Runs And Drives: 1988 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas

In much of the country, cars this age would have rusted away but in California they are usually rust free. This Jaguar is an example of a nice old car that isn’t worth much even though it’s rust free,  but it looks nice and runs and drives. It’s in a Pick and Pull lot in Ranch Cordova, California. The paint is really nice under all that dust and the interior is decent nice. It might need expensive maintenance work or even have serious issues, but for $1,100 it might be a good buy.

As you can see, the interior is nice. There are some bits missing from the center console.

This isn’t a great deal for a Jaguar like this, but it’s an example of how even rust free survivors are still not worth much in California. For not much more money one could purchase a similar car with a known history. However, this one looks like it’s been well cared for and could be a nice car with some work. It would be interesting to see what it would cost to fix any problems and do any necessary maintenance. It would look really nice with a polish, some wax and the interior cleaned. So how much would you offer the Pick and Pull for this Jag?


  1. Zaphod

    I bought a 1990 new and ran it for 300k plus, replacing the shocks, water pump and a sender in the coolant catch tank. 4 valve head, torquey smooth engine, nice gear box, dodgy door handles. I paid a tick over $40k for it in France, and sold it after 10 years for under $10k. Best all around handling Jag built IMNSHO.

  2. Alan (Michigan)

    Almost owned a Jag once, close to this one, with the “L” extra room in the back seat area. Online auction, flew to Phoenix to drive it home. BRG/Tan Leather, looked GREAT! Except… It ran quite poorly. No history with the car, no easy way to diagnose it. I had to pass and catch the flight home. IIRC, the 8’s of that era had a know issue with the cam drive system, and that may have caused the issue. Couldn’t risk getting stranded in the middle of the country somewhere.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Alan, most of these were sixes, and chain driven, not belt. I believe ’88 was the last year of the XK block.

      They did have their problems but this doesn’t sound correct.

      • Alan (Michigan)

        You are correct of course, I must have been sleeping when I posted that. The car I “bought” at auction and did not take was probably 15 years newer. Seems to me that it was somewhere around a 2003. This body reminds me of it.

        Anyway, I should have realized why my bid was highest, when there were people in attendance at the live auction. Car was great in every respect, other than probably needing significant engine work.

  3. Adam T45 Staff

    The great thing about these is that it is not a huge job to transplant a Chev small-block into them. You still get the prestige, but you can have a car that’s also mechanically pretty much bulletproof. If I wasn’t in Australia I would like this as a project car!

    • Terry C

      A friend of has done just that. Twice. After all was said and done it was a good highway car. He says he would do it again if the right car came up.

  4. David Ireland

    Wish I had a spare US$1100.00. Drop an LS in it.

  5. Bill

    Ever hear the term good money after bad. It will never end, oh I’ll fix one more thing .

  6. healeydays

    I too have know a few folks that have given up on tuning and maintaining the Jaguar engine in these and changed over to the Chevy small block. Kits to do this are readily available and the trans in these cars is already a GM Turbo Hydramatic 400.

  7. Klharper

    The LS just doesn’t jump in and everything works great. Most of the conversion I have seen are never properly completed. There is also nothing inherently wrong with the jag straight six and it will go on forever. Most of the issues of these are electrical and changing the motor will not fix them.
    Even with the v8 it does not make them a rocket ship as they are to heavy. I just don’t really see the pros of switching the motors

  8. Eric 10Cars

    You can buy one of these all day long for $500. I know…I have one and have looked at others as parts cars for the same price.

    Regarding the SBC replacement, there are many really sloppy ones done. Doing it correctly is much more challenging given the complex ECU and TCU on these models. Further, the parts interchanges on the different years of the XJ6/XJ40 can be dicey. I speak from experience. The interiors, body shell, and trim are pretty commonplace from 87-93, but the running gear has some real differences (gas tanks, fuel delivery systems, hubs, electrics, etc.).

  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    Wait; is this a good buy, or “not a great deal”? Your write-up seems to say both.

  10. Eric 10Cars

    Not a great deal.

  11. Murray Member

    Great cars. I have had several earlier ones I converted to the Chev drivetrain and they are great. Only real problem is when you buy from pick n pull. You will now have a salvage vehicle title. California sucks in that way. It really ruins the value of a cool car or classic purchased from a wrecker or dismantler. It is mi da hard to want to put money in a salvage title vehicle even though the owner knows that it really was not damaged but selling it is another story. I don’t know if I would believe someone selling me a car with a salvage title and not really knowing if it was a flood damaged car or a mean wreck that was rebuilt. Bonds and a hammer does wonders with some of these flippers. Nice car though

  12. Murray Member

    Oops. Bondo and a hammer

    • Adam T45 Staff

      If you’re a fan of Top Gear (UK) you might be onto something!

  13. 164LS

    If it doesn’t pass smog in California, without alot of expense, it’s a parts car, or for “export” to friendlier states. Hope someone in Reno thinks it’s worth a drive to take a look!

  14. Jay

    I owned a 1989 XJ6. The six cylinder engine is great. It never gave me problems. I have heard of the V-12 being difficult and replaced with a 350, but not the six.

  15. AutoArcheologist

    I found one several years ago for $500. Interior was apart, had brake issues and the door handles wouldn’t open from the outside.. sort of an issue..LOL It had been in a garage for about 5 years.
    Anyway, I joined the Jaguar Club of Southern New England, worked out a barter deal with one of the members who owns a small privateer primarily Jaguar dealership for the brake parts, did some searching and found upgraded door handles (for nearly half the cost of stock replacement items). Put the interior back together, installed the brake bits and door handles, reconditioned the gorgeous Doeskin leather with Color-Plus, color sanded and polished the paint and have since scored 9.98 at two New England Jaguar Concours’, plus several best in class awards at various regional British car shows.
    The Vanden Plas are fairly rare/uncommon for 1988, as they only produced around 6000, out of almost 200K XJ40’s produced. The option list includes extra courtesy lighting; heated, power seats, lots of burlwood trim plus the fold down picnic trays, rear buckets, etc.
    The AJ6 is bulletproof if taken care of. (I think a LOT of motors are fairly hearty if treated well) I have driven her for a solid 10 years and put roughly 4-5K miles on her a year. No issues whatsoever. She gets up and goes.. surprises quite a few newer car drivers as she accelerates quite quickly and smoothly up to an easy 80+ and will get 25mpg on the highway all day long. Averages 22 MPG. Her self leveling shocks still work too… although they are starting to get finicky and at $400 a pop, if you can find them, I will probably switch her over to the standard shock absorber setup for about $400.. for the entire new springs and shocks kit.Still rides well and her low, wide stance makes them a favorite among saloon racers in Europe.

    • AutoArcheologist

      Was supposed to have this photo attached.

  16. AutoArcheologist

    OK, so something not liking my photo or BF server is not happy today.. getting blank screen after posting as opposed to being directed back to comments.

  17. TBall

    Looking closely at what is available, judging be openness of front wheel well, I would guess this car does not have an engine (no mention of it either). Agree with earlier comments, nice car, nice driver – issue with these cars well known – electrical. If you really, really like this body (and it is a nice one), are skilled enough to do the motor and electrical work, then the $1,100 is not a bad launch point for a project – just on the wrong coast for me.

  18. RicK

    its Ranch”O” Cordova ( i.e. Rancho Cordova)

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