Replacing the legendary E-type was never going to be easy for Jaguar – and radical thinking was going to be needed. Ian Nicholls charts the development of the prototypes which helped shape Jaguar’s brilliant 1970s GT, Projects XJ-21 and XJ-27.
Initial thoughts: the XJ21 project
This car has a different nose, but which came first?
Above are Malcolm Sayer’s designs for an XJ21 roadster and coupe
The above images are models of what appears to be XJ21 proposals
Moving on: XJ27
With his impending retirement at the age of 70, Sir William Lyons was left to set up a Jaguar styling department. Here is an early effort at an XJ saloon based GT for the XJ27 project penned by Lyons’ men, or this could be the XJ 3-litre mentioned earlier?
An XJ27 styling model
XJ27 clay model showing two different front-end treatments. The left-hand one is quite close to that of the production XJ-S
Clay model or running prototype? The number plate is deceiving! According to one source the first prototype was produced in 1969
A rear view, but is it the same car? Note the E-type badging and reference to the 4.2-litre XK engine, a powerplant the production XJ-S never used, although it was at one stage proposed and running prototypes were built. However, the XK engine’s extra height required a different bonnet shape and the project was abandoned
Apart from minor details, this prototype is close to the production XJ-S announced in September 1975. The styling of the XJ-S was frozen in 1972