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).