Concepts and prototypes : Jaguar XJ40, part 1

The first full-sized XJ40 prototype appeared in 1973, yet it wasn’t until 1986 that it actually went on sale – is this the longest gestation period in BL’s history?

Ian Nicholls charts the genesis in pictures…


From ’72 to ’77… XJ40 evolves

September 1972: Styling scale models

IT’S clear to see that the XJ40 programme was initially developed alongside the XJ27 project – the styling similarities between the two cars are readily apparent. And yet, the XJ-S styling really appears to work when upscaled into a four-door saloon, leading to some awkward and obvious conclusions that Jaguar designers probably wouldn’t want us to come to…


February 1973: The first full-sized clay model

A further development of the XJ-S style scheme as revealed in scale form above, the XJ40 has lost a little of its angularity at this point, and clearly shows that some of the concepts investigated in miniature were difficult to develop into full-size form. There are appealing XJ saloon stling touched here, especially around the flanks and wheelarches.


April 1973: Double sided clay model


More XJ-S styling tones here – and the angularity is back. It looks good, but not really Jaguar-like…


On the other side, a haunch has been added to give the saloon a more feline stance…


To the left, it looks like an XJ-S, and to the right, it looks even more exciting…


The boot-line of the XJ-S style car (left) looks the more interesting here…


The same car now covered in Dynoc, coloured and sat outdoors… looking good?


May 1973: The style decided?

A refinement of the XJ-S style is now looking like the way forward – and although it’s softer and less angular than its sporting cousin, this generation of XJ40 is now looking rather purposeful…


June 1973: Further refinement


August 1973: straightening the curves a little


Note the front spoiler now fitted, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class along for the ride in the background…


September 1973: management review

The style is now really taking shape – and it is in this form that the XJ40 would be presented to Donald Stokes and John Barber for their approval the following month…


October 1973: confidence grows


May 1974: Italian influence

Jaguar Managing director, Geoffrey Robinson, brought in the Italian styling houses, which resulted in the in-house stylists investigating more radical ideas from late 1973…


June 1974: Compare and contrast


This unappealing effort looks clumsy compared with previous proposals..


August 1974: Someone’s been to Solihull


October 1974: More development of a theme


March 1975: smoothing the wedge


September 1975: it’s starting to look rather good…


December 1975: Another double-sided clay


March 1976: That model evolves…


August 1976: That model evolves…

There appears to be plenty of work going on here, with two XJ40 prototypes being reviewed…


January 1977: nearly there…

Definitely getting close to the finishing line now – with real XJ6 (1986) styling cuse on the top proposal at least. Note the curious flush door handles on the bottom one… would they have been a winner on a luxury car?


March 1977: nearly there…

The main debate at this stage in the programme was whether the XJ40 was going to be a four- or six-light design. This four-ligter looks rather appealing… but didn’t win through sadly.


July 1977: More four-light ideas


Thanks to Ian Nicholls

Keith Adams

3 Comments

  1. Very interesting set of pictures. It started out as a very elegant looking car, ( the 1972 scale models ) – which the S3 XJ6 bore a resemblance to – and ended up ( XJ40 ) as the sort of thing you would walk past without ever noticing

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Archive : Jaguar XJ40 - AROnline : AROnline

Add to the debate: leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.