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Diplomatic Ties: 1980 Jaguar XJ6 RHD

It can be pretty hard to be critical of a seller when they open their listing with the following words: “Who is up for a bad decision today? I’m here to help with that.” Those ominous words don’t fill a person with confidence, so it’s worth taking a look to see if things are as bad as they seem to suggest with this Jaguar XJ6. The Jaguar is located in Santa Rosa, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you feel like taking on a classic British luxury car, this one can be yours for $1,500.

I tend to agree with the owner that the body of the Cobalt Blue XJ6 does appear to be nice and straight. Of course, the healthy layer of dust could make things a bit deceptive, but the owner states that if he has to wash it, then the price will go up! There is some rust in the vehicle, which is visible in the lower fenders, just below the distinctive “cat” badges. There is also a small amount of rust appearing around the rear wheel opening on the left-hand side of the Jag, but this also doesn’t look to be too bad. There is no information on the state of the floors, so we fly a bit blind there. One of the interesting features that the owner does highlight is the vinyl, roll-back sunroof. If this isn’t leaking at all, then it is a great feature. The owner also mentions in the listing that the XJ6 saw service at the Saudi Embassy in London, but doesn’t say whether he holds any documentation to verify this. I doubt that this would add anything to the value of the vehicle, but it wouldn’t be a bad conversation starter at a Cars & Coffee.

The owner talks about the interior being in nice condition, and I tend to agree with the fact that it would probably respond quite well to a good clean. The leather on the seats is in desperate need of some conditioner, and there are a few trim pieces (including the center of the steering wheel) that will need to be reattached. Overall though, the interior looks like an area of the car that is going to require more time and effort to bring back to life, rather than the outlaying of large amounts of money.

What is happening under the hood is one of those great unknown quantities. The original 4.2-liter straight-6 engine doesn’t currently run, and the owner doesn’t indicate whether it even turns freely. He does point out that all of the smog equipment is long gone, so the next owner may have to locate replacement items if they are intent on returning the car to the road in standard specifications. In addition to that beautiful engine, the Jaguar is fitted with a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and 4-wheel power disc brakes. One of the common upgrades that is made to Jaguars of this era is to ditch the original engine and drop a small-block Chevrolet in its place. This is quite a common change, and kits are commercially available to do this. The owner does float this as an idea, and it may well be worth considering.

As a project car, this Jaguar XJ6 is starting from a low base price, which does make it a tempting proposition. The big question with this one is just how extensive the rust is. If what we can see is the full extent of the trouble, then it might be okay. If there is much more than we can see in the photos, then I would certainly be thinking long and hard about it. If the rust can be managed though, this has the potential to be a comfortable cruiser once it is back on the road.


  1. Jay


    Like 1
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    As was said so poignantly by another Englishman,

    Like 3
  3. Bob S

    If you know why it takes a lot of money to buy a new Jag, it is because it takes double what you have to keep one running. It is a beautiful sounding engine, but electrical problems can drive you to distraction, as well as into the poor house, if you are paying a mechanic.
    I love the look of the cars, but……
    (And I should talk, I am still running a 1988 BMW 735i as a DD. Another computer car with issues)
    A sadist is a person that is kind to a masochist, I must have purchased my car from a sadist.

    Like 3
  4. Rodney - GSM

    A coughed up hairball comes to mind….

    Like 0
  5. luke arnott

    This car is registered in the UK as a 1981 model.The licence plate indicates it was first registered in Co. Down,Northern Ireland.Can’t see a Saudi connection?

    Like 2
  6. JagManBill

    I would imagine if it had a Saudi connection it would have some form of diplomatic registration or service tag. As best, we’re talking a service hack. You really think a Saudi would be seen in something as lowly as an XJ? As for electrical issues, there are no problems…unless someone thinks there is and starts playing with the wires. THEN you have an electrical problem. By 82, Jags were pretty much straightened out electrics-wise. This is probably an $800 to $1,000 dollar car at this point. IF it were LHD. Since its a RHD, knock it in half.

    Like 1
  7. BarnfindyCollins

    As much as I’m a English car guy, the Alfa Milano and Renault LeCar look more interesting.

    Like 2

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