Series 2 (1973–79)
Commonly referred to as the “Series II”, the XJ line was face lifted in autumn 1973 for the 1974 model year. The 4.2 L I-6 XJ6 (most popular in the United Kingdom) and the 5.3 L V12 XJ12 were continued with an addition of a 3.4 L (3,442 cc or 210.0 cu in) version of the XK engine available from 1975.
The Series II models were known for their poor build quality, which was attributed to Jaguar being part of the British Leyland group along with massive labour union relations problems that plagued most of industrial England in the same time period, and to problems inherent in the design of certain Lucas-sourced components.
Initially the Series II was offered with two wheelbases, but at the 1974 London Motor Show Jaguar announced the withdrawal of the standard wheelbase version: subsequent saloons/sedans all featured the extra 4 inches (10 cm) of passenger cabin length hitherto featured only on the long-wheelbase model. By this time the first customer deliveries of the two-door coupe, which retained the shorter standard-wheelbase (and which had already been formally launched more than a year earlier) were only months away.
Visually, Series II cars are differentiated from their predecessors by raised front bumpers to meet US crash safety regulations, which necessitated a smaller grille, complemented by a discreet additional inlet directly below the bumper. The interior received a substantial update, including simplified heating and a/c systems to address criticisms of the complex and not very effective Series I system.
In April 1975, the North American Series II got a slightly revised set of front bumpers which had rubber over-riders covering the full length of the bumper with embedded turn signals at each end. In 1975 V12 XJS / XJ12L cars and in 1978 the 4.2 6 cyl. XJ6L North American cars got the addition of Bosch-Lucas electronic fuel injection in the place of Zenith-Stromberg carburettors.
In May 1977, it was announced that automatic transmission version of the 12-cylinder cars would be fitted with a General Motors three-speed THM 400 transmission in place of the British-built Borg-Warner units used hitherto.
The 1978 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ 3.4, XJ 4.2, XJ 5.3, Daimler Sovereign 4.2, Double-Six 5.3, Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2, Double-Six Vanden Plas 5.3.
In New Zealand, knock-down kits of the Series II were assembled locally by the New Zealand Motor Corporation (NZMC) at their Nelson plant. In the last year of production in New Zealand (1978), a special ‘SuperJag’ (XJ6-SLE) model was produced which featured half leather, half dralon wide pleat seats, vinyl roof, chrome steel wheels and air conditioning as standard. New Zealand produced models featured speedometers in km/h, and the black vinyl mats sewn onto the carpets in the front footwells featured the British Leyland ‘L’ logo.
Though worldwide production of the Series II ended in 1979, a number were produced in Cape Town, South Africa until 1981.
A total of 91,227 Series II models were produced, 14,226 of them with the V12 engine.