Car Review, Figures and Specs for the Jaguar XJ 12 5.3 - [1972]

1972 Jaguar XJ12

Experimental Jaguar

The feline figure from which Jaguar cars proudly display this animal infers an image of raw power and beauty but with a smidge of elegance. This is what a Jaguar car should be too. Prior to the XJ, Jaguar models had started to lose this focus, consequently Jaguar rationalised their confusing range of saloons into a more distinctive singular model, the XJ. As planned, the XJ helped re-focus on Jaguars success, luxury cars which also boasted raw power and speed. The "XJ" designation was from the car's code name used during development, standing for Experimental Jaguar. It wasn’t until 1972 when the sweet 12 cylinder power plant was shoe horned into the XJ range to create the famous XJ12 and the more upmarket Daimler Double Six. The V12 came straight from the E-Type as did the independent rear suspension, a reminder of Jaguar’s aim of streamlining production, although the body was entirely new.


World’s first production 12 cylinder car

The XJ12 was differentiated from lesser XJ’s aesthetically by featuring a simplified vertical slatted grill with the V12 badges at the front and rear. Fog-lights, tinted glass and mud flaps were optional extras for the XJ12 (standard on Vanden Plas) The XJ12 also looked more purposeful due to wider profile wheels and tyres. It was powered by a 5.3 L V12 engine (coupled to a Borg Warner Model 12) of which 3,235 of these first generation XJ12s were sold. The XJ12 was lauded as the world’s first production 12 cylinder car, however, in hindsight maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. The ensuing oil crisis of the 70’s hindered sales but the XJ12 was still a popular model worldwide regardless.

Classy luxury muscle cruiser with a V12 soundtrack

The XJ and the XJ12 were marketed as luxury saloons with a performance twist. The ride of the XJ was class leading in terms of comfort and the performance of the V12 didn’t disappoint either. Anti-roll bars and coil sprung suspension helped with road handling whilst the V12 pushed the XJ12 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and a top speed of a respectable 145 mph. This ‘Jag’ seems to suggest an air of masculinity whilst also managing to ooze class but without being pretentious. The XJ12 is growing in popularity as a British Classic and as a consequence their values are appreciating too. Although due to their age and the dreaded tin worm it seems that only the best models are left which carry a premium but well worth the money. What car can boast to be a classy luxury muscle cruiser with a V12 soundtrack, have a heritage for motor racing and still be relatively affordable?


Positive  Luxury muscle cruiser with a V12 soundtrack

Negatives  Watch out for the tin worm.

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