Chevy V8 Power! 1976 Jaguar XJ6 Coupé

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You might see a Jaguar XJ Coupé once for every 5000 XJ sedans on the road, and this sunburned example in Palmdale, California is even more rare due to a transplanted Chevy V8. According to the listing here on eBay, the seller’s father purchased the dry-climate Jag from the family that bought it new, and drove it occasionally but never fulfilled his dream of restoring the rare Coupé. Jaguar made fewer than 9400 two-doors XJs across model years 1975-1978, according to Wikipedia. The car “runs, drives, and shifts” according to the description, and while at least seven bidders have considered taking ownership, the current high bid, just over $4000, does not meet the seller’s “low reserve.”

Reading the description, I would have suspected a mid-’70s looking stock 350 cid (5.7L), or even a 305 (5.0L) V8, but at least the intake parts and finned valve covers suggest a Corvette donor, and most hacks wouldn’t have bothered with air conditioning, so count the presence of an AC compressor as a good omen too.

While outdoor storage has punished the paint, vinyl top, and the now-cracked dashboard, most of the interior looks passable. Let’s face it; the Chevy V8 ruins this car as a respectable classic, so why not spend the minimum to make it safe and drive the wheels off it? I believe the XJ also had an independent rear suspension, providing a far more sophisticated combination of ride and handling than the live axles in most American cars of the period, which can ride or handle well, but never both.

My late father owned an XJ8, and the seats were as soft and inviting as they come. Once, after his battery went dead from lack of use, I jump-started it and went for a drive. On an empty stretch of two-lane blacktop, slightly damp from a recent shower, I decided to charge the battery by power-braking the V8 Jag into a rather satisfying burnout. I believe this car would be perfect for such antics. With cheap and ridiculous power available from (SBC) Small-Block Chevy bolt-ons and crate motors, I’d want at least 300 HP before spending a dime on a paint job on this potential sleeper. Would you call this as a Jaguar for Chevy-lovers or a stealthy weapon for evil Jaguar fans?

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  1. alphasudMember

    I so like the lines of the XJC over the sedan. Shame it has the 350ish engine. I guess finding one that hasn’t been modified is even more rare it seems. I bet the paint would come back to life for the most part to make it a budget cruiser. Interior is a lot nicer that the exterior suggests. Refinish the timber and feed the seats. Yea I’m liking this car! Maybe get rid of the chunky bumpers in favor of pre 73 or euro bumpers. I guess I would need to drive it to see how the V8 performs in the chassis and yes it has the IRS which is what makes these nice drivers. The fact that it runs and drives means it can be transported by car carrier so that’s a plus but it would still cost me another $1800 to get it.

    Like 8
    • Bmac BmacMember

      I did this with a sedan. It actually performs very well with the minor problem of the v8 actually being lighter then the original 6 make it necessary to do suspension adjustments in the front (notice the front end height on this one). Once done, my handled & rode like it should.
      I believe all you have to is remove the bumper extensions and you have pre gov. bumpers.
      I like you would like to have this coupe, if not being on the wrong side of country.
      One other thing I’d change is if it was a 305 I’d pull it!

      Like 6
  2. SMS

    My conserns with Jags is the interior and rust. If no rust, wood is good, and leather is uncracked, needing fed I would consider it. I really like inline six motors so would want to drop in a 4.2 fuel injected lump and rub out the paint. The roof, would have to think hard. Maybe two tone, don’t care for the stock toupee.

    Like 0
  3. SubGothius

    Always wanted to see one of these restomodded with a modern Jag engine, preferably a straight-six like the 4.0L AJ6 or AJ16, or even the supercharged AJ16S from an XJR. Since this one’s already lost its original mill, would be a good candidate for that.

    Like 2
  4. Chris Webster

    In the 80s, Road & Track had a “Ten Best Used Cars”. The XJ 6 article commented “beware of cars that have SBC conversions”. Next issue there were four rebuttals. Mostly: better mileage/ no overheating/ a decent transmission/ lighter. There’s no downside as far as I’m concerned.

    Like 10
  5. Dave

    It’s rare because it runs. The ad doesn’t say which transmission it has, but if it’s a turbo 350 I’d switch it to a 700R4.

    Like 3
    • Robert White

      I had a 700R4 in my 81 GMC 2500. Great transmission and bullet proof too.


      Like 0
  6. Tom

    I have heard that the nifty swap to rid even later problem Jags of expensive mechanical whoas is an LS swap! Of course! 6 litres LS?
    Why not!!

    Like 0
  7. Tony Goalie

    I owned an XJ6 sedan for quite a long time. In my experience, the Jaguar engine & transmission were pretty much bulletproof. Having said that, I’d still like to own this one!

    Like 1
  8. Lowell Peterson

    Saved by transplant! Thats what makes it great. Its about where it has to be on price. Best project on BF recently IMHO!

    Like 0
  9. jerry z

    I prefer this coupe over the XJS12. Unfortunately these coupes are hard to find.

    Like 2
    • Frank

      I agree and think this is one of the best fun swaps out there.

      Like 0
  10. Frank

    Contact Roadkill for a sale.

    Like 0
  11. Campbell L Usher

    Very common engine swap in Australia , I had a 1976 Daimler Double Six (XJ12L) with a Chev 350 , it was very fast , I know where there’s an XJC V12 too , not far from me for $2000 but very rusty , rust & expensive to repair are the big problems sadly

    Like 0
  12. TouringFordor

    John’s Cars has been making this swap for years.

    Like 0

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