I have been driving my 1990 Jaguar Sovereign (XJ40) for almost a year now. It’s the longest I’ve had a car in quite some time. Why have I kept it so long? Hmm…maybe it’s because nobody has offered to buy it. Or it may be that I actually enjoy driving an unreliable car. If you know anything about the XJ40, it was Jaguar’s attempt to replace the popular XJ6 Series III in the late 1980’s. In the states, it lasted from 1988-1994. The first two years were terrible. The second three years were mostly unreliable. And the last two years were somewhat unreliable. But the car was a good looking one anyway. And that’s probably while I’m still driving mine despite multiple issues.
While looking for a solution to one of those problems, I came across a very interesting conversation about the XJ40 on a website in the United Kingdom. Being that Jaguar is a British car company, I found their comments quite amusing. One commentator put things rather nicely.
While nowadays derided as the carney’s third hand Jaguar and laughed at for its eighties cheese factor, the XJ40 was actually a serious attempt at updating this most traditional upper class saloon and reclaiming the position the XJ4 had occupied for quite a while two decades earlier. Dodgy electronics and new kids on the block such as BMW and Lexus meant this goal ultimately wouldn’t be achieved. And when the X300 XJ arrived in faux-Series III clothes to the enchantment of the pipes and slippers crowd, it spelled the end for any kind of modern stylistic thinking at Browns Lane for more than a decade. It seemed as if the XJ40 would forever remain the ugly cousin hidden in the basement. But what do we make of the XJ40, two decades later? Was it a complete disaster, caused by a muddled design process and a lack of funds? Was it the car Jaguar got wrong and made up for with its more traditional successors? Or was it a worthy, but compromised attempt at updating not just the XJ series, but the whole company after a decade of stagnation under BL?
Whoever the writer is, I very much enjoyed reading his comments. Read the entire conversation at Car magazine’s site. You will enjoy it.