Curbside Classic: Jaguar XJC V12 Coupe

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

This is one of exactly 1,873 Jaguar XJ-C V12 coupes ever made. Like a fine wine, I was saving it for a special occasion; but what better time to break it out than to coincide with today’s feature on Jaguar styling with Ian Callum. Undoubtedly, the XJ-C and XK-E are the two most divine, essential, and final manifestations of Sir William Lyons’ fertile Jaguarium. Never again would the leaping cat grace such a sublime creation. Given that Ian Callum’s difficult task was inspired by this very car, lets savor this fine vintage white Jag today.

We did an in-depth CC on an XJ-12 sedan a while back, so we’ll stick to mainly just drooling over this limited-production coupe version of one of the all-time handsome cars ever. Jaguar showed the Coupe in 1973, but technical production issues kept it out the showrooms until the 1975 model year. It should not come as a surprise that even with the delay, these coupes had problems with water leaks and wind noise. The Brits had none of the experience that Detroit did making pillarless hardtops; to my knowledge, this was Jaguar’s one and only attempt at this body style.

To have a graphic representation of how this car was actually built, one needs to just remove the inner door liner and see the welds of where two of the shorter sedan front doors were cut and welded together to make a coupe front door. Definitely not Body by Fisher technique. Since all the Coupes came from the factory with vinyl roofs, there was a presumption that it was done to cover up weld marks there too, but as our example shows, that was clearly not the case.

In all, just 8,378 XJ-Cs left the Jaguar works, ending in 1978. The bulk of them (6,508) were powered by the XK series six, and the rest by the V-12, whose problematic birth and early years we covered in that earlier CC. It lives up to its “turbine smooth” demeanor, when it’s working. Since this one is sitting around the corner from an exotic-car mechanic’s shop, it’s hard to say whether its turbine is spinning or not. Not our problem, right? We can just sit and ogle, and let someone else worry about the bill.

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Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Merc63 Merc63 on Mar 08, 2011

    Gorgeous cars. Always loved the look of them, and wil own one someday (but NOT stock). I'v ehad a couple Series III XJ6s, and other then rust on one from living in Connecticut all it's life, only a couple simple mods made them completely reliable daily drivers. Cleaning the alternator contacts made teh charging systems work all teh time, same with cleaning the fuel tank switchover contacts. But a stakedown kit in the head (a $35 part and a half hour of time) cured internal engine unreliability, and replacing the lucas starter with a bosch gear reduction unit cured all starting problems. I'd love an XJ12C like the one shown, and since there's no reason to leave it stock, redo the wiring with a street ord wiring harness and update the carbs/fuel injection and ignition with a MegaSquirt setp. Vastly simplify what's underhood as the engine itself is pretty solid.

  • Bigworm Bigworm on Mar 08, 2011

    paul you took these pictures of my car without asking for them so im gonna have to ask you to take them down now! you have no right take picture of peoples cars without asking them so im asking nicely please take them down and the mercedes and bmw in the pictures are mine too and you have no right posting them. so take my pictures down and we wont have a problem

    • Paul Niedermeyer Paul Niedermeyer on Mar 08, 2011

      If you don't want your car to be photographed, don't leave your private property with it, ever. The legalities of photographing cars on public property is a non-issue. Maybe you better tell google street view not to photograph people's cars and houses, and even the people themselves... Photographers have been shooting street scenes forever, fortunately. It makes for interesting history. Anyway, I don't work here anymore, so you'll need to take it up with the owners of this site, a corporation based in Canada. I'm sure your attorney will be happy to spend some time to look into it for you.

  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.
  • Billccm I think history is repeating itself. In the late 1980s the French acquired AMC. They discovered no easy money in that deal, Chrysler took AMC and Jeep is all that remained.Present day the French acquired FCA, discovered no easy money in the deal, and some Asian manufacturer will take what remains of Chrysler, and Jeep and RAM will be all that survived.To understand the future study the past.
  • Jalop1991 "why did the governor veto a bill to give me free gummint money?"
  • Jalop1991 absolutely. I'm probably coming into a 31 Model A, and there's a great retrofit system for that. It makes a bunch of sense.
  • TMA1 Been thinking about getting one of these for my mother. Skip the AWD and DSG, the FWD comes with an 8-spd. Good size vehicle for a woman who wants a SUV and has a small garage. Much better view outwards than the Mazda CX-30 I was looking at. Wish it had a power tailgate though - she's short.