The converters : Avon Jaguar Estate

When the Series III Jaguar XJ6 was launched in 1979, Mercedes-Benz had the the up-market estate scene pretty much to themselves, with Volvo and Citroën bringing up the rear.

Avon saw things differently, however, offering this ungainly conversion of the Jaguar saloon, which traded the base car’s inate elegance for a cavernous rear-end. Only some 20 years later would Jaguar contemplate introducing an estate car of their own.

Launched at the 1980 British Motor Show – where it was awarded first prize and a gold medal in the International Coachwork Competition – this conversion sought to offer Jaguar customers new levels of practicality, with 35cu ft of luggage space on offer with the rear seats in place, and over 58 cu ft when folded. In this configuration, the luggage deck was some 6′ 7″ long, and the car came with the £475 option of a rear-facing seat for use by children. The car had a payload of 10cwt, and rear suspension modifications were offered (in consulation with Jaguar themselves) for customers who expected to be carrying heavy payloads.

The Anthony Stevens-designed conversion used a Renault 5 rear hatch, skillfully mated to the vertical panel from the XJ6’s bootlid; the rear vent grilles were also sourced from the Renault 5. Based on the XJ6 4.2, the car retained the saloon’s overall dimensions and as the car required no mechanical alterations, Jaguar agreed to honour the car’s warranty (although Ladbroke Avon offered their own cover for the bodywork, paintwork and other aspects affected by the conversion).

Ladbroke Avon planned to build just 250 cars, each one finished to the customer’s specific requirements. The basic conversion work cost £6500 (plus VAT), and included the installation of an electric sunroof, vinyl roof, inertial-reel rear seatbelts, rear wiper/screen washer and the extension of the car’s central locking system to include the tailgate. The rear-facing child seat added £475 to the bill, while Dunlop chrome wire wheels could be added for a further £428 (again, plus VAT).

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

14 Comments on "The converters : Avon Jaguar Estate"

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  1. David 3500 says:

    Sorry, but that looks truely dreadful, with little in the way of cohesion or elegance. The Rover SD1 estate, albeit with a less utilitarian looking tailgate, would have been a far more appealing prospect.

  2. Will says:

    Looks like a hearse conversion!

    Their next estate – the X type – at least looked a lot elegant.

    The 75 tourer is an example of how to make a classy estate from a droop-rear saloon.

  3. Do the two different rear window profiles come as standard?

  4. Phil Simpson says:

    Would have looked better if the hatch were less upright. That way the roof could taper down like its modern equivalent & the saloon doors wouldn’t look so out of place.

  5. Chris Baglin says:

    It’s no beauty but full marks for initiative- using a Renault 5 tailgate was very clever. It would look far better in a darker colour (but not black for obvious reasons).

    I’d have one for curiosity value.

  6. Mike Humble Mike Humble says:

    Sorry… looks bloody dreadful

  7. Peter says:

    Typical of some 70’s English engineering. A good idea but amateur execution….

  8. Rip Cantrell says:

    Looks terrible, the only car to be seen dead in (hearse). It makes a SsangYong look handsome!

  9. Mikey C says:

    Did they do through the scrap yard, trying out hatchback tailgates until they found one that fit?

  10. Yorkiebusdriver says:

    Designed by R. Charles & S. Wonder?? The absurdly thick C pillars and mahoosive rear window really do look like it was a half arsed job. Relocating the fillers into the rear wings can’t have been that difficult surely?

  11. Yorkiebusdriver says:

    Designed by R. Charles & S. Wonder?? The absurdly thick C pillars and mahoosive rear window really do look like it was a half arsed job. Relocating the fillers into the rear wings can’t have been that difficult surely?

  12. Buy the new MG3! (Ianto) says:


  13. George Donni says:

    Out of 250 planned I do not believe that more than 20 got built. Highest body number I found was Nr. 18.

  14. Neil Hudson says:

    Some incredibly derogatory comments about this vehicle. Can’t say it was my favourite of the Avon car collection. However in fairness, the Avon Jaguar estate shown here won the gold medal for coach building in October 1980 at the Birmingham motor show, beating General Motors into second place.

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