Jaguar Vanden Plas: Grace, Space, and Pace

Our feisty feline friend is on the prowl…

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Our beloved feline friend was marketed as “The new 1995 Jaguar XJ Series.” The XJ was re-engineered to be quicker, quieter, safer, and smarter than its predecessor. “More” is the operative word for the dramatic make over. The XJ for 1995 presented more power, more space, more comfort, more quietness, more driving ease and more security…it was more in tune with Jaguar tradition and the principles set forth by Sir William Lyons, former CEO of the brand. For $62,200 you could have parked this in your garage…X300 XJ6 Vanden Plas is the most luxurious JAG-U-R in the model year offerings. Grace, space, and pace received a new definition –

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The Jaguar XJ (X300) is a large luxury saloon built by the brand between 1994 and 1997. This is the first “XJ” built entirely under Ford management. This generation Jag, the X300, emphasized improved build quality, improved reliability, and a return to traditional Jaguar styling elements. The “New XJ Series” debuted at the October 1994 Paris Motor Show. The X300 Series was the result of a £200 Million facility upgrade which used automation and the latest technology. Their welding robotics were manufactured by Nissan.

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The X300 was available in both short and long wheelbase versions in various trim levels. Some markets had a limited selection of the X300 models and features. The North American version of the XJ6 was only available as a 4.0 litre equipped with aluminium wheels, leather interior, and air conditioning. Some models were not available in the North American market such as the Sovereign, Sport, Executive, and the Century. Manual transmissions were not available in North American markets.

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The highest trim level of the X300 cars are badged “Daimler.” In North American markets it is badged as Vanden Plas. The long wheelbase version is available only as the Vanden Plas in North American markets. These exclusive models featured all-chrome trim found on the Jaguar Sovereign. The upgraded Vanden Plas also included chrome door handles, a gracefully fluted radiator grille surround, and “Vanden Plas” badging on the rear boot lid. A total of 3,831 were built as the 4.0 litre with the standard wheelbase.

The Vanden Plas long wheelbase saloons had a production total of 7,989 units. This version offered an additional 6” for rear seat passengers. It was a limited edition introduced for the 1995 model year. The short wheelbase saloons measure 197.8” in length, ride upon a 113” wheelbase, and is 81.7” in width. The long wheelbase saloons measure 202.8” in length, ride upon a 117.9” wheelbase, with the same 81.7” width.

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The X300 maintained the sleekness Sir William used as styling continuity. The nose had a lower rake. Its fluted clam shell bonnet flowed into the headlamps. Jaguar designer Geoff Lawson is credited with the X300’s styling refresh. The car had a total freshening front to rear. The styling hasn’t changed much through the years. If you look at the X300 long enough, you can see the old Jaguar MK X (Mark ten) from the 1960s in its silhouette. Parked…the Jaguar X300 looks like a big cat ready to pounce –

Jaguar MK X 2

Jaguar MK X

Jaguar MK X 1

Jaguar MK X 3

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The Vanden Plas is the epitome of Jaguar elegance. It cossets its passengers in the lap of luxury. Upon entering the cabin, one is captivated by the heady Jaguar experience of aromatic leather and wood. This is an attribute shared by fine automobiles such as the Rolls Royce. It is part of the car’s character. This is that extra measure of luxury. Jaguar is best known for its elegance and style.

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The interior is tastefully hand-crafted with supple, natural grain Connolly leather. Rich, warm, walnut wood trim surrounds the cabin and is augmented by matching walnut picnic tables for the rear seat passengers. There are lambswool rugs in the foot wells for added luxury.  A new overhead roof console provides a sunglass compartment. It also houses controls for the sunroof and integrated 4-channel garage door/entry gate opener. The Vanden Plas escalates the XJ6 to superlative heights in comfort and convenience. These are some of the most lavishly equipped luxury sedans in the world. 

sunroof 1

sunroof 2

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The ultimate embellishment of British hand-crafting is evident throughout. Here are four of the most comfortable seats in the automotive industry. The seating is more ergonomically designed with a body-hugging contour. The twin individual rear lounge seats are separated by a double storage console with armrest. Electrically adjustable front seats are ergonomically designed with manually adjustable head restraints. Jaguar automobiles has a long history of elegant styling and performance. Sir William Lyons view of the brand was synonymous with the old-world luxury of the British upper class.

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Standard features for the Vanden Plas include: power windows, power door locks with centralized locking system which includes the boot lid, electronic leather trimmed tilt & telescopic steering wheel, speed-sensitive power steering, power brakes, and 12 position power front seats. The new climate control air conditioning system is completely automatic. It is a dual-zone system allowing two separate temperature settings for the upper and lower cabin.

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The X300 Vanden Plas is powered by the Jaguar AJ16 4.0 litre In-line 6-cylinder engine. Its cylinder block was new with redesigned camshafts. It uses an electronic engine management system without a distributor. This sophisticated new electronic management system constantly monitors and calibrates ignition timing and fuel injection. The electrical system was also all-new. Its elaborate engineering used corrosion-resistant gold-plated connectors.

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This normally aspirated 24-valve DOHC alloy 6-cylinder engine produces 245 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 392 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. This electronically fuel injected engine is mated to the ZF 4HP24E 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It has normal and sport modes. A new traction control system adjusts braking and throttle when wheels lose grip.

Longitudinal acceleration for this large front-engine rear-drive saloon is rated as 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.1 seconds, 0-110 mph in 27.7 seconds, and 0-120 mph in 38.3 seconds. It has a top speed of 145 mph. It does the ¼ mile @ 86 mph in 16.2 seconds. The big cat leaps with the tap of the accelerator.

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leaper

The “leaper” hood ornament is banned in some countries

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Special thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum

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“Here kitty…here kitty-kitty.” It appears as docile as a domestic pet – but tap the accelerator pedal and it becomes as relentless as its namesake. The formidable Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas was a Flagship saloon that prowled North American markets. It is wild…as a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jag-u-r…the beauty is there but a beast is in its heart –  

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Purrrrrrrrrfect finish: “Meow”

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3 Responses to “Jaguar Vanden Plas: Grace, Space, and Pace”

  1. Kene Arinze Says:

    Is it a V8 engine?

    • These posted in this story are inline 6-cylinder engines, It’s a rarity to find a V8 Jaguar. The AJ8 is one of the V8 Jaguar engines, and for more power there are 12 cylinder versions in other models such as the “E-Type” and the formidable XJ12. An extremely powerful version of the 12-cylinder is the European version called the Daimler Double-six. Happy Hunting!

  2. Have the same one, only in blue color, long wheel base. Its first live was in Florida 1997, and now his third is here in northern Bavaria, Germany.

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