1986 Jaguar XJ6 front

Our newest project car – Meet The Jag

I’ve been eyeing old Jaguars for some time now. An open browser window had two to three tabs dedicated to work and possibly 15-20 more relegated to various vehicles I’ve found listed for sale. There isn’t a specific era of Jaguar I’m after but I know I want a sedan, which means I’m after an XJ. And I found one. I couldn’t wait any longer so I bought it. This is my 1986 Jaguar XJ6… and it does not have an inline-six under the hood.

1986 Jaguar XJ6 v8 swap

Years ago, someone owned this Jaguar and decided to ditch the 4.2-liter I6 that lived in the engine bay. This process was started back in 2000. Based on paperwork I have with the car, it seems the XJ had around 70,000 or so miles when the decision was made to swap the engine. The work was done by a shop down in Escondido, as were later repairs to the rear… though that honestly may have just been a brake job for the rear brakes, since they’re inboard. What we have in the engine bay now is a 5.7-liter V8 likely plucked from a Corvette. It appears to be an L98 TPI engine. That means it likely makes around 230 horsepower or so and around 330 lb-ft of torque. It is backed up by a GM Hydramatic gearbox, which is what comes in Jaguar XJs of this era. So the gearbox could be original to the car. I’ll have to do more digging. More importantly though this car has something not original to it and I don’t mean the engine:

That would be the California BAR sticker, which means this thing is smog legal.

It’s in solid shape overall. The car is definitely a 10-footer in that it presents well from a few feet away and then as you get closer you can see the paint has crow’s feet all through it. I’m going to get it detailed to see how much of that paint cleans up with some work. From there, the plans are to go through it and find any immediate issues. I’d like to clean up the wiring under the hood, remove the aftermarket alarm that was installed at some point, figure out the weird click-type noise I hear from the front over bumps, and have the transmission adjusted as it occasionally shifts weird or tries to climb right to the highest gear too quickly. There’s also a rip in the front passenger seat and that window doesn’t go down. Otherwise, this car is ready to cruise.

1986 Jaguar XJ6 interior

1986 Jaguar XJ6 rear

1986 Jaguar XJ6 gauges

1986 Jaguar XJ6 shifter

I’m excited for this one. A cushy sedan has been high on my list to own ever since I sold my ’74 Benz. And this fits that bill perfectly. I’ve also been missing a V8 ever since selling the F100, and again that box has been checked. My plan is to upgrade, fix, and drive this until the Wombat is done. So I’ll either drive it for another year or until the end of time. So far though, I love it. The doors shut with a satisfying and heavy thunk. At some point a Nardi steering wheel was swapped in and fits the car perfectly. The speakers sound great, I will have to check if they’ve been upgraded but I’m going to swap out the aftermarket Pioneer tape deck for something that allows me to pair my phone. There was a mystery tape discovered though, and the music on it is… hilariously perfect for the car:

The air blows cold, three out of four windows roll down, and the sunroof works too. That’s pretty good for an old Jag, no? Now I just need help thinking of a proper plate for this one. I don’t think DUHKAR can be topped, sadly. And no the Montero isn’t going anywhere. I’ve sunk far too much into that one to ever be able to sell it.

Next for the Jaguar, besides the fixes I’ve mentioned above, are a set of wheels and tires as I’ve got a line on gold BBS basket weaves that originally came off a Jaguar from this era. I’ve ordered a set of yellow-lens 5 3/4″ lights for the driving lamps in the nose. And I apparently need to order some sort of pipe and a flat cap…

1986 Jaguar XJ6 interior

1986 Jaguar XJ6 interior

1986 Jaguar XJ6 fuel tank switch

1986 Jaguar XJ6 shifter

1986 Jaguar XJ6 center console

1986 Jaguar XJ6 steering wheel

1986 Jaguar XJ6 nardi

1986 Jaguar XJ6 door panel

1986 Jaguar XJ6 gauge

1986 Jaguar XJ6 back seat

1986 Jaguar XJ6 back seat

1986 Jaguar XJ6 engine

1986 Jaguar XJ6 engine bay

1986 Jaguar XJ6 radiator

1986 Jaguar XJ6 engine

1986 Jaguar XJ6 v8 swap

1986 Jaguar XJ6 engine v8 swap

1986 Jaguar XJ6 rear

1986 Jaguar XJ6 rear

1986 Jaguar XJ6 rear

1986 Jaguar XJ6 rear

1986 Jaguar XJ6 front

1986 Jaguar XJ6 leaper

1986 Jaguar XJ6 wheels

1986 Jaguar XJ6 front

1986 Jaguar XJ6 front

1986 Jaguar XJ6 front side

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23 responses to “Our newest project car – Meet The Jag”

  1. OA5599 Avatar
    OA5599

    XJL98 fits on a license plate. Or LA L98 in reference to the Jag in the opening credits of the hit 1986 TV show. https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-la-law-tv-la-law-alt-poster-llaw-031-29378014.html

    Great find. Enjoy.

  2. mdharrell Avatar
    mdharrell

    “Now I just need help thinking of a proper plate for this one.”

    Given the engine swap, is “EX J6′” already taken?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Hmm, that’s not bad!

    2. OA5599 Avatar
      OA5599

      Or a motorcycle plate, SMV 16, placed on top of the larger plate already in place.

    3. Lokki Avatar
      Lokki

      How about JAGV8R ?

  3. Maymar Avatar
    Maymar

    Moreso than the pipe and flat cap, with those flags on the back, you should get a captain’s hat and a cravat, go full Thurston Howell III.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar
    Sjalabais

    I applaud your new camera almost as much as the Jag, gorgeous photos! 230 hp out of a 5.7 liter engine suggests there is…eh…room for more oomph. Is that something you think of? I’m sure you know just the right guy with a bunch of compressors and turbos lying around waiting to get used again.

    In related big-black-car-news…my Centennial was to go through tech inspection today, alas, my mechanic informed me this is not happening this week anyway. Sad face. But every time you mention the Wombat, it kind of comforts me that sometimes, asking for help can just take its time. And that’s fine, as long as the results make you happy.

    1. OA5599 Avatar
      OA5599

      I think there is a very narrow gap between doing anything to improve the very restrictive stock breathing, and doing something that jeopardizes the legality in California. The LT1 was a big performance step forwards from this, and even that’s been left in the dirt for a quarter century by the LS crowd, so many CARB-approved L98 performance parts have vanished from the marketplace.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        Oh, that makes sense…it’s a shame though, if people tickle 500 hp out of 3 litre engines in Europe, it shouldn’t even be that hard to get to 400 with that one.

        Btw, “Super Start Extreme” is the most American sounding car battery I can think of. And the Instagram video link is set in a way that doesn’t allow viewing without logging in.

        1. Maymar Avatar
          Maymar

          On the other hand, an old GM V8 would have a power band much closer to a big diesel engine than a 500hp 3L engine. Big, lazy, and wafty is perfectly fine in an application like this (plus, at a ~50hp bump over stock, it’ll be plenty quick for a 35 year old car).

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Compared to my Montero, this thing is a rocketship, so I’m happy haha

    3. Neight428 Avatar
      Neight428

      300-350 hp is really easy for that engine if you want to go that way. As it sits though, it will be more than adequate. The stock torque on that application made it much quicker than what we think about in 230 hp cars today.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        The other thing that matters is weight, or lack of it. With the V8 instead of the heavy six, it probably weighs about as much as a current Malibu or Fusion. They go ok with 200-250 Hp.

    4. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Thanks for the camera note – very happy with the A7SIII so far.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        You need to get rid of the silly rubbing strips on the side, and change the XJ6 badge for an XJ8 one. They are great looking cars.

        1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
          Jeff Glucker

          The black trim on the doors? Yeah good call. The XJ8 badge idea isn’t bad, but I like the idea of the XJ6 sitting there and it not sounding anything like an I6.

  5. Neight428 Avatar
    Neight428

    How about “XJROC-Z”?

  6. Zentropy Avatar
    Zentropy

    Very cool. Any sound bites? Like to hear that thing idling and/or accelerating.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Soon – need to wash it and do a video intro, which I’ll stuff a GoPro down by the pipes.

  7. Batshitbox Avatar
    Batshitbox

    The guys in the garage next door to the British motorcycle shop I used to “work” in had an older Jag with an SBC in it. One day one of our customers showed up in his Sunbeam Tiger and I enthusiastically advocated for a drag race between the two.

    Boy, what a look on that guy’s face. Like I just asked him what brand of penguin urine he used in his breakfast cereal.

    Anyway, Happy Tiger Hunting, Jeff!

    1. mdharrell Avatar
      mdharrell

      In college a friend had a TR6 with a Buick V6. Loads of fun but it kept breaking the mounting ears off the bell housing thanks to some issue that was never properly resolved. Finding and swapping new ones got old fast.

  8. Lokki Avatar
    Lokki

    It’s, it’s so BEAUTIFUL!

  9. Paul E Avatar
    Paul E

    Until the Wombat is done? This means that the Jag is yours, for life… In all reality, yours looks pretty well sorted, and it shouldn’t disintegrate into piles of rust, being a California car. I also joined the project Jag league last fall, with an X350 bodied XJ8. Love the car, even when it shows its project-ness.

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