likes! Yes, the airbag wheel is a touch too much of the modern and rather spoils the mood but such is progress. The brochure talks about this car having dual airbags but perhaps that didn’t include these early production ones as there does not seem to be one on the passenger side.
The driver’s seat looks properly posh as well, piping is a wonderful thing and used to good effect here. The handbrake is in a good spot for rapid application but I wonder if it gets in the way of one’s thigh.
Power seat controls are on the side of the console, the HVAC is an interesting automatic version with dial controls, cassettes were still a thing although CDs were well into their popular phase when this was made (likely there was a CD changer in the trunk), and of course here is the famous and ever-so-controversial at its introduction J-gate shifter. Note the two D settings at the bottom and then the lower gears on the left side for those named Nigel Shiftright that can’t keep their string-backed gloves off the shifter and prefer to do it themselves. Of course underneath this is connected to a GM 4L80E four speed transmission. I have to wonder what the cost of that part was with a Jaguar part number on it vs. from a Chevy dealer or elsewhere as it was used in a number of GM vehicles.
The gauges are easy to read if a little on the plain side. At least there’s a full set but no way for us to read the mileage. Note that Premium Unleaded Fuel is required.
The XJ40 got a lot of press for its early “electronic dash” with the multi-button trip computer for example integrated into the surround here. The other side also features similar. Note the cruise control panel with the little actuator flap on the right side.
Jumping around to the passenger side shows that a little better right at the top left. The transmission also has a Sport/Normal rocker switch that was likely never used.
Only the poors use vanity mirrors in the sun visors. The proper way is to open the glovebox, move the little white spring-loaded button to the right and watch a real mirror pop up from the inside next to the (of course) chromed hinge.
Those two air filters are actual Jaguar items with their logo and part number but also the OEM supplier’s Mann Filter script on them, still someone cared enough to get the right items. Or their dealer did at the last service and charged them accordingly. There are also various bits from the door handle assembly down here and a golf ball of the Precept brand. I wasn’t sure if it was any good so googled it and it turns out that it’s rated a very good “bang for the buck” ball, but I suck at golf so it’s irrelevant to me.
If you squint a little or a lot, then yes, this for sure looks like a comfortable way to drive home after spending a minimum of $71,750 on one in 1993 or 1994. For reference a Camry XLE V6 Automatic (the fat one) based at $22,188 at the same time, not that I am in any way comparing this to a ’93 Camry even though I think this junkyard has one of those too.
These got the two-seat back bench (musn’t touch thighs!), overall I believe this is pretty much the same interior as the mid-range Vanden Plas model got over here, although it’s a little hard to see with half the car’s pieces including the heretofore unseen rear bumper crowding the space. The trunk mat’s also in here (and probably worth a fortune).
A couple of door panels and assorted other trim is also stuffed in here, this looks like either a long term operation wherein perhaps there was an issue with the door latches and the rear end or something and then it all snowballed out of control for someone. Either way, an unfortunate situation, but I can’t see a V-12 Jaguar of this or any similar vintage making it through more than perhaps at most three owners while in running and fully functional condition.
Lovely. As cramped as the back seat is in this, that kind of makes up for it.
The car sits here facing east, and from here to its birthplace of Coventry, England is exactly 4521 miles as the crow flies. At least it can see the sun come up in the mornings, and then slumber contentedly through the afternoons. In any case, this was likely an unexpected celebration of this cat, uh, car worth a purr or two from it.