The development of project XJ40 started way back in 1973, but it wasn't until 15 years later that the XJ series was released. So why the long gestation period? You can blame the fuel crisis in 1973 and then a lack of funding.
It was in October 1986, at the British International Motor Show, that Jaguar first introduced the XJ6 model which turned out to be the saviour of Jaguar. In the early years of the XJ, the engine options were 2.9 or 3.6 and buyers could spec it as an XJ6 or the much plusher Sovereign model like the one we have here today.
In 1989, Jaguar was taken over by Ford and a huge cash injection into the company saw some issues with Jaguar's electrical problems resolved. There was also the introduction of the new and improved 4.0 litre 24 valve engine which replaced the 3.6 litre. In 1991, the 2.9 was replaced with the 3.2 litre. Both engines proved to be a welcomed improvement to the range.
This 1990 Jaguar Sovereign 4.0, was supplied by Henlys Limited of Chester on the 6th August 1990. It was sold to the current family in 2006. The family member who purchased the Jaguar owned a garage where he had been servicing the car for the past 5 years. The car came up for sale and as it was such a clean example, plus having worked on it for the past 5 years, he knew the car inside out, so really it was an opportunity not to be missed. A deal was struck and the Jag was purchased, where it was used for just a couple of hundred miles each year up until late 2009/2010. Since then the Sovereign has been kept in dry storage, with regular starting.
The car has gained another owner on the log book after the family were advised to place the Jaguar into the owner’s wife’s name when the owner sadly passed away, but this still only makes the Jag to have had 3 previous keepers.
The Jaguar has a full service history and has been regularly serviced. Prior to 2006, the car was only covering limited miles, sometimes as little as 1,000 miles a year, but was still regularly serviced. After 2006, the car was covering even less miles, with as little as 200 miles a year. Bringing the service history up to date the car has just received a service on 22nd March 2021, ready for it’s new home.
The V5 is present and shows 3 previous keepers.
The MOT certificate expired on 28th July 2010. However, the seller will be putting a fresh MOT on the Jaguar by the time the auction ends.
Just like the day it left Henlys of Chester, the Jaguar still retains the encyclopedia of an owners manual, the wallet and service book, which holds an impressive 18 service stamps.
Open up the door of the Jaguar and you step right back to 1990. The electric leather seats are just nicely worn in, with no real signs of wear, just some age related creases and on the electric side of things work just as they should. The rear seat looks like it’s had no real use and is in excellent condition. It's all about the attention to detail in the Sovereign, and fitted in the headrest of the front seats are some courtesy lights for the back seat passengers, which are working correctly.
Sitting in the driver’s seat the burr walnut dash trim is in excellent condition across the dashboard. There is a split approximately three inches long just below the glove box in the lower section of the dashboard. The odometer is showing 79,397 which tally’s up with the service and MOT history. There are no engine warning lights. One light that does stay illuminated is the door open light, which could be a door switch, but this would need investigating. One very 90’s touch is the addition of an electronic immobiliser. Moving to the center console, the Jaguar still retains the original radio cassette. No tapes were available to test this, but it is believed to be working. The windows all operate correctly and as far as we could tell everything else works as it should.
The carpets are all in excellent condition with no real signs of wear and the same for the headlining. The door cards are all in a tidy condition with just a couple of age related scuffs. The rear offside door card has come away a little in the middle and there's a small nick in it. This could be refitted quite easily to rectify where it’s come away.
In the large boot of the Jaguar the carpet is spotless. The spare wheel is present with the jack held behind it. The boot floor under the carpet is nice and clean as you would expect. The boot lid does require two new gas struts as these have lost pressure and will no longer hold the boot open.
The 1990 Jag presents very well, finished in Savoy Grey Metallic, it looks to have had an easy, well cared for life. Starting at the front, the two rectangle headlights are in good condition with no chips or cracks. The nearside indicator does have a small crack, but this doesn't affect it, the offside one is fine. The bumper is free from any scuffs and the chrome finish to the top is bright and clean. The classic Jaguar grille is nice and bright with no signs of pitting to it, and holds the Jaguar logo. There are a couple of stone chips, but definitely less than you would expect on a 1990 car. On the nearside edge of the bonnet there is a small rust bubble that the family member says “hasn’t got any worse in years''. The bonnet mascot is in place and the bonnet aligns up with the wings as it should.
Around to the sides, and the door panel gaps align uniform and straight. The chromework around the windows is all nice and clean, with no damage. The front nearside wing has received a small repair at some point to the bottom back edge of the wing, but this is not really noticeable. There are a couple of small age related dinks, but it must be said you do have to catch them in the right light to spot them. On the offside quarter panel is the aerial for the radio, this has a rubber seal around it that has perished away.
Onto the rear of the Jaguar and again the boot aligns nice and straight. As already mentioned, the gas struts do need to be replaced. The lights have no cracks or splits, the rear bumper is free from scuffs and like the front, the chrome is bright and clean. Something not seen very often and nice to see is the original dealer number plate and dealer window sticker still on the car. Either side of the number plate are the Jaguar and Sovereign badges. These do have some water ingress.
The wheels on the Car do have some areas of corrosion on them. These could be quite easily refurbished, but they are generally in good condition. They have four matching Dunlop tyres that all have excellent tread on them, so the new owner has plenty of miles to do before replacements are needed.
In 1990, Jaguar replaced the inline-six 3.6 litre engine with the more powerful 4.0 litre, which produces 245 bhp and 289 ft-lb of torque, so that is definitely a plus point for the Sovereign.
The 24 valve 4.0 litre sparks into life at the flick of the key and sounds fantastic. There are no signs of any leaks that we could see and no unwanted noises that shouldn't be there. The engine and bay is clean and well presented and everything looks in order.
The seller reports that the car pulls strongly through all the gears and the automatic gearbox changes smoothly with no hesitations. The car drives and handles well and again, there are no untoward noises from the suspension or transmission. It stops just as well as it goes, with no juddering it pulls up to a halt nice and straight.
A 1990 Jaguar, top of the range Sovereign, with the impressive 4.0 litre engine. The car has only 3 former keepers, keeping in mind two of those were from the same family. A service history with 18 stamps in the book and owners manuals.
What's not to love about it? Quite easily a car that could be used on a daily basis or one to cherish away for a spot of weekend use and the odd classic car show. Either way, you wouldn't be disappointed whatever you decide to use it for.
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