Magazine Rewind: CAR, August 1977 – Jaguar XJ5.3C To The Danube And Budapest


CAR magazine had a great tradition of long drive stories. Alongside the scoop features, supercar drives and frank, to the point of blunt, reviews and summaries of many cars, these helped the magazine stand out in the 1960s and 1970s. I caught up with it in the mid 1970s, and remember this one well.

The premise, as often in such stories, was very simple. Was the V12 Jaguar XJ as good as the magazine suspected for a long distance grand touring trip?

Find out by driving to Budapest and Lake Balaton in Hungary, around 1000 miles from Coventry, behind the Iron Curtain.

Impressive cruising abilities and efficient air conditioning, as well as better than expected fuel economy, are early takeaways. As the journey progresses, the car is paid less attention as the landscape and people take precedence, as you’d expect.

The return journey was slightly more complicated – I’ll let you read the full story, but not just for pausing to test the BMW 733.


The overall conclusion makes interesting reading – a great grand tourer if you afford the fuel, let done by bought in components and the limits of the long distance customer support network. But in great demand, and I’d have one now. Wouldn’t you?