XJ6 or XJ12 for performance-minded first time owner?

(PeterCrespin) #21

I am just finishing an XJ12 - 1979 last of the S2s and in factory two tone blue with red pinstripe to match the dark blue/red piped interior. If you are performance minded then there is no question you should either get a V12 or a non-Federal manual XJ6. The Federal XJ6 is a smooth car but not a performer. The Federal V12 is also compromised compared to Euro spec but I have the parts to fix that should you ever want to hop-up the engine.

Smog stuff removed so access is OK. Very clean, no rust,many new parts including new alloy radiator. 60% of the Pittsburgh price although you could have a refurbed five speed to go in it for closer to the Pittsburger. Pity about the screen rust on that car. I’m in Maryland and I have a couple of things to finish so technically not on sale (to keep Admins happy) but PM me if interested.

(Pete55Tbird) #22

Tony, please remember that the rust that you see is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless you
have great fabrication skill or are willing to learn them. Do not buy a rusty Jaguar. Just
when you think it can not get any worse, it will. If you go to look at the car in PA take a magnet
so you can check for BONDO hiding beneath the paintwork. Pete

(Tony Higgins) #23

Thanks for feedback. I am wary of lurking rust but I my budget does not allow for the cost of getting a pristine car that would likely be far away from my rust-belt home. Besides, we’re talking about hidden rust which means hard to detect until I have it in my possession.
This XJ12 has some good plusses: low mileage, great interior in spite of repairable veneer, few or maybe one owner as far as I can tell. The rust I can see looks manageable but since posting this, I have looked at the pictures of the front lower wind screen and it looks a little funky. I would definitely try to peek under the trim to see if rust lurks under there.
I did see the closeup of a “FEDERAL” plate in the pictures. What does this mean exactly? -that it meets Canadian emissions laws?
I would consider a Series II -heck I started out looking for a Mark II but those are more scarce and I’m not getting younger!

(phillip keeter) #24

A series I would be a good choice. They have the nice “euro” style bumpers, the higher (cooler) grill and all those wonderful buttons and switches on the dash. AND… they have carbs!

(Aristides Balanos) #25

My Canadian XJ has also the Federal plate. Not sure if it’s all North America or Canada only.

The lower wind screen rust is a very common issue with these cars regardless of where they lived.
Poor sealing results in water getting trapped under the seals.
And if the rear is rusted, the front won’t be far…
It’s not a huge job if you catch it early, I think you could be lucky and not much, if any, cutting and welding will be needed.
You will not be able to see under the trim though, it’s deep in there, consider that you will have to do it anyway.
If it has no other rust issues or problems upon closer inspection I still think that it’s a nice base for a restoration project.
For your consideration, unless you find an absolutely pristine and up to date maintained car, there are things that will have to be definitely addressed, no matter what:
All Fuel Hoses
Cooling Radiator and Mechanical Fan
Bushings and Ball Joints
Brake Hoses
Ignition Amplifier
Spark Plugs and Cables
Distributor overhaul
PCV system


(PeterCrespin) #26

Good list. All attended to on mine except brake hoses, which appear OK. Have also retained mechanical fan.


(Tony Higgins) #27

I would be happy with any series XJ. I was even briefly interested in a MarkX that resides in Idaho at Vintage Jag Works but that looked like a lot to take on and I detect a whiff of dislike for MarkX’s. It did look fairly rust free though.
I stated in my first post that I desired a S III but that was based on my assumption that those would be the most plentiful and pose the least risk to get in to, but maybe I’m not looking in the right places? -or the not-so-obvious good cars (of whatever vintage) are around and I just need to look harder? (This thread has already turned up Pete’s S II )

(Rob Reilly) #28

Federal means it met the USA laws for that model year regarding emissions, crash testing, bumper and headlight height, rear turn signals red not amber, locking steering wheel, things like that. I don’t know about Canada, possibly they went along with the US on those things.

(Pete55Tbird) #29

Tony, I live in the SF Bay area and there are a lot ( at least 1/week ) Jag XK6 ) of interesting ads for XK6
that might be a better choice if rust is a concern. Even having to pay for getting it transported
plus the initial cost would be worth looking into. Any unibody car with structural rust is almost
beyond saving. Just ask the guys restoring their XKE`s

(Jochen Glöckner) #30


please just look at the last part (postings 8 onward) of the conversation with Paul Novak on the thread https://jag-lovers.com/t/what-connects-the-two-posts-on-the-firewall/372129 to see the difference between a rust belt and a sand belt car.

Granted - Paul’s donor car had window channel rust - a well-documented SIII only disease (SI and II cars don’t have glued in windows and typically much less window rust), but the rest of the body seems a walk in the park to be prepared for the next 40 years of classic motoring. I’d bet that any local car you get, as good as it may look from outside, will be in poorer shape underneath than the one Paul had scrapped.

Even if it may be more awkward to get your car across a wide country - with so many good friends at the west coast I’d probably prefer to purchase blind and pay a grand for shipment if I were in your shoes … but, of course, that’s just me.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(tony) #31

its critical to inspect a suspect car, with a fridge magnet and look underneath.

rust & a paint job will be $10-30K

so much better to pay 12k (example) for a rust free car

club members I know who are fussy always buy off other club members, or will drive/fly to inspect a car they are not sure about

windscreen rust can be bad news in an XJ

that is one way to get a good car, contact the Jaguar club network

when I see the amount of corrosion caused by salted roads in the USA on a 4wd forum, I am amazed, and I live right by the ocean, rust is the car killer

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #32

I’ve got 9 (I think) Jags.
1 Series 1 XJ6
1 Series 2 XJ6
2 Series 3 XJ6
3 XJ-S (V12)

By far I enjoy working on the XJ6, it doesn’t have the WOW factor of an XJ12, but it’s a lot cheaper to work on just in the number of parts. 12 spark plugs instead of 6, 8 quarts of oil instead of 12, 1 airfilter instead of two. I think you get my point.

I am also on a tight budget, all of the XJ6’s I’ve picked up for less than $500.00 US, The Series I I picked up for 1,400.00 All XJ6’s except for 1 has rust in some form or another. Location of the rust plays a huge factor on whether or not you’re in for a rude awakening (just the tip mind you…) Holes are never good, and are the most difficult to fix. Surface rust as long as you can’t poke your finger through it is chemically manageable. Not that it’s the right way but it certainly is an option. POR-15 is the best rust inhibitor that I’ve come across.

Paint with bubbles is always a bad thing. that means there’s at the very least moisture under the paint. Trapped moisture will most definitely turn into rust if left untreated.

My second Series III is a rusty mess. A pillar, C pillar and around the exhaust pipe holes in the rear. This will be my practice car of rust repair. But I only paid $400.00 for the car. After I got the mechanicals resolved. Out of pocket expense was $300.00 - Alternator, Master Cylinder, front suspension bushes, I have the repair panels to weld in when I get that far.

But I’m still working on an IRS.

(Tony Higgins) #33

All, I want to acknowledge your responses. Your comments help a lot. –especially that windscreen rust is peculiar to S3 cars. –did not know that! I saw a post in the archives that included a section drawing of the S3 w/s frame. Compared to my DD – a 2006 VW Jetta – the “gutter” around the glass edge is obviously the problem!

My VW has a flat depression about an inch wide around the inner edge of the opening. The glass covers that entire space with no trim. The glass edge is exposed and there is no place for water to collect. So, why do S1 & S2 XJ’s not hold water? I suppose these used a weatherstrip that wrapped the glass edge and had an outside channel that fit into the metal frame with no places for water to collect. Trying to fix a rusty w/s frame and have it stay fixed is a real challenge but I thought of a possible way. To body-shop people reading this: For areas that are badly rusted, could you not sandblast to bare metal then apply lead solder to restore the original profile? Completely rotted through would require new metal but even then, why would you not just tin the new metal? Lead solder will bond to steel and it won’t rust. Until Bondo appeared, wasn’t this the way to do such a repair? What am I missing?


(phillip keeter) #34

Lead has become an “EVIL” commodity. Makes procurement difficult.

(Rob Reilly) #35

Certainly some of us still do lead filling. It takes time to learn and time to do, but if done right it lasts for decades.
You can get lead soldering kits from Eastwood.com and others.
Here is a front fender from a Mark V, with the headlight and sidelight pod seams lead filled.

(Jochen Glöckner) #36


I wouldn’t dare to say that SI and II cars never suffer from window channel rust - it’s just that they don’t rust by far as much as SIII cars. The rubber profiles have two (relevant) grooves: one for the glass and one for the steel. Only if the rubber hardens out or gets porous, water will get in. On another car I was able to recover a rubber seal at +30 years of age with some 3M elastic sealant and it’s still water proof after +40 years now.

SIII cars have glued in front and rear windows. One issue seems to be that the glue over time seems to harden out, shrink and let water in. Another thing is that there is a fake seal around carrying the trim. It seems water gets trapped underneath this cover and then has a lot more time to cause rust than on cars like your Jetta with an even surface. To find more about this “feature” search for window rust and Gregory Andrachuk - I think he posted the most profound analysis on this matter.

As regards repair it is certainly an option to lead the channel area to flatten and smooth an otherwise rust-bitten surface. I doubt though that the stability of a steel edge could be restored with some lead, once it is lost. Maybe you can find some pictures of a rusty window channel.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(tony) #37

They do!..and its an absolute mongrel to repair.

The issue for (all) cars is the rust may perforate both inner & outer windscreen lip, which are spot welded together, and damage interior areas, from water running down.

If this is moderate/bad, it requires new inner & outer channel to be formed, welded in very accurately, remove entire dash & electonics, usually some floor repair.

reckon I spent over 100hrs doing a rear screen, that had externally a match head of rust.

Still to do the front, and I reckon it will take longer, as I know it leaks, and part of the A-pillar will needed to be removed, hand-formed, welded back in etc etc

and yes, heaps of lead all around the windscreens, at least on S1 & 2

(Frank Andersen) #38

It’s probably more to it than that, Tony…

The S1/2 windscreens were held in place by rubber seals, which, in case water got in, also allowed water to evaporate out. And the rim would prevent water entering the cabin.

However, I think the main problem with the S3 is the ‘glued in’ windscreen. It relies on sealing by the seal adhering to the paint, and the paint adhering to the metal. And the only rust protection is the paint - if that looses contact with the metal, water will enter, and stay. Rust starts, and once started it never sleeps - causing further paint lifting.

As the body, however stiff, flexes; load is applied at the paint/sealing itself - which was not the case with the S1/2 rubber seals. Whether paint paint/application quality plays a part is a separate factor…?

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

(Tony Higgins) #39

I did not envision this degree of damage. So, by the time water is getting inside, the damage is extensive. The bad part seems that you really can’t tell what condition a prospective S3 w/s frame is in just by looking. If water is getting in, I will walk away or regard as a parts car.

Good point, temperature cycling and flexing over time will eventually cause failure if the glue interface surface is not large and flexible (thick seal/gasket) , as it appears to be with my VW.
My view that S3 is the best pre-OBD XJ generation is changing. I had read about the XJ family when I first became interested in Jaguars, and one source (Wikipedia) dissed the S2 because of it’s Leyland pedigree. I had already witnessed the Leyland curse in a friend’s 1972 MGB so I did not question it. However, no mention of this w/s rust issue -which seems widespread -was made in the article’s S3 section.
In any case, it remains that S3’s are the most abundant, so I will proceed with caution, armed with the new knowledge you folks have graciously provided!

(Jochen Glöckner) #40


from 1968 to 1992 series I - III Jaguars are primarily Jaguars, not Leylands or Fords.

It is true that during the !970s much of the workshop troubles typical of UK car industry at this time affected also Jaguar resulting in partly poor built quality and following consumer dissatisfaction (“Jaguar … nice cars, but it always takes two of them to keep one on the road!”). Yet, the cars still around after 40+ years give ample evidence that not everything was terrible and most things that may have gone wrong then were sorted out in the meantime.

It is not true that John Egan created a different company after 1980. While the myth has been continuously kept alive, it should be mentioned that industrial unrest was done away by Margaret Thatcher and that the SIII cars produced under John Egan would mostly give customers that “perception of quality” that was typically missing in earlier cars: plush carpets, carpet trunk lining and more veneer in the cabin did the trick. All those improvements were in part paid by some losses in non-visible quality. To give just one example: on SII cars the metal crash roll carriers and the steering wheel carriers are primered and look nice after all these years. On SIII cars they are not and even in a dry environment will have started to develop surface rust.

Another thing, though, is rust prevention: during the 1970s many European car producers made use of steel supplied by the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact states in performance of bartering treaties. These steels were highly rust prone, as they weren’t pure from the beginning causing electrolytic reaction from inside. Jaguar, it seems, was one of them. But again - look at the cars, and, if they are good, they are good, no matter whether SII or SIII, and vice versa.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)