Concepts and Prototypes : Jaguar XJ40 – Part 2

By 1977, the XJ40 style was all-but defined. It seems amazing to us now that it would take a further nine years for it to reach production.

Ian Nicholls charts gives you the run-down.

From ’77 to launch – XJ40 is set in stone

Summer 1977

There’s still some indecision about the rear lamp treatment – to go for XJ6-style ‘gothic’ items, or for
something a little more conventional?

March 1978

Twin wipers, colour coded mirrors, and a rather ugly treatment of headlamps are the order of the day here.

November 1978

This smooth-flanked proposal looks very XJ6-ish, and it now looks as though the design team has plumped
for quad round headlamps…

Early 1979

But the true intentions are clear here – both quad- and twin-headlamps are still in the frame, although
it’s now decided that the alternative treatments will be used to differentiate between upper and lower
models in the range.

Note the number plate surround. It’s an insert that’s been placed between the rear lamps in order to
test out alternative rear styling treatments. Again, the idea is to have full width lamps for the upper
models in the range…

…and without in lower models. Note also the lower swage line.

The lower swage line is missing on the other side of the model – and the four-light look is still
very much in the frame.

June 1979

Further development of the overall shape sees the addition of more of that trademark Jaguar haunch at
the rear, and a gentler, more organic roof line. The integrated bumpers look neat, and would sadly be
dropped from the production car.

July 1979

Last gasp for the four-light. The haunched, smooth-flanked proposal looks good, but somehow manages
to evolve the old XJ6 shape even less than the production car.

The rear seems to be set in stone now, and it’s interesting to see that the production engineers had
already had a say on the design, by placing the chrome trim at the base of the C-pillars – anticipating the
famous join betwen the roof and the lower body.

February 1980

Nearly there – the shape’s just about set now, athough the headlamp arrangement still looks fussy.

Without the lower swage, the link with the outgoing car is incredibly strong.

And here we are. With the lower swage, we arrive at what is just about the definitive XJ40 shape.

June 1980

The first customer clinic model – Jaguar placed this model, which featured an interior, alongside the
BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class to gauge the opinions of potential buyers. The results were
overwhelmingly positive.

Thanks to Ian Nicholls

Keith Adams

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