Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5k: Fashion Faux Paws: 1973 Jaguar XJ, Chevy 350 swap

The Series I Jaguar XJ was the last out of the marquis to match superior driving dynamics and exemplary build quality with stunning design. It created the brand cachet that successive Jags prodigally exploited for decades. Power rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes pushed the technological envelope, while the power plant pushed the sheet metal to higher top speeds than anyone else while looking better than anyone else. So it's a little unsettling that someone with adequate means commissioned a build that settled for ordinary: Yet another Chevy 350/Turbo 400-series swap. Find this 1973 Jaguar XJ6 here on craigslist with 350/R700 four-speed swap for $4,995, located in Las Vegas, NV. 


This is the equivalent to an Applebee's steak, or a car inconveniently having starter issues at a pivotal part in a horror movie, or a seasonal Hallmark movie with a plot substituted for a string of lukewarm moral platitudes. They're not flawed, but they'll get a few points knocked off by your inner hipster for lack of originality. It's the same reaction that will keep you from watching A Christmas Story with a warm mug of hot chocolate. Again.


Specifications for this power plant are required learning in seven states, but here it is again in case you missed it: An easy 300 horsepower with a good static compression ratio and adequate breathing. The R700 four-speed automatic is a modernized version of the Turbo Hydramatic, and remembers more wars than your great uncle. This configuration has 30,000 miles and has been all over the Southwest with no issues.


The pearl white leather interior is perfect, as is the chrome trim and likely resprayed paint. This is the "have your classic luxury and drive it too" build that Ford tried in the late '90s; looks that mimic Grey Poupon in the back seat, but easy drivability for meandering around the Kohl's parking lot while listening to Maroon 5 on FM radio, you mainstream sheep. Despite the unoriginality, its low cost and excellent quality earn its place here. Because everyone has their price.


See a more unique build? VH45, RB26, Ford SVO, M62... email us at tips@dailyturismo.com.

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


12 comments:

  1. In the bearded Spock universe, there are 73 Malibus and Impalas with Jag V12's plumbed in. For reliability.

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    Replies
    1. KBZ, "bearded Spock universe" is COTD, IMO, YMMV.

      Delete
    2. thanks, C, but you know, i thought my comment over on the sunbeam thread was funnier - although, that was yesterday, so technically COTDY or COY or something, IIDSSM

      Delete
  2. As a former Jaguar Mk 2 owner, I want to hate this car. But I don't. It looks very nicely done, and the builder resisted bling-ing up the car. It still looks elegant, and even sporting from some angles. For $5K, I bet the new owner will get a lot of pleasure and a lot of attention out of this car.

    That being said, I really don't understand all these Jag engine swaps, The XK motor is a pretty robust piece, and (in my experience) rarely gives mechanical trouble. The ancillaries are more likely to require attention, but that hardly justifies throwing away a really lovely motor, that has its own unique character and charm (and no, those are not euphemisms).

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  3. Must have passed smog in Cal, at some time. White interior really stock for a Jag?

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    Replies
    1. Smog is not required for cars older than 1975 in Cal.

      Delete
  4. I wonder if this is not so uncommon a swap. Here is another one in CA on craigslist.
    https://slo.craigslist.org/cto/4798416594.html

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    Replies
    1. I tend to steer clear of any engine swapped car that doesn't include pictures of the engine bay.

      Delete
  5. I used to work at a Jag dealership as a porter when I was younger and apparently, back in the day, the dealership itself would perform this swap for customers purchasing a brand new car. The original engine was such a horror story of incompetent low build quality that people actually wanted the engine replaced before they drove it. I love these swaps to death, but I feel the need to point out that while it is a wonderful bolt on, the wiring still needs to be replaced entirely and with some skill. Not just some of the wires, these things used Lucas electrical bits that are just as bad as the original engine.

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  6. For those who don't understand just what the story is with the Jag motor, I'll point you to this one:

    http://www.jagweb.com/aj6eng/xk-engine/index.php

    The engine was a 1940s design built on bodged-together second-hand tooling, and the build quality was a function of how long the tooling held up and how long the workers actually cared about what they were building.

    By the mid '60s both of these were sliding, and they went straight down the storm drain with the advent of the '70s and British Leyland.

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  7. By the way, I happen to think that the Nissan VH45DE would make a bee-YUUU-ti-ful swap into one of these.

    Very powerful, smooth, fairly compact for a DOHC V8.

    There are gotchas, though. If you're buying a junkyard example you might want to pull the front cover and make sure the reason it's in the junkyard isn't a broken cam chain/guide. The Q45 installation also didn't provide for enough transmission cooling so slushbox condition may be a question too.

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    Replies
    1. Is that a particularly easy swap? The Chevy swaps are popular because they're just bolt ons that can be tackled by semi-amateurs with kits.

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