1990 Jaguar XJ40 Vanden Plas Majestic
The Vanden Plas Majestic 1989-1990 was limited to 527 vehicles
In 1990 the US market received the Jaguar Vanden Plas Majestic. This was a rare SWB saloon built at a restricted pace of only 527 vehicles. These limited edition saloons featured an uncompromising standard of luxury. A Jaguar has always been an elegant grand tourer. The Vanden Plas was the grandest of the grand tourers but the Majestic was the epitome. It was equipped with all of the creature comforts and was the most opulent way to travel Jaguar. The Vanden Plas Majestic retailed for $53,000 new.
Finished in dazzling Regency Red, the Vanden Plas Majestic had signature features unique to the model. It had special wheel and interior designs to go along with its exclusive exterior. The exterior had hand polished diamond turned alloy wheels with Regency Red spokes. Special gold-plated badges were affixed to both sides of the rear license plate. The featured Vanden Plas Majestic has whitewall tires and standard alloy wheels.
The interior was trimmed in luxurious magnolia leather with contrasting mulberry piping hand stitched by Connolly Brothers. The leather not only upholstered the seating but the door panels as well. Rich hand-crafted walnut graced the fascia, door inserts, center console and rear seat fold out tables with courtesy lighting above them installed into the backs of the front seat headrests. High intensity reading lamps, individual rear headrests, and the contoured rear seats gave the saloon a limousine-style ambience. Wine colored carpet with plush red sheepskin rugs were elegantly under foot.
Grace, Space, and Pace are the Jaguar motto. The Vanden Plas Majestic was powered by the 4.0 litre AJ6 I6 DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with computer controlled ignition. It used Lucas electronic fuel-injection. This engine produced 223 hp @ 4,750 rpm with 377 Nm of peak torque @ 3,650 rpm. The engine was mated to a ZF 4HP24 4-speed automatic transmission with a lock-up torque converter. It featured the “J-Gate” transmission which allowed manual shifting without accidentally shifting to neutral or reverse. It went from 0-60 in 8.6 seconds, 0-100 in 9 seconds and had a top speed of 140 mph. It rode on a 113″ wheelbase with a total length of 196.4″, its width was 70.8″.
From 1992-1994 The Majestic name was also used for the special build LWB XJ40 of which only 121 were made. These vehicles started out as SWB units, and then they were removed from the assembly line and stretched by Project Aerospace in Coventry, then returned to Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations for hand finishing. The Daimler branded cars were of the highest level of trim and were sold by the Vanden Plas name in the US. The single rectangular headlamps, fluted radiator grille surround, and boot lid plinth were distinguishing features for the Daimler/Vanden Plas.
The Vanden Plas Majestic included as standard power windows, central locking system with boot release, automatic climate control, AM/FM cassette stereo (no CD player yet, hadn’t been introduced yet), trip computer, cruise control, power mirrors, digital instrumentation, rear seat center console, front and rear fold down center armrests, and a rear cabin climate control system to name a few. No Navigation systems or iPod connectivity, remember this was the 1990s.
The infamous leaper was banned in some countries for safety reasons, it is no longer used.
The Jaguar Vanden Plas Majestic is a very rare and beautiful car. Jaguars have always been noted for their elegance and style. Their uncompromising standard of luxury was exemplified in the Vanden Plas Series. The Vanden Plas Majestic escalated this saloon to limousine standards, all of the comfort and convenience combined with the power to move with aplomb were all eloquently expressed in this ultra-luxury saloon.
Click on photos to enlarge for detail
My brother recommended I might like this website. He used to be entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You cann’t believe just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
I own one of the 527, a 1990 car. It is truly a very special experience, even when filled with groceries.
Absolutely love my majestic as well I guess thats 2 owners down wish I could get original msrp out of it.
I bought my first 1990 majestic in 1991 and drove it for 8 years reaching 160,000 miles. It was the best car I ever had up to that time. It had everything including front and rear integrated radar detection and upgraded security system. I reluctantly sold it because i went to work overseas. When i returned to USA in 2003 I started looking for another jaguar to drive. I couldn’t find anything I liked better than my first majestic so I searched and found a one-owner 80k mile 1990 majestic. I drove the second one to 165k miles and reluctantly sold it too when i went overseas again in 2008. I will never move back to the USA so will never have the pleasure of owning another one but if I did I would get another. Too bad i live in asia now where cars are extremely difficult and expensive to import and must be RHD. Over those years I learned how to do all the work on the car to fix all the usual problems myself and i must say neither of them ever let me down. I drove them every single day and they just kept going and going. They both looked nearly new in and out when i sold them which is a testament to the quality with which these particular rare models were assembled.
Thanks for the nice story !
Thanks for the very good writeup. The item the simple truth is was a amusement bill them Headrest Screens. Peek superior to be able to a lot more added agreeable from you finding out! Having said that, what exactly is stay in touch?
I just inherited my moms 1990 majestic. My father bought is for her in 1990, it now has 63,000 miles. I’ve been the care taker of the car for the past 10 years. It is a special car, but to me it will always be my moms special car.
This message is for the web manager. I tried to respond to the inquiry below from Darek Lod and I think the comment went through but I’m not sure. When I go back to the original webpage, notorious luxury, I don’t see my first comment anymore or my second comment. They were both there yesterday along with Darek’s request back to me. Not sure what’s going on. I would like to try to post something photos with my comments but not sure how. I signed up with the worldpress account but that doesn’t seem to help either in fact I can’t find anything anymore through either access. I need your help trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Thanks, Richard Crowley.
Darek Lod commented on 1990 Jaguar XJ40 Vanden Plas Majestic.
in response to Richard Crowley:
I too own one of these beauties but until now had no idea how rare and unique it is. I bought it almost 10 years ago from the original owner and have it in climate control and with exactly 100K miles on her now, I drive it less than 100 mi / year. She is […]
Hi Richard Can you send me photos please and IF is any chance to see that car ? Thank you Darek
I have just found a barn find 1993 Jaguar Majestic in sorry condition. It should be ready for the road sometime next year. It has just 110k miles on it and is a 4.0 LHD. Looks cool even now 🙂
I was brought to this website looking for info on my neighbors car. It needs work on the ABS system and I was looking up parts availability. I was captured by the sheer luxury and workmanship of her Jaguar! MINT interior, super straight body with a little paint fade towards the rear roof. But what is really intriguing me is whether her car is one of the 527 of 1990 – 1992 or 121 for the years 1992-1994. It is a LWB but the V.I.N comes up as a 1990 model. Is has the fluted grille surround and fluted plinth in the rear. Can some clarify this for me Reading the article I surmised that from 1992-1994 121 cars were culled from the line at Coventry and made into Long Wheel Bases, so no LWB Majestics before 1992!?
They look similar in trim to a Daimler XJ40 sold in Europe.
Hello Gunnar! You quite correct, the Daimler “Double-Six” is a good example. They have different call series here in the US for 12 cylinder cars for our market. It is rather confusing with the series numbering, it’s a little baffling. But the series denotes the country where it is purchased. Like the “Leaper” hood ornament…it is outlawed in certain countries like Great Britain of all places. The Brits won’t mount it because they want cars produced for the UK to be “pedestrian friendly.” But think about it…if a person is on the hood of your car already…I think the impact from the nose would be rather devastating so a hood ornament removed doesn’t really matter!
Actually, they are basically the same vehicles with certain refinements for U.S. markets. Jaguar had specific names for certain markets. America requested exclusivity and supremacy in our motorcars. Daimler cars were a british name, we were excited by the exotic Jaguar (Jag-U-R) nomenclature with the famous leaper hood ornament that was actually banned in Britain because they are not pedestrian friendly in an accident.
Gold badges and special wheels set the Majestic apart from the Daimler.
Why of course there are trim variances. Different cars produced for different markest, but Daimler and Jaguar are from the same famliy tree just like GM clones. Look at how they fooled the public for many years. Look at Chrysler…they badge engineered many products, probably the most distasteful was when they manufactured the Imperial one year, then the next year it became “the New Yorker”, the Newport was then in the old New Yorker’s clothing. The majestic was a special limited edition trim level. Jaguar couldn’t afford to produce individual models, so they just added gold here a bit more wood there and like magic…there were different models. It takes billions of dollars in tooling to make separate automobiles. Jaguar was never an innovator…they copy-cated their way thru. With all of the electrical problems, the mechanical failures, they of all brands couldn’t afford separate tooling and dies. Look at the old Rolls Royce and Bentley models when they were stable mates. Up until the BMW/Volkswagen new age, a Bentley was merely a Rolls Royce with a different bonnet and radiator grille shell. Newsflash: automakers have been using this trick for many many years and gotten away with it. Do your Jaguar homework and you will see. Sir William wasn’t in a position to build separate models for all over the globe…he improvised! The Daimler Double Six, the Daimler Super Eight were variants, the Daimler Sovereign was a Jaguar MK 10 in some markets. it was badge engineering and different engine combos. Like ordering from a Chinese restaurant: one from column A and two from column B. The Vanden Plas and Vanden Plas Majestic are trim levels.The good ole’ US of A had certain requirements, this is why we have versions that the rest of the globe couldn’t get. Daimler and Jaguar had variants for different markets.
this car still for sale
Unfortunately not, these cars sell faster than you can say “Is it for…” They are popular. People purchase them and convert them to today’s technology. They will be priceless one day. The Vanden Plas, and Vanden Plas Majestic remain in the spotlight.
I found my 1990 Majestic for sale at a car show in 2011 and enter it into numerous shows every year, winning either Best Import, People’s Choice award or Best in Show. At my first show with it in 2012, at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, someone took a photo of it and it ended up as the Majestic Model in Wikipedia’s article, Jaguar XJ40. I was thrilled to find it there by accident while looking up more info on the model. Because I show the car so often, my Majestic has appeared on the internet in several places, in Hemmings Sports and Exotic magazine at their Saratoga Car Show. It most recently won, this June, at the Jaguar Club of Southern New England Concours D’Elegance Champion Division, Best Jaguar in Class. As a side note, one of the 527 Majestics was armored and painted black for the PM, Margaret Thatcher and a few of the Majestics were clandestinely kept in GB for a premium and a few apparently were imported back to Engand for the same reason. The Majestic is truly a great GT saloon with Grace, Space and Pace.
They are truly eloquent automobiles! Once all of the little idiosyncratic eccentricities are ironed out, they are most definitely a “keeper!” I have always been in love with the big cat! I was intrigued by them at an early age and have never forgotten them. I am glad I wrote something about them, they are some of my most read stories up there with Rolls Royce, Bentley and Cadillac. Have you seen the new Speedback GT? It is handbuilt upon the Jaguar XK alloy platform utilizing the AJ-V8 engine. How’s that for class? I am preparing an article on this new breed sports car as we type. Make sure to keep an eye out for it!
I have mine for sale 1989 Majestic with 74700 miles on it.
One of these is on Craigslist in Jacksonville, Texas for $400… Someone should save it.
I STILL HAVE MINE. IT HAS 142000 MILES ON IT. RUNS GREAT
IF I WANT TO SELL THIS CAR WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?
Hello Helen! If were you I’d hang onto it. Put it into the garage and leave it be, but crank it up and take it out on a nice leafy run every now and again. The Jags from the 20th Century will begin to appreciate like mad…the more that bites the dust, the more appreciation to the survivors. Look at the early Rolls Royce Silver Cloud series. They sold new from $15,000 to $25,000 depending upon the model. If it is a Mulliner-bodied version, James Young, and Park Ward…it appreciated ever more. They now fetch six figures. Imagine that happening to your car!
If you wish to sell, Google the EXACT make model and year. Pay attention to trim levels. See what the going prices are for your car. It really depends upon how many owners it had, oil leakage is a major issue with Jags from last century, and mileage. Of course, the cosmetics, collision damage, and how well it shows plays a major part in collectible cars such as yours.
Check with a local Jag dealer, look at NADA, DuPont Registry, and the bible to car collectors “Hemming’s Motor News.” This will give you an idea of how much to ask. But if I were you…I’d keep it. You’ll be sorry one day when you look at how the appreciation has sky rocketed. Remember too…the more of the vintage you are in vanishes to the great scrapyard in the sky…the more the survivors will fetch. Hope I helped you. There are buyers for your car all over the world. Oh, I almost forgot…Google Jaguar collector’s clubs…they will have all the variables available to price your car…But I say KEEP IT!!!
XJ6 Series are so beautiful!
I really want it.
However my goverment won’t to permmit what I get those cars.
Hi there! Where do you live?
Love this page about the XJ40, have a metallic blue Daimler 1990′ that I love, 140000km only. Runs like a dream, nice too read a well writen text by people with knowledge, so many bad Jaguar forums out there, the worst is this Facebook page that gets clotterd by morons.
I am now on a roadtrip too Arvidsjaur in the North of Sweden, the Daimler is running like a clock. Set the cruisecontrol to 140km/h by by Audi
Studying the photos I realise it looks identical to my 1992 Daimler 4.0 in U.K spec except for the badges and leaper. Can someone recall what singles out a Majestic from other models ?
Mine has sunroof as well.
So is this a rebadged Vanden Plas or a real Majestic ?
Only the serial (VIN) can tell.
Hello! Vanden Plas has a delicate fluted grille and another fluted decoration on the rear. The changes are subtle. And you are right about the Daimler, I like the “Double Six”. I got to drive one in London but I got frightened driving on the wrong side of the street on the wrong side of the car! Jaguar has Daimler badging in The UK. Go back thru the article, it will differentiate the refinement from Jag to Vanden Plas. Vanden Plas was a coachbuilding firm bought by Sir William.
I have a 1990 majestic w 12,000 miles was put in a heated garage for its lifetime, it is showroom without a flaw perfect new condition 50k takes it I had a new one and road it 50,000 miles sold it and bought this and added to my collection this is a showpiece.
I have an 89 Jaguar XJ40 Majestic built 6/1989 has the 4 round headlights USA market car as far as I know, must be one of the first ones? It is rust free and super clean I am getting a motor put in it. The original 3.6 was leaking oil and previous owner neglected it a tad so I see the value in it and how its a really awesome car to cruise around in and found a used motor cheap, we are doing the timing chain guides/ any gaskets that could leak, mounts etc, guidbo, trans. mount, trans. seal and rear main seal, water pump etc. delete the rear SLS suspension (I drained the dluid out and pulled the pump its down to bare block but I dont have the time or space to complete the work – a very good JAG mechanic is taking over and right now hes rebuilding a 60s XK-E race car its beautiful! People really love my xj40 as do I obviously or I wouldnt keep it! Plus its a classic now. Amazing it was a 55k dollar car new. I have the window sticker and books, most of the tools, and then someone added in a sony CD 10 disc changer and a CD changer controller, redid the head liner and everything works except the drivers seat belt door track is messed up. I hear those are lifetime warranty? The weld/slider metal piece the belt slides on the top of the drivers door is broken off it still slides but it gets stuck so I unplugged it as it kills the battery due to the broken piece being stuck in the way. Lap belt is still manual for now when I do take it to jaguar when everything gets done. I will ask about the belts
You GO! That’s the fun of owning a rare automobile! Putting it back together, the right way, is so rewarding! I have restored two Cadillacs and a Rolls-Royce. I love to see them go from Junker to Jewel! Good luck on your project! Take your time and do it right. Don’t shortcut anything because you will only have to back in time to do the repair all over again.
Owning one 1989 of the very few ones ever produced, bought it from the original owner in 1995, got sidetracked once buying a more reliable while not even by far as exquisite (the much more modern A8 at that time) and almost forgot about it in the tension of life. Now it’s the time to bring it back to life and I’m thrilled to have it soon back on the road where it belongs.
The original engine is 3.6 (was running great when driven last time) and it featured the digital instruments of which I never was a fan.
Considering the specs published indicate the 4.0 engine and the analogue instruments as standard (partially digital), how much of a sacrilege would be getting a transplant for those nit unimportant parts (including gearbox and I imagine rear diferential needed too)?
I know a restauration must include the original parts, I would save those anyway in restored condition but would prefer the slightly better 4.0 option for better performance. I already have a donor car for these parts.
What do you think?
Dude – you sound like me! I have so many cars I forget some of them. I got cars stored in two different cities. I have to look at my inventory list to keep track of them all. I think you are on a good start with your restoration project. Try to keep it as original as possible. I enjoy the thrill of the chase finding parts! You got a donor car, that’s always a good starting point. The funny part about that when I buy ‘donor-cars’ they become pristine works of art! I can never dismantle one without gilt! I see the poor car in dire need and I just feel sorry for it and it ends up looking better than the car I started restoring! It always happens like that.
Currently, I am restoring a 1993 Lincoln MK VIII that’s a one-owner in very very very good condition. The underside isn’t at all rusty. It came from Oregon where they do not use salt on the roads in the Winter. Everything on the car works – even the air suspension. When I bought it, I was just going to drive it as a beater, but when I actually looked at the car in all its components I’ve decided to make it very very very nice. It needs so little, the headlamps have to be replaced all the cleaning in the world will not restore them. I found THREE headlamps that look just fantastic. Two that I am using look like new. The original headlamps are the ugliest part of the car. In fact, they don’t even look like they should be on the car. I swapped out both headlamps and both cornering lamps. There’s one taillamp that I may replace. I notice when I wash it, water is behind the reflector. No biggie, most people don’t notice it but I do!
When you start your Jag – go for the electrical system and the engine/transmission first. Gather your cosmetics while working on the works. Take your time. There’s an entire world of parts out there and good old eBay is a great place to keep an eye out with a search that will send the items to your email box for consideration. I sit up all night sometimes looking for parts. That’s how I unwind.
You should see what I did earlier this year during our lockdown due to the virus. I polished a Lincoln Town Car to the point it looks like glass. I also worked on the MK VIII. I didn’t realize the car was so desirable until I got into its logistics. It’s powered by a 280-hp 4.6 litre 32-valve Quad-cam V8 engine. It’s a ‘pre-Cobra’ if you will! The car is FAST too! The owner kept the car up all of these years. It was the last 2 years or so when the owner passed away. That is when it stopped being cleaned up.
I’ve just about cleaned all the oxidation away. It has a professional paint sealant I don’t want to mess with so I am using Klasse All-In-One which doesn’t cut nor alter the clearcoat in any way. You should see the crud coming off and the beautiful glassy-black that is popping! It is quite a looker and everywhere I drive it draws curiosity. Some have never seen one and are shocked when I tell them its a Lincoln. It’s the “accountant’s hot-rod!”
Good luck with your restoration. Keep in touch, I love to see the results from a labor of love! Stay SAFE and by all means….STAY HEALTHY!
i keep hearing about the “mythical” 1989 vandan plas majestic models with round headlights. i may of found one. i bought a 89 vdp that has another plaque on the rear right that says majestic. the only bad thing about the car is the clear coat coming off other then that its like new. the car has 45k original and i bought it without looking at it although i can refuse it when i pick it up in the morning if i dont like the way it sounds.the guy wanted $1,500 but i got it for 1,000.i have not driven it yet so i dont know which motor it has.i know it does not have any rust nor is there red piping on the pics of the seats.anyhow if it runs good did i get a good deal? i was and am still looking for a 97 or 98 mercedes sl500 i just thought the vdp would give me something to play with until i find one and maybe put a few coins in my pocket.
thanks for having me here…tony.
Hello Tony! Be careful when you contemplate the purchase of older Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz motorcars if you don’t have an honest mechanic. Those cars can easily take you to the cleaners. Sure, $1500 isn’t bad BUT – remember what you’re dealing with here. The older Jags specialize in electrical nightmares sometimes resulting in re-wiring…that is expensive! You don’t want to spend all of your money on repairs. Sometimes it’s best to buy the same car costing a little more in better condition. You can easily exceed the cost of a new car fooling around with Jaguar and Mercedes maintenance..
They getcha with brake and exhaust system replacement. It’s stainless-steel so be prepared to shell out the big bucks. Just make sure to do your homework is my advice to all who desire to own these fine cars. They all have little idiosyncratic eccentricities that are just a part of the car’s make-up which we cannot get around. Oil leaks are a way of life with classic Jaguars.
A Mercedes also can become a Pandora’s Box when it comes to repairs and the cost to execute them. Parts and labor for Mercedes-Benz are outrageous but a good mechanic can find ways to help save money. Look for corrosion in the floor pans and around suspension components. The rear wheel wells should be inspected. Look at the door seams especially the bottom of the doors. Check to see if the drain holes are open.
On the chassis look for corrosion around the strut towers. Inspect all of the screws and bolts. The more time you take to inspect, the better idea of the vehicle you’re working with. This way, you will not run across anything you cannot handle. If you aren’t going to drive the car regularly, then park it and rebuild it S-L-O-W-L-Y- do NOT rush! Do NOT buy inferior quality parts to save a buck because you’ll end up doing even more damage to other components. Keep on top of maintenance, never drive these cars until they quit or you’re in for a rude awakening!
A good way to judge a car is how many owners it has run thru. If many people have been driving – forget it! Cars are like shoes, you cannot loan your shoes to someone else because they do not walk the same way that you do so when you get them back, they are slightly altered and you’ll be able to notice immediately!
Same way with a car, no two people drive alike so you’ve got all kinds of dynamics going on. If you find a one-owner – that’s ideal! I found a 1993 Lincoln MARK VIII 2-years ago in Portland, Oregon that has been owned by one lady since new. She has taken very good care of the car. No dents, stone pecking across the front, nor is there corrosion anywhere. The underside is very clean because they do not put salt on the roads in the Winter months in Oregon. This car has been driven regularly so it wasn’t allowed to sit – that’s a good thing! Cars turn into junk if not driven or cranked up regularly. The car’s A/C still blows COLD! This car is a cake restoration because it is all there matching numbers and all!
Good luck with your project! Just make sure: TO LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP! “The Leaper” on the hood can ‘leap’ you right into service-bay hell!