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