XJC.COM.AU - The XJC Story

  The Website dedicated to the XJC -
  Jaguar and Daimler XJ Coupes


The XJC Story

The XJC is a two door version of the XJ6 four door saloon. When Sir William Lyons began styling exercises for the new XJ models in the mid 1960’s, it was obvious that he had notions of a two door coupe in mind for eventual production. Many of these early styling mock-ups were based on the coupe theme in various shapes, forms and sizes, and the XJC was the last Jaguar car to be designed and built by Sir William Lyons.

In 1969, he took a reject 2.8 litre RHD XJ6 body shell (to become #1 Prototype) and fashioned it into the XJC. It was tried with both 4.2 and 5.3 engines with both versions becoming known as XJ33 or XJ34, depending on which engine was fitted at the time. Automatic and manual gearboxes were also tested with both engines.

This number one prototype was supposed to be scrapped but somehow it escaped the crushers. After spending a few years in England it has been fully restored and now resides in Western Australia.

First drawings of the XJC - note
the very thin rear pillar which
was quickly changed.

XJ33/XJ34 lovingly restored to its
former glory. After spending a few
years in the English rain, it now
resides in WA.

The full story on the 1969 Prototype XJC is HERE

However, the Jaguar public would have to wait until the introduction of the Series ll models, and well into this series, before production XJCs could be seen. They were first shown in September and October of 1973 at the London, Paris and Frankfurt Motor Shows.

At these shows it was announced that both the 4.2 litre (6 cylinder) and 5.3 litre (12 cylinder) versions would be available for the 1974 model year. However, production was delayed until the 1975 model year due to a combination of labour disputes at the Brown’s Lane factory and engineering troubles with the XJC itself. Prior to going into production about 20 prototypes were hand built in a combination of RHD and LHD. 1973 was the busiest year with 14 of these hand built specials being produced, 8 in LHD and 6 in RHD.

This is prototype chassis #3 on display
at Browns Lane with Lofty England and
some proud Jaguar factory workers.

Monkey see..... monkey do......
inside view of the pulley system
which operates the rear window.

The two door coupe is based on the shorter wheelbase XJ Series l platform. Without the central window pillars the coupe body suffered from two main problems, these being structural rigidity and severe wind noise. The widening and strengthening of the rear window pillar overcame the rigidity problem. The wind noise problem was due to a low pressure area forming in the window area.

This tended to pull the front side windows outward and away from the sealing surfaces mounted on the rear side windows. Jaguar remedied the problem with an ingenious pulley and cable system that pressed the front windows inward toward the seals. This ingenious pulley system was nicknamed ‘Monkey Climb’ by its designer and Jaguars Chief Engineer at the time, Cyril Crouch. Nevertheless, the result is a car that although not as quiet as a regular saloon, is still reasonably quiet.

When the XJ coupes arrived, they were clearly meant to be the sporty version of the XJ models. In the UK, Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia they were offered in four versions: Jaguar 4.2C; Jaguar 5.3C; Daimler Sovereign and the Daimler Double Six.

In the North American market, XJC's were only offered in two forms and were badged as the Jaguar XJ6C and Jaguar XJ12C. Daimler XJCs were never imported into the US.

Announcing the new Jaguar XJC as
'The Corporate Sports Car'
was how the XJC was 
marketed to North America

This is Andrew Whyte's former coupe, 
the only XJC that left the factory with 
no vinyl roof....now residing in 
New South Wales Australia.

The V12 XJCs came standard with fuel injection (except for some prototypes, early production models). All North American XJC models came with air conditioning and automatic transmissions as standard equipment, as well as chromed disc wheels, white wall tyres and leather faced seating. Another basic difference between the two markets was the bumper bars. North America had large rubber bumper bars to comply with crash regulations, whilst the rest of the world had the full chrome bumpers.

In the UK market, air conditioning and a manual transmission were optional, as were the choice of leather or cloth seats. All coupes were equipped with a black vinyl roof as standard equipment, except for the one that was specially produced for Jaguars Andrew Whyte. The actual reason for the standard vinyl roof was not clear, but contrary to urban legend it was not because there was a welded seam in the roof!

Most likely it was because the marketing folks insisted on it, as vinyl roofs were the flavour of the month in the automotive industry at that time. Whatever the case, many present day owners have chosen to remove this feature.

XJCs are extremely well proportioned while the styling of the pillarless coupe gives a sense of ‘openness’ that is often associated with a convertible.

The shorter wheelbase also gives the car an incredible balanced appearance and somehow feels quite smaller than the longer wheelbase four door cars, when in fact it is only four inches shorter.

From any angle the XJC
is gorgeous - but the side
view is really breath-taking.

Convertible XJC's can
been seen worldwide. 
This one was at a
National Jaguar Rally 
In Sydney, Australia.

This is the one and only
Daimler Vanden Plas
Double Six XJC. Seen here
at an All British Display
Day in Germany a few
years ago.

The doors are large and heavy with each door weighing around 200Ibs. Rear seating is spacious behind these large doors, and the front bucket seats fold forward allowing access to the rear seat compartment. This arrangement will seat four adults, and if an open-air experience is more to your liking, then you might prefer a convertible XJC. A number coach building companies (Avon-Stevens and Lynx in the UK for example), as well as some private individuals produced a modified XJC in convertible form.

Sadly the production of the XJC was all too short. After commencement in 1975 the last of these great vehicles rolled off the line in November 1977. The final 96 coupes were actually badged as 1978 cars - for whatever reason is anybody’s guess. The XJC was a victim of the times and was never really given the attention or backing it deserved.

Paradoxically this has helped the XJC to become the rare collectible classic it is today, although prices have never reached the dizzy heights achieved by the E Type. It remains one of, if not the best value for money classic cars available today. To this day, the XJC is Jaguars only two-door fixed head coupe saloon.

XJC Production Figures

There has been, and it seems there will always be, conjecture about the exact number of XJ Coupes produced and sold between 1975 and 1978, with total production estimates ranging from between 10,400 to 10,488.

The following numbers are from the book, "Jaguar - A Living Legend", by Anders Ditlev Clausager and include right and left hand drive models. Anders, the Chief Archivist at Jaguar Cars, sourced the following figures with the help of Ian Luckett and Richard Chillingsworth from Jaguar Cars Limited.

Jaguar 4.2C: 6,487
Jaguar 5.3C: 1,855
Daimler Sovereign: 1,677
Daimler Double Six: 407
Total production: 10,426

Nigel Thorley also gave the same production figures in his book, “Original Jaguar XJ”. So it should be safe to say that these figures are probably the most accurate. One Jaguar 5.3 coupe from the list was sent to receive the full Daimler Vanden Plas treatment. It remains the only Daimler Vanden Plas Double Six XJC ever produced, and it carries the original Jaguar chassis plates: 2G50002.

XJC Production by Year

Model 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 Totals
Jaguar4.2C 2 1 2925 1746 1776 37 6487
Jaguar5.3C   11 821 663 329 31 1855
Daimler Sovereign     471 587 613 6 1677
Daimler Double Six    1 76 149 159 22 407
TOTALS 2 13 4293 3145 2877 96 10426


XJC - The Australian Story is HERE