1985 Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40) 4.0 Litre Silverstone Fire Car

This particular car was a pre-production XJ40 built in June 1985, originally fitted with the 2.9 litre engine and automatic gearbox. It had been built to German specification with left-hand drive and was allocated to Jaguar’s Engineering Department. It was subsequently lent to the Silverstone Racing Circuit for use as a high-speed fire tender, for which it was fitted with a 4.0 litre AJ6 engine and 5 speed manual gearbox and the rear seat was removed to accommodate fire-fighting equipment. The car was fitted with uprated springs made by Pete Gouldthorpe of Thyssen Krupp Woodhead in Sheffield who made all the prototype, and then production, coils for Jaguar. Pete Gouldthorpe then joined Jaguar in 2000.

The all-new Jaguar XJ40 range was launched to great acclaim at the Motor Show held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham in October 1986. The car was the outcome of many years’ design and development work, often delayed by corporate problems for the Jaguar Company. However, with John Egan becoming Jaguar’s Managing Director in 1980 and the company gaining independence in 1984, at last the lights were set on green for the new car.

It was an ambitious project for the still small company. The body shell was all-new, Jim Randle re-designed the independent rear suspension which had been on XJ6s since the launch of the Series 1 in 1968. Initially all XJ40 cars featured versions of the AJ6 engine which had so far seen only limited production in the XJ-S range since 1983. A new feature was the J gate selector pattern for the automatic gearbox, (again designed by Randle and nicknamed the ‘Randle Handle) while the manual gearbox now had five speeds. The XJ40 brought a more contemporary look to the Jaguar range, while still retaining the cherished marque characteristics.

There were originally 2.9 litre and 3.6 litre versions of the Jaguar XJ6, then the more luxurious Sovereign versions, and at the top of the range, a single Daimler model with the 3.6 litre engine. Prices at launch ranged from £16,495 to £28,495. With the new car on the market, six cylinder versions of the Series 3 range were soon discontinued, although the V12 engined Series 3 remained in production until 1992. Total XJ40 production until 1994 was over 208,000 cars, making this the most popular range of Jaguar until then.

Registration Mark: Silverstone No 9

Chassis Number: SAJFALG4AC500177

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 183/J.122