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Parking Lot Sighting: 1971 Jaguar XJ6 2.8

Back in 2015, we featured a GTO Judge Convertible barn find that Reader GW had found. Well, he just came across another interesting find and while this one isn’t a muscle car or found in a barn, it’s still a good one! He took one of our recent recommendations to get out and hunt, while still practicing social distancing, and that’s when he spotted this early Jaguar XJ6 sitting behind a repair shop. What really caught his attention was the 2.8 badge on the back of it, so he decided to take a closer look and was amazed to discover lots of features not found on XJ6s that were destined for the US market. He decided to snap some photos to share with the rest of the Barn Finds Community! I’ll let him tell you more about his sighting as it has unfolded.

From GW 4/26/2020 – I noticed this early Series 1 Jaguar XJ6 sitting behind a repair shop, what really caught my attention was the 2.8 badge on the back. US models have the 4.2. Up close, I thought I would find that it was a Euro-spec Daimler, not a Jaguar. You can also see the Daimler style trunk center handle as the XJ6 had a larger type handle. It’s left-hand drive and the steering wheel has the Jaguar Cat, not the D for Daimler which is more confusing. I’ll go back Monday for more photos. Since the hood is unlatched, I’ll take a photo of the data plate, the shifter, and clutch pedals. Oh, it has crank windows which I’ve never seen on any US-spec Jaguar ever. To top it off, the thing has a 4-speed manual transmission and it sure looks factory. I took a few quick photos as I didn’t want to stick around the guy’s parking lot. Although I don’t think it’s for sale, I did leave a note asking if it is. The car looks solid as most early XJ6-XJ12 models rusted out in the rocker panels and floors. Have you ever seen a manual transmission XJ6 or Euro-spec Daimler? With social distancing in effect, I didn’t want to knock on the shop door although the place looked closed down anyway due to the crisis. I wish I could tell you more about the car but one thing is for sure, this is not just an ordinary Jag. Enjoy.

From 4/27/2020 12:26 – Good afternoon. So I went back this morning and took more photos. Someone was in the shop who came outside to see if he could help me. Fortunately, he was polite and kept his distance. I told him I was admiring the car, so he gave me the scoop. It is a gray market 71 XJ6 2.8 factory 4 speed with an overdrive switch on the shifter. No manual transmission XJ6s were available in the US. The car was sold new in Germany which now explains the left-hand drive. It has a German Becker original AM-FM radio and the data plates are in German. It has Lucus euro flat headlights if you look closely along with the ling euro type license plate frame. The underbody looks surprisingly solid. The Interior is rough. I didn’t see AC. The paint looks like a good polish will bring it up. Also, it has the Euro-type rims which I noticed on Friday. Although it’s not for sale, he was nice enough to tell me to come back sometime and he will put in a good battery, as it does run. I like it more and more. The main reason he bought the car was due to the 4 speed as he never saw one before. I’ll report if he gets it running. I did smell stale gas.

From 4/27/2020 12:26 –The guy called me 30 minutes ago. He got it running so I’m here now listening to it. Besides the completely blown out exhaust, it sounds healthy, no smoke and good oil pressure! If he decides to sell it, I’ll tell him to contact the Barn Finds to list it. I need another car like I need a Duck. Hopefully, someone will appreciate and save this rare bird. He was saying he hopes to someday get around to doing something with the car. Famous words often spoken.

While we wouldn’t ask or encourage anyone to approach someone about their car in the current situation, it sounds like GW had a great time talking with the owner of the Jaguar. And that’s what is so amazing about the classic car hobby, no matter the situation, we all love to share our finds and car stories. Part of why he sent it in was to see if the Barn Finds community could tell him more about these early Euro-spec XJ6s. So, what do you think of GW’s sighting?

Have you come across a cool find? What about a classic you’ve never seen before and want to learn more about? Snap some photos of it and send them to us via mail@barnfinds.com and we will share them with the Barn Finds Community!


  1. doone

    Triumph Stags had a similar shifter with that o/d electric switch but their engines were Ford 289’s and I seem to remember that the switch controlled a 2 spd rear differential. Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    Like 8
    • David Skinner

      “The switch controlled a 2 spd rear differential.”

      on Triumphs and MGs, the switch controlled a Laycock overdrive unit mounted in the tail shaft of the transmission. Very similar to a Borg Warner overdrive built here in the states.

      Since the switch is identical (and Laycock was an English firm), I’m guessing this Jag uses the same system.

      Like 9
      • bill cawley

        The Triumph Stag 4 speed manual transmission had either a A or J-type Laycock electric solenoid shifted overdrive, fitted as a the tail-stock.

        Like 2
    • CCFisher

      Triumph Stags used a 3.0L Triumph V8, an engine with a tarnished reputation.

      Like 10
    • Paul T Root

      Triumph Stags did not have a Ford 289. It had a V8 that was related to the slant 4 of the TR7. It had lots of problems with overheating.

      Search for it and you will get the first hit with a title of ‘Triumph’s V8: The worst engine ever made’ .

      Like 5
  2. ACB

    The 2.8 XK was created because of European regulations at the time. Engines under 2.8L were taxed less than larger units which is why many manufacturers offered sixes around that size (Ford V6, Fiat 130, Mercedes-Benz 280, Citroen SM, BMW 2.8 et al). The 2.8 XK wasn’t popular, lacking the power and torque characteristics for something the weight of the XJ and was replaced with a 3.4 when the S2 XJ was introduced.

    Like 10
  3. Solosolo UK ken tilly UK Member

    We had these in South Africa but where I lived, in Durban, where we often had 105% humidity, the Indian Ocean soon converted them to rust buckets. A lady friend of mine had one from new and I used to get to drive it when it needed attention and I loved it, until I opened the vent window on the front door via the large round knob that can be seen in the pics, and then the wind created a pretty violent drumming inside the car.

    Like 5
  4. chasr

    Yes, the electric switch controlled a solenoid to engage the overdrive on the tail of the gearbox. I had one. It was originally in Canada, but I bought the tranny, pedal box, driveshaft, etc., and installed it in my ’71 XJ6 with a hypo 4.2 engine. The only problem is there is no room to the left of the clutch pedal for the “dead pedal” space to rest your foot when not operating the clutch.
    Other than that, a 3.54 rear end with manual box, then an overdrive, made the car a lot of fun to drive. It would surprise a lot of folks how quick the car was.

    Like 4
  5. Dion

    Just a European Jaguar. That rear boot handle is normal for the early cars. However it is not that early since it is missing its chrome rings around the speedo and tach.
    If I were on the lookout for a S1 Jaguar, I would dismiss this one as it is the least interesting. Low on power and no luxury (no AC, no elec windows, no tinted glass, no chrome wheels). Better to find a “regular” USA spec 4.2 with auto. That would have all the options plus the auto. Manual is nice in a small car not in these heavy Jags. Only thing which is better on the European spiced cars are the bigger headlamps.

    Like 0
    • Nessy

      All the reasons you just stated Dion are exactly why this car is very special. Makes no sense. How many 4 speed Euro 2.8 XJ6 cars are discovered like this? They just don’t exist anymore. The 4.2 models are everywhere….

      Like 9
    • GW

      Dion, it’s not just a European Jaguar. The 4 speed, crank windows, the 2.8 plus it’s a Euro Spec car that lasted so long, these are exactly the reasons why the car is special. When was the last time anybody saw one? You can find the 4.2 automatics everywhere. That is not what this example is about. It’s a one of a kind.

      Like 7
  6. luke arnott

    When the XJ6 came out,in’68(?) in the UK,you did see a few of the 2.8 engined models but most opted for the 4.2.

    Like 3
  7. AlbertSpanner

    2.8 ltrs had a bad rep when they first came out as they had a tendency to burn holes in the piston this was due to incorrect factory ignition timing data and once they issued a correction there was no more problem but with the retarded ignition they were even more gutless than original. Ive had a few and theyre not a patch on a 3.4 or 4.2 cars.though if your in a flat area theyre a very comfortable cruiser

    Like 4
  8. Bill Cawley

    I do not hold any comments, positive or negative, when a big brush is used with any feeling of respect.

    “It had lots of problems with overheating. Search for it and you will get the first hit with a title of ‘Triumph’s V8: The worst engine ever made”

    Also, the slant 4 is related to the V8, not as stated “V8 that was related to the slant 4”.

    Like 0
  9. Miguel

    The Jeep side marker lights look out of place where the reverse lenses should be.

    Like 0
  10. Don

    Those reversing lamp lenses are the yellow / amber version originally fitted to cars sold in France.

    Like 0

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