XJ6 & XJ12 Series I, II & III 1968-1992

Thinking of buying a 1985 XJ6

 
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:33 PM
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Default Thinking of buying a 1985 XJ6

I've been wanting one of these for years, and I found one for sale earlier today.

To put it politely, it's a project.

From the exterior, she's a 20-footer. Looks good from 20 feet away. The paint it faded and peeling in a few spots.

One of those spots is under the rear windshield, which is a common rust area on a Series III. I don't think this is actual rust, though. I think it's just peeling paint. Under the front windshield is solid, rockers look solid, the mounts where the rear trailing arms mount to the body is solid...the only rust bubbles are right at the top of the driver's door, next to the window. Looks minor.

Hood closes good. Door gaps look good.

The seats look dry rotted, and the seams will probably start splitting soon with much use.

The wood on the dash is decent, but not great, with the exception of the glove box door. The veneer is cracked and badly peeling on the glove box. Also, the gear shifter area has darker wood trim from a Vanden Plas, and the car has an aftermarket stereo.

Front windshield is cracked, and will need to be replaced.

Also, there is a sign on the windshied that says "Runs. Needs Engine Work."

No one was in the office for me to ask what kind of engine work it needs.

The car was unlocked, so I popped the hood. Everything looked clean & more or less original, and appeared as a 30 year old 100,000 mile car would be expected to. The plastic radiator fan is starting to crack, and will need replacing.

I removed the oil cap, and peered inside. I wasn't real sure what I was looking for, but I didn't see anything I thought would be a stakedown kit.

The price on the windshield said $2500 US dollars, which I think is a bit high, given the amount of work the car needs. I'm thinking of going back down there when a salesman is around, and offering them around $1500.

Even though it needs a lot of work, its got solid bones with very little rust, so I think it's worth saving, but I'll have to get it cheap. I think I'll try painting it myself. I've been wanting to paint a car myself anyway. I have a 1978 Grand Marquis I'm restoring, but that one's going to need a lot of sanding & body work before it's ready to paint. Plus, the Jag is a lot smaller, so I think it would be a great project to learn on.

It all depends on what's wrong with the engine. If it just needs a tuneup and a stakedown kit, it might be worth the risk. If it's got a bottom end knock, I probably won't even make an offer.
 
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:00 PM
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Pass, what you described is a 400$ parts car. Really nice examples sell for 5 to 7 grand. You can probably score a well maintained driver with sketchy paint for 3500. The car you described needs 4 grand in parts alone and then who knows how it will be. With labor you will be way over.
 
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:51 PM
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My advice is to find a better car. There are lots of better cars out there. That price is no bargain. At least look for a car with a good body, paint and interior. Mechanical problems generally can be dealt with the easiest and cheapest. You don't want to bury yourself in a full restoration. I would even say to consider a newer model like an XJ40 or X300. The X300 is the last classic Jaguar with Jaguar's best six cylinder motor combined with style that echoes a classic heritage. The X308 is basically the same car with a V8. Both cars are beautiful, great handling road cars that can provide the definitive Jaguar experience. I bought a real nice looking and real good running '97 XJ6 for under 3,000 dollars. I have seen lots of cars like this for sale in Northern Cal. You will be much happier with a car that you can enjoy right now. All that being said, an early XJ6 is a very desirable car. Good luck on your search.
 
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:05 PM
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I very much prefer the Series III over the XJ40 or the X300. I never really warmed up to the XJ40 too much. Too boxy. The only way you could tempt me into one of those was if I found a 6.0 Liter for a great price.

I'd probably enjoy and X300, but I'd still think I settled. I used to own a 2003 X-Type and a 2001 S-Type, and liked them, but the Series III has always been the one I really want.

If I were going to "settle" for something else, I'd probably go older and look at a 420 or 420G.

I was actually planning to wait a few months until I had 4 or 5 grand saved up, and then go shopping for something a bit nicer, but I just happened upon this one, the price was low enough I could probably talk them into something I could afford today, and it's not rusted all to pieces. If the engine could be put right without having to tear into the internals, it'd be a shame to see that one go to the junkyard. Series IIIs are only going to get rarer.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:04 AM
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Keep looking. There are good S3 cars out there. Paint and interior are the expensive parts, the oily bits less so.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:01 AM
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Just adding my 2 cents

I would suggest going for a X300 for now.
Finish your Mercury, then get a Series III that has had a RECENT restore.

The thing with the Series jags is they are reasonable price to buy, but you also need to budget about the same again for the next couple of years (or more) to maintain and fix all the "little" things that pop up.

This is from my own experience. I always wanted a XJ, and bought a 85 series 3. Beautiful car in fair condition. within 6 months, so many things that were ok changed to not ok, and it very quickly became a hinderence not a pleasure. I ended up rehoming her. I am now looking back, and thinking that I should've got a X300, as they are still a true jag, but far more reliable.

Side note, I have never seen the x-type as a real Jag, it is just a reskined Ford Mondeo, and never liked the styling of the S-type, it feels fake to me, trying to live on the name and style of the old Mark 2's

Just my opinion,

Good luck :-)
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:05 AM
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Too much!!! But, post pictures, it might help the evaluation from afar.


1. Peeling paint may well be the first sign of rust. The tip of theice berg thing!!


2. Cracked wind screen can only be fixed by replacement. Time to fix the rust issue there.


3. Dry upholstery, sure sign of life in the hot Texas sun. But, not hopeless. The threads go first. A good upholstery shop can resew with better thread. Leatherique or similar can rework old vinyl or cow to great.


4. Swap the glove box lid and live with the shift knob. Unless, it is a VDP, the original knob is an uninspiring black plastic. Keep what is there. I did.


5. I suspect the engine is noisy. Valve guides 'kissing" the cam lobes.
Not unusual and quite curable. Great negotiation issue.


6. Gotta hear it run and drive it, no other way...


The big test is 'do you like the car". If yes, proceed, with caution, of course. If not march away, quick time...


Carl
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:27 PM
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You asked for pics, so...

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The paint on the trunk lid actually looks pretty good. That's just a reflection off the clouds.

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Like I said, she looks great from 20 feet away.

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Paint bubbles under rear windshield. Yes, that's a dead wasp on the rear dashboard.

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The sunroof is the only place where the paint's actually fading. My S-Type had a sunroof. I miss that.

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Driver's door. This is the only really rusty spot I can find on the car.

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Driver's seat. This is the worst seat in the car. Probably because it was used the most.

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Passenger's seat. Better than the driver's, but the leather is still kinda stiff, and the stitching is starting to go.

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The back seat actually doesn't look bad for a 30+ year old car. But again, the thread is probably dry-rotted.

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The dashboard isn't perfect, but it isn't horrible either. Note the cracking between the oil gauge and the AC vent. Still, I could live with this the way it is. A little bit of "wrong" gives it some character.

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This, however, is a bit too much character. I'd want to fix this.

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Not the greatest picture on the planet, but the wood on the center console doesn't match the rest of the car. It's much darker. I think this piece originally came off a Vanden Plas.

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Any sane person would see this and run far, far away. I'm not sane. If I were, after an X-Type and an S-Type, I'd never even look at a Jaguar again!

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Still has the original engine. I kinda have a soft spot for these old XK motors.

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Small dent in the back driver's side fender.

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She's going to need a new front windshield. When I had a new windshield put in my 1995 Thunderbird in 2000, it cost $400. Considering 16 years of inflation, and the difference in price between Ford parts and vintage Jaguar parts, it's probably twice that to fix this one.

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Haven't seen this round badge before. Maybe someone didn't like the chrome kitten statue on the hood and replaced it with an older badge? I'd rather have the chrome kitten myself.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:04 PM
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Looks pretty straight on the outside. If you are stuck on this car why not start pricing up the resto? Replacement interior, body tidy up & new paint, engine work (if you can get an idea of what it needs). Then you can determine the worth of the car before jumping in with even a low offer. May not be worth pursuing it, but even if you target a "well sorted" example, you'll never get away without ongoing spend - guaranteed.

BTW I had my windscreen replaced a few months ago for A$250, supplied and fitted - different country, but trust me, we are usually much more expensive than the U.S. down here for anything automotive! Shop around.

Looks like the badge covers the hole where the leaper used to be. I agree, needs the leaper back on.

I drove an X300 for several years before moving into the S3. In many ways the X300 was a far more refined and reliable car, beautiful style but showing evidence of Ford DNA including the blandness of plastic bumpers, faux wood etc. I also have a fondness for the XK motor, but my perfect world would be the AJ16 engine from the X300 in the S3 (but I digress!).

IMHO S3 will always be pure Jag, including all its eccentricities. Anyhow, do we buy 'em for their character, or reliability??
 

Last edited by jagent; 08-05-2016 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:29 PM
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I've got a brand new Mazda 3 to serve as my reliable, fuel efficient daily transportation. Old cars are fun toys, but when you are using them as a daily driver, the brake lines rupture, it's 1:00 in the morning, and you have no way to get to work in seven hours, having a little Japanese appliance car in the driveway starts to look pretty appealing.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rea98d View Post
I've got a brand new Mazda 3 to serve as my reliable, fuel efficient daily transportation. Old cars are fun toys, but when you are using them as a daily driver, the brake lines rupture, it's 1:00 in the morning, and you have no way to get to work in seven hours, having a little Japanese appliance car in the driveway starts to look pretty appealing.
Yep, the reliable appliance is great risk aversion, takes the stress out of playing with oldies. I also relied on my Mazda 3 until last year when I replaced it with a new VW Golf. Two of the best cars I've owned.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:11 PM
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Some thoughts (for whatever they're worth):
That is an '86 or '87, unless the third brake light was added or the rear glass replaced. '85 model year did not have a third brake light. The wood console around the shifter was also found only in '86 and '87 (as standard; the wood console was NOT a VDP enhancement, a common misconception).
The bubbles around the windshield are almost certainly rust in the channel underneath, and often the tip of an iceberg. If you are replacing the windshield you will want to have the metal repaired and resprayed; otherwise, leaking and mayhem will follow!
The badges on the rear are in non-factory locations. Most often this is because the car has been repainted and the badges incorrectly located. I would be curious about why if the car was painted.
The badge on the hood is from an XJS, most or all of which had one in that location. May cover up holes from a removed leaper, as jagent mentioned. Not a problem, just an anomaly.
Unless the car was running when the picture was taken, the antenna is stuck in the up position.

I wouldn't pay anything near $2500 for this car, especially if the engine needs any work. You will learn a lot when you drive it. But there are many better cars out there for the price.

Good luck!

Andrew.

Afterthoughts: just noticed you mentioned the console may have been added later. The shifter knob certainly was; all xj6's (even VDP) had black handles from the factory, though the wood handle is an attractive addition IMO.
Also: is that odometer actually in the process of turning to 100,000? If so, an odd coincidence
 

Last edited by Tar; 08-05-2016 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Afterthoughts
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:04 PM
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I was wondering about that brake light myself. I always thought that started in 1986 on all US spec cars, not just Jags.

Orange peel on the rockers make me think they've been repainted. Further investigation with a magnet is required. If the trunk's been repainted, that may mean the whole car - or at least a good portion of it - has seen a spray gun at some point. The hood and front fenders look absolutely pristine.

The bubbles under the windshield are in the rear, and it's the front glass that needs to be replaced. How much of the rust can be fixed without removing the rear glass? I've seen Jags so rusted out at the corners of the windshield you could drop a golf ball in the trunk without opening it, so this one doesn't look bad by comparison. The real question is how much work it will be to fix.

You can park a car needing engine or interior work until you have time to get around to it, but rust never sleeps and needs to be treated early.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the wood on the console it a lot darker than the rest of the wood in the car. That's what makes me think that particular bit came from a VDP, not just the fact that the wood is there.

I wouldn't pay anywhere near $2500 for it myself. My theory is people aren't exactly going to be lining up to buy an old British car needing engine work. They're going to have to find a special kind of buyer for it. I'm gonna let them sit on that one a while and think about it, and if someone hasn't bought it in the mean time, I'll show up in two or three weeks, and open the bidding at $1000. I wouldn't go any higher than $1500 at the most.

All that assumes it starts, moves under its own power, the gearbox works, and whatever is wrong with the engine won't involve major disassembly and a trip to the machine shop to set right. Like I said earlier, sputters, misfires and noisy valve keepers I can deal with. Rod knocks are deal killers. I got a phone number off the door of the car lot, and I'll call tomorrow and try to get a little more information about what, exactly, is wrong with the engine.
 
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:48 PM
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I think we are spoiled here in Nor Cal as there is always a few nice looking S3 cars on Craigslist.

A few examples just to give you some perspective

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/5689409718.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/5683698951.html

I think you go in with $500 in cash and see what happens
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:08 AM
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Buy a vintage Jag off Craigslist, drive it through the desert, across four large states, halfway across the country, to get it home to Texas...What could possibly go wrong? Screw it, let's go for it! You only live once!
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:59 AM
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Real :


Why not. The best and possibly the only way to cross the deserts is at night!!!


I was born and raised in El Paso. When we lived in El Centro, then LA and then Phoenix, we visited my folks at least once a year. At times, "straight through". As I was the only driver, I was exhausted at the end.... But, a couple of times, a saner method. Cut it in half. A stopover at about noon. Lunch, pool time, great dinner, fair sleep, get going, breakfast or no??


Too much for that car. If the engine were sound mebbe. If more than minor, a parts car....


Unless, lump!!!!


But, $2500????


Carl
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rea98d View Post
Haven't seen this round badge before. Maybe someone didn't like the chrome kitten statue on the hood and replaced it with an older badge? I'd rather have the chrome kitten myself.
The last time a jaguar left the factory with a leaper was 1969-70 420G, the badge you see is an 80's badge.
If you want a leaper to add to your car they are easy to source and fit.(It would be the least expensive thing you do to your Jaguar)

Good luck with your search, if it was me I would go for a restored car for a bit more coin. I know, been there and still shelling out cash!
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:03 AM
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Interesting:


The Kirkegaardian leap!! From the present $2500 position to an absurd amount. Now, we have boundaries in which to reason.


Let's see, a fully sorted aa to mechanics, New quality respray,
nice interior, vinyl, leather and wood. Newish quality tires. 100K or thereabouts on the speedo. Ten grand sound like a lot? Would spending $7500 on this car bring it to a comparable level ?


The best test is to buy the best car that pleases you that your budget will allow.


On this car, the trivial stuff is the glove box lid, the "ski slope, the shift knob and the boot and bonnet badges.


Of major significance is the rust, engine needs work and the busted glass, in that order.


For the "right" price mebbe, $2500 is not likely it.


Clue, a well worn car with issues and a great "for sale" detail job.
Wanna guess what it looked like in real time?


Nevertheless, it is intriguing....


Carl
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:53 AM
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We are kind of spoiled in California. There were a lot of Jags sold here new, so a lot remain for us to be choosy. I just sold my '70 Mustang project earlier this year. I put a lot of time and work into that car and it was never going to be a really nice car. I had over five grand in it and it would have taken at least another five K to make it just an okay car. I started with a cheap car that needed a lot of work. I lost almost two grand when I sold it. At least I got that "muscle car stuff" out of my system. You could turn that particular XJ6 into an acceptable driver if you got it for the right price. My only point is that if you want a nice car it is much easier and cheaper to start with a nicer car. Of course you could turn that particular XJ6 into a show winner if you wanted to invest the time and money into it.

Buying a car in Cali is a pretty good idea. Fly out and drive back. Or plan a little vacation and bring back a souvenir. If you're in Texas I'd bet you know someone with a big truck you could borrow and pull a trailer with. I bought two cars down in LA, I trailed one back, and I drove the other one home. Why not have an adventure? These are just my opinions. Good luck on any course you choose.
 
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tar View Post
Some thoughts (for whatever they're worth):
That is an '86 or '87, unless the third brake light was added or the rear glass replaced. '85 model year did not have a third brake light. The wood console around the shifter was also found only in '86 and '87 (as standard; the wood console was NOT a VDP enhancement, a common misconception).

Good catch.

An '87 would not have the oxy sensor warning light and would have the AJ8700 radio

Cheers
DD
 

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