At $5,500, Would You Let This 1980 Jaguar XJ6 Series III Class Up the Joint?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There’s nothing quite like driving a Jag. Smooth, cosseting, and unflaggingly refined, it’s an experience every enthusiast should have on their bucket list. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe XJ6 seems an excellent opportunity to cross that off. That is, unless its price crosses the line.

Proportions are important. I once read that we as humans respond positively to baby things because we like the disproportionately large head and big eyes that are in relation to body size exhibited by rugrats, puppies, and kittens alike.


That antipodal proportionment was a feature of yesterday’s Chalon-bodied 1971 Porsche 914, but in its case, it did it no favors. While clean over all and, obviously possessing the desirability inherent in all cars badged Porsche, its fat fender flares dwarfing what looked to be standard tracks front and rear gave the car an ungainly appearance. That, along with some wear and tear issues doomed its $9,950 asking to a substantial 73 percent Crack Pipe loss.

Before we get into today’s 1980 Jaguar XJ6 Series III, I need to confess that I have a deep connection with these cars and Jaguar in general. I’ve never owned one myself mind you but my wife’s family is all about the Jag. Her father, whom you might remember from this story, presently maintains a 1950 XK-120, 1966 XKE, and 2003 XJ8 as part of his collection. In the past, he’s had both XJ6 and XJ12 sedans, and amazingly they have all been brown like this car. Well, not quite—his were all caramel while this one looks to be more chestnut.

There are a number of other unique aspects to this XJ6 as well. All of my father in law’s sedans came with chrome-plated ornate steel wheels with gumdrop-nippled center caps. This one rolls on XJ-S alloys but comes with the 1980-only steel wheels and covers as well.


Being an ‘80, it’s a Series III which means that, among other changes, it possesses flush door latches in place of the handle and push button units on the earlier cars, and it has a completely re-sculpted greenhouse with a BMW-like Hofmeister Kink in its back-most pillar. That redesign by the way, was the work of Carrozzeria Pininfarina. Maybe you’ve heard of them?


Into the roof has gone what the seller describes as a dealer-installed moonroof. That seems to fit flush and should retract under the roof. That is, were it to be functional. I guess it’s a simple miracle that it failed in the closed position instead of open.


The rest of the exterior looks to be in fine shape, with no road rot evident and the luscious Jag bodywork on full display. These are serene cars in many ways too. For instance, you don’t slam the boot lid shut like you’re some uncouth cold beer-drinking philistine. Instead, you lower it to within an inch of its closed position and then gently push it home with an elegantly modest amount of force. It’s all very civilized.

The interior matches the exterior for its civility and state of repair. Here too though is uncharted territory for me. I’ve only ever come across U.S. model Jags, and in my experience those have all had leather upholstery. This one has tweed seating surfaces which the seller claims are out of a Euro model. I wonder if they’re actually out of Tito’s Upholstery and proved a more cost-effective solution than dead cow suits.


Regardless, it looks unique and seems to be in decent shape. The same can also be said about the lovely burlwood that spans the dash and trims each door cap. Over all, this looks to be a pretty swank place to spend some drive-time.


Under the bonnet lives Jag’s iconic DOHC straight six. Here that displaces 4.2-litres and outputs 205 horsepower and 231 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s backed up by a Borg Warner 3-speed automatic, running through a leisurely 2.88 rearend.

The engine bay looks clean enough, and the ad notes the replacement of plug wires, fuel injection lines, hoses, and belts so should the car fail, you’ll at least have headway in deducing the problem.


Jag owners are a unique breed. I recently attended a car show where the owner of a Series III had rebuilt the engine and bay out of four other cars. The result was something that looked as though it should have been displayed on a dais at a museum, but which had in fact been driven to the show. Yes, it took first in class.


This one may not be that nice, but it does seem to present well, and would seem to be a decent choice for anyone seeking to get in on the preferred Jag lifestyle. The only major hurdle in fact, might be its $5,500 asking price.


That’s not a lot of money, but the thing with old Jags is that you may actually want to spend more initially. That’s because a cheap one may actually be more expensive in the long run. It may not be the case with this XJ6, but that’s just what you’ll have to consider when making your vote.

And vote you now shall. What do you think, is this classic Jag worth that $5,500 asking? Or, is that price just asking for it?


You decide!


Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.