1988 Jaguar XJ41 Prototype Targa Top Coupé

A replacement for the E-Type had been on the stocks for some time, and the basic design was continuously improved and kept up to date with suitable modification. By the time the E-Type Series III appeared in 1970 there were already full size mock-ups, using cues from the Series III, for proposed replacements. None of them was considered for production and, as we know, the XJS was launched as the new sports car in 1975.

In the early 1980s Jaguar started looking at a replacement for the XJS. The new cars were coded XJ41 (targa top coupé version) and XJ42 (convertible version).

Test cars (mules) were built using both XJS and XJ40 underpinnings, but the XJ41/2 body in white (BIW) was completely new – the concept work was done by Jaguar, and the detail design work and tooling was completed at Karmann in Osnabruck.

The AJ6 engine (launched in 1983 in the XJS Cabriolet) was used together with new front and rear suspension systems, although the rear suspension was later changed to a modified version of the rear suspension from the XJ40.

Karmann built three running cars: this black coupé, a silver one and a red convertible.

The XJ41 had started life as quite a lean machine, but as the project evolved the car gained weight and bulk as more equipment and variants were added. It was modified to allow for every possible combination of: Normally Aspirated or Turbo charged engines; All Wheel Drive or Rear Wheel Drive; manual or automatic gearboxes and, targa top or convertible body styles.

During 1988 the car was shown at several clinics, and the positive results buoyed Jaguar’s confidence in the project. Mock-ups of the car were clearly admired by all who saw them; this was a very attractive car for the 1990s and would not disgrace Jaguar in any way.

Design of the car had been started while Jaguar was part of BL and continued after Jaguar had been privatised. Ford purchased Jaguar at the end of 1989 and every aspect of the Company, and every project, was put under microscopic scrutiny. Ford’s management decided to make the quality of the cars already in production their priority, and the XJ41/42 programme was cancelled in 1990.

Under Ford’s ownership Jaguar produced a much improved, facelifted, version of the XJS and the model was ultimately to remain in production for 20 years.

Under the project code X100, Jaguar’s own design team at Whitley, led by Fergus Pollock, came up with a completely new design, to replace the XJS, which was launched as the XK8 in 1996.

Classic & Sports Car published a full page on XJ41 and XJ42 titled  XJ41 The Missing Link as part of a 25th anniversary story on XK8

Chassis Number: SATTGAFE9AAXP0065

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 99/J.54