Rare 1976 Jaguar XJC Coupe With V8 Power!

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This is a very attractive offering here on eBay in Daytona Beach, Florida, a nicely restored and rare 1976 Jaguar XJC that started life with the trouble-prone 12-cylinder engine but now has more reliable Chevrolet V8 power. The car has been bid up to $12,100, with the reserve not met.

The owner isn’t specific about the origins of the power unit, other than to say it is a tuned-port fuel-injection engine with a roller cam, big valves, Corvette aluminum heads and Jaguar-branded valve covers. The 700 R4 transmission, a/k/a the Turbo Hydra-Matic, was rebuilt, and connected to a one-piece driveshaft via a machine shop. The car also got new brakes and calipers, and the suspension and power rack-and-pinion steering were also redone.

I’ve seen New England versions of this car so definitively rotted that it’s amazing they hadn’t collapsed. But this one lived its life in West Texas, and is remarkably intact, still wearing its Signal Red original paint. One of the nicest things about the car is the interior, combining some of the original wood-and-leather with some worthwhile updating. The carpets are wool via Coverdale in England, and the new and beautifully finished wood dash (which must have cost a fortune) is by James English in Florida. The burl walnut steering wheel was also sourced from England.

The new dash was rewired, the instruments serviced with correct sending units and LEDs, and the seats all tastefully redone in beige leather with red piping. The suede headliner is new, and the power windows got new motors, switches and thermal breakers. The door seals were also replaced, and a new stereo with four speakers installed. The heater core and evaporator were also replaced, and new stainless-steel door sills await installation. Note the designation of the car as an XJ 8C–a model that never existed. Power in these cars was either the trusted twin-cam Jaguar six or the V-12.

The owner says the new motor is 400 pounds lighter than the heavy Jaguar V-12, and comes in at 3,340 pounds. On the road with regular gas, it gets 25 miles per gallon, and is rattle-free, the owner says. The Jaguar has a clear Georgia title, and all the original manuals come with the car, as well as receipts for the work done.

These Jaguar coupes were never big sellers, and are rare now. They’re also very beautiful, and this is one of the nicest examples I’ve seen. Don’t be put off by the vendor’s many spelling errors—if this work was done professionally, the new owner could snag a dependable and fun-to-drive Jaguar that’s even economical to run and a potential show winner (if they’re not sticklers for originality).

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Comments

  1. alphasudMember

    While I love the idea of a V12 my thoughts have changed after watching the XJC V12 series on Harry’s Garage. He has a beautiful example but it has cost him dearly. The small block Chevy and hydramatic combo is probably your best bet. Certainly a lot cheaper if more performance is what you are after. While this red does not pull at my heartstrings it’s still the most beautiful XJ IMHO. I think the coupe model has a lot of room to increase in value in the coming years.

    Like 15
    • Stephen

      Alphasud wrote my exact thoughts for me!! Thanks

      Like 5
    • Jeff Duncan

      I wonder what he’s asking for it.

      Like 0
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Well,,couple things, don’t bash the V12 too loudly, it was/is a fantastic motor. 2nd, I do heartily approve of this swap, not so much that I think the Yankee V8 is better, just more user friendly come tune up time. While when one says Jaguar to the layperson, the first thing is the XKE, where a V8 swap is pure blasphemy. This combines a body style just about everyone will like, cushy British interior and that dashboard,,,somebody did a really nice job here.

    Like 10
    • Terrry

      Basically, they turned this Jag into what a Jag should be..light, luxurious and fast.

      Like 0
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        Weren’t they already all those things?

        Like 1
  3. Terrry

    Any mod these days that can lop 400 lbs off a vehicle is practically worth it right there, especially with a car as basically nice as a Jaguar.

    Like 0
  4. C Force

    What a well put together car,like the valve covers.heard of sbc chevy swaps in jaguars before.certainly a more reliable engine than what it had and cheaper to maintain,better performance

    Like 2
  5. Martin Horrocks

    I like the idea. The base car is lovely and the conversion looks well done. Not to my taste on the detail, but someone should have a nice and unusual good value car out of this.

    Like 3
    • Troy McCutcheon

      Why Jaguar never pushed these coupes is beyond me. They are by far one of the most stylish Jaguars made. I think they could have sold alot of them,especially if they built them to 2009. Oh well the past is history. Can’t wait to see the new all Electric Jaguars.

      Like 4
      • RichardinMaine

        Simple answer, the XJS was being sold alongside it. There was only room for one Executive Luxury/Grand Touring 2 door in the line. I agree with you; a coupe off the later XJ6’s such as the mid 90’s X300/308 would have been great. And an XJR Coupe? Be still my beating heart.

        Like 0
  6. Bruce

    I have had a couple of the V-12 Jags and with a trashing of the carbs it is possible to get a great deal more power out of that engine. The effect of a stack of webber carbs is amazing. What you will miss is the smoothness of the V-12. I have also seen Harries Garage and I have found that the Jag V-12 is one of those engines that NEEDS TO BE USED for problems to go away. We took the E-Type V-12 to a dyno and we saw power at the rear wheels deep into the 400 hp range. I would tell you exactly but it has been too long ago. That car is now out in California. My friend the owner purchased it as a E-Type coupe but when the Jag dealership closed down for a time he purchased new factory sheet metal and turned it into a convertible. Got the top and windshield bits from a wreck and you could not tell it was not made that way. Lots of fun in my youth. Maybe we had so little trouble was that he was a fully licensed FAA Air Frame And Power Plant mechanic. Won best restoration at Oshkosh one year. We knew what we were doing.

    Like 5
    • Buster

      “FAA Air Frame And Power Plant Mechanic.” Well, if that’s all it takes..

      Like 2
  7. TheOldRanger

    Good lookin’ Jag. Smart decision to replace that v12 with a Chev V8. I worked with a gent a lot of years ago who inherited a Jag with the V12 and it spent more time at the mechanic or in his driveway than it ever did on the road. His joke was “I thought an inheritance meant something good”.

    Like 1
  8. ACZ

    A Jag lover will never admit it but this is the best of both worlds. Nicely done conversion.

    Like 6
  9. RichardinMaine

    THIS WAS EXACTLY THE WRONG CAR TO CONVERT.
    I can say that; I own a 6C with a Chevy. But there were only 1800 or so coupes built with the V12, all fuel injected by the way, and an EXTREMELY rare production car. All the value and collectability of this Jag was left on the shop floor. Unmolested examples are becoming a hot commodity because of Harry’s saga, even though he ended up way upside down on it.

    Like 3
    • Mark

      I guess if you don’t want a car you can drive you are correct.

      Like 2
      • RichardinMaine

        I had a 12C in the late 70’s.
        It ran. Hard and long.

        Like 2
  10. Jay McCarthy

    Perfect thing to do to make this car reliable is to get rid of those 12 little nightmares and the viper’s nest of vacuum lines

    Like 2
    • TC Australia

      Jay, you reckon that picture under the hood is complicated, you should see under the hood of my 1998 XJR V8 Jaguar sedan, the Supercharger virtually takes up the whole top on the engine with wires, cables and hoses running everywhere, heck I’ve had the car for nearly a year and still haven’t found the spark plugs yet, I know they’re in there ’cause the car goes like stink with zero to 60 mph in 5 1/2 seconds like it said in the ads back when they sold new.
      It’s for sale if anyone’s looking for a ‘street rod’ sedan.

      Like 0
  11. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    Sorry to be the detractor, but the owner of more than several Jaguars and yes, even the so called ‘trouble prone’ V/12 (in an E-Type) I certainly would never wish to do this with a Jaguar.

    These coupes are quite desirable and made in very low numbers. To see one become a transplanted Chevrolet grieves me greatly. As an owner of both Chevys and Jaguars, I prefer they keep their identities to themselves. I may be in the minority commenting, but will assure you I am not in the minority as an enthusiast nor as a collector.

    To each their own; to be fair though I will say at least it lives on and gives some satisfaction to someone. But a Jaguar it is no longer just as a Chevy powered Porsche, a 289 Ford powered E-Type, or a hemi powered ’32 Ford hi-boy is no longer what they were built as. Despite what the dime store badging may imply, the identity is only in form and not in purity.

    JM2C and nothing more….

    Like 4
    • RichardinMaine

      If I had the time, space, and bank account I would buy it and restore it to V12 specifications, put the late model XJS 6.0 in it, with the outboard brake LS IRS and probably a manual. My marriage wouldn’t survive a second coupe.
      It’s no longer original, so why not an improved version?
      I owned a 12C in my late 20’s, drove it as a near daily driver and weekend getaway burn up the interstate ride. The BW trans put the slush in slushbox but above 80 it was Grand Touring indeed. The only problems I had in 3 years was an exhaust manifold to down pipe gasket, a cold start valve, and a rack rebuild because the steering tower was adjacent to the catalytic converter and the seals melted.

      Like 1
  12. 64 Bonneville

    Johns Cars in Dallas has been selling the conversion for the Jaguars for a long time. See the ads in Hemmings all the time. I do believe that one should experience the beauty and finesse of a Jaguar at least once in their life. Just not have to experience the grief and aggravation and expense of owning the same. This would provide the opportunity of the best of both worlds, without breaking their mental health or the bank.

    Like 3
  13. Jules

    I’m not in love with the color (all Jags should be British Racing Green in my book), but these classics are sex appeal on wheels. Wish I had the coin for this one.

    Like 0
  14. Carlo Rizzo

    The thing to rare cars is keeping them original. Once the original V12 is gone from this car, most collectors will not touch it…. that car will not come close to the amount it would get if it was all original at auction

    Like 2
    • Mark

      I guess if you don’t want a car you can drive you are correct. But at least you can drive this one without breaking the bank on repairs every time out.

      Like 2
    • ACZ

      I would agree if the original engine were in good condition on it’s removal. However, if the original engine underwent a catastrophic failure, this sure beats sending the car to the junkyard.

      Like 0
  15. Slomoogee

    I’ve had a couple of Jaguars along with Chevys and the discussion has been interesting. To the uniformed you have a really nice Jaguar. To all the purists you have committed a sacrilege. I say stick a couple of flowmasters on it and drive it, enjoy it, and damn the torpedoes!

    Like 6
  16. Auric

    In the United States a Chevy-powered Jag is easier to live with..obviously because it is an American engine where in the U.S. parts are easy to come by and most mechanics can work on them. The Jaguar V-12 is a more exotic engine and your average American mechanic will find it very “alien”. When in the hands of a competent Jaguar mechanic and a competent owner who will follow the servicing requirements outlined in the owner’s manual, the Jaguar with its original 5.3 V-12 motor is a reliable car that gives you 200 thousand miles. What I find interesting is all the attacks on Jaguar from Americans, but when it comes to very finnicky classic Ferraris I hardly ever hear that THEIR engines are no good and need a Chevy LS!! Do you know how many digits a 1960s Ferrari engine rebuild will shave off your bank account? If we are to go by the logic being expressed by most in this blog, shouldn’t Ferrari engines be replaced by LS engines?….My opinion would be that Jaguar gave Americans too good a deal. The cars were too cheap for the class and luxury that they exuded, so too many people in the U.S.A. were able to afford them, who were not willing to service them regularly or ever take them to a mechanic trained in such cars. They would hand them over to gas station kids to work on, once neglected way beyond the servicing intervals, mechanics who didn’t know a Zenith-Stromberg carbs from a fruit fly. When these V-12 Jags would then break down it would be because they were no good…

    Like 7
    • ACZ

      This is not unusual. Americans will turn any car over to their local untrained mechanic just because that person’s labor rates are lower. It never occurs to them that you get what you pay for.

      Like 5
    • Grumpy

      I owe a Xj6 and a Xjs with the conversion
      The best decision I ever maid was doing the conversions
      Now I don’t have to look at a pretty car on the side of the road or blocking my driveway
      I get great performance and gas mileage
      Don’t have to get my doors blown off by some Lexus and I can hang with the big boys rain or shine
      My Xjs runs a small block 383 chevy and is smooth as silk with crazy top end even has a smooth ex haust sound
      I like it tunes up in a heartbeat no pun intended now it’s a mover handlebar a looker
      The best of both worlds 🌎
      PS and it doesn’t leak
      As far as I’m concerned 2 6s to make a12 too much tea and crumpets depending on the year it already had a GM trans

      Like 3
  17. FrankDMember

    If done right these are nice conversions. My friend owns one and loves it. He purchased the car with a tired 12 cylinder. It took him a few months to convert.

    Like 2
  18. Jake Loring

    doubtful this is original paint as all XJC’s had a vinyl top in the US….many bash the 12 as it is a tough engine for the shade tree mechanic but such low numbers made, this would have been a car to do back original….

    Like 2
  19. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    Final sale price was $16,000.

    I am pretty sure this did not cover what he had into it, as it did have sheet metal work done to the floor pan before paint. Even if the fellow selling it did all the work himself on the conversion and refurbishment to this claimed #2 condition as a driver, I still would doubt there was any profit had…..

    So this begs a few questions: is there a workshop manual which goes with these conversions so a second or sixth buyer knows what he or his mechanic are working with? If this new weight reduction effects handling, how does it relate to the way it was set up to handle from England? I felt every Jaguar I owned had a terrific appeal in it’s braking and handling and with a good set of pads and proper sticky rubber on them, and were really quite nimble and athletic performers.
    And the fellow above mentioning the use of a sbc in a Ferrari, what an excellent point. That very thing HAD been done back in the 60s with a very expensive (today’s value) vintage Ferrari race car. During it’s restoration it was removed and a new Ferrari V12 was recast at the factory to go back in.

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Mr. Green Jeans,,,where have you been? Did you get my letters? Is the Captain okay?

      Like 2
  20. Grumpy

    I owe a Xj6 and a Xjs with the conversion
    The best decision I ever maid was doing the conversions
    Now I don’t have to look at a pretty car on the side of the road or blocking my driveway
    I get great performance and gas mileage
    Don’t have to get my doors blown off by some Lexus and I can hang with the big boys rain or shine
    My Xjs runs a small block 383 chevy and is smooth as silk with crazy top end even has a smooth ex haust sound
    I like it tunes up in a heartbeat no pun intended now it’s a mover handlebar a looker
    The best of both worlds 🌎
    PS and it doesn’t leak
    As far as I’m concerned 2 6s to make a12 too much tea and crumpets depending on the year it already had a GM trans
    I do like that red car

    Like 0
  21. Terrry

    Dropping a Chevy engine into a V12 Jaguar may not make it a better Jaguar, but with a 400 lb. weight reduction and just as much power if not more, makes it a better car.

    Like 1

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