A Jaguar straight-six is a good thing, we can probably all agree on that. So double-six must be double-good? Well yes, you won’t hear any arguments from us…
The original Daimler Double Six launched in 1926, packing a sleeve-valve V12 engine wrapped up in imposing coachwork filled with luxurious trim. The name was reprised in 1972, when Sir William Lyons retired from Jaguar and Lofty England took over as chairman. Lofty had been a Daimler apprentice back in the 1920s, and had a keen fondness for the old nomenclature; given that Jaguar’s venerable 5.3-litre V12 was now being fitted to the XJ6 range, he decreed that the Daimler-badged variant ought to use the classic Double Six moniker, and that’s the car you’re seeing here.
This isn’t a 1972 Double Six, of course. As the XJ6 evolved through Series 1, 2 and 3, it remained in gently transforming production form until 1992, and the car we have today is essentially the Daimler equivalent of one of the very last Series 3 XJs. This makes for a brilliantly complex stew of styles and emotions: 1970s design, 1990s appointments, and all carrying on that quintessential character of the original 1926 model: a lusty V12, wrapped up in imposing coachwork filled with luxurious trim. A timeless formula.
Having spent all of its life in Japan, this Double Six has only been in England for a few months. There’s a growing keenness among Jaguar and Daimler aficionados to track down these ‘re-import’ models, as they’re invariably in better condition than their UK counterparts: built on the same production lines as UK-market Jags, they enjoy a few spec tweaks to tailor them to their intended market, and the nature of being a premium luxury import in Japan means they tend to live very pampered lives.
As well as the huge expense of buying them in the first place, these cars are subject to extremely stringent annual tests, and are often treated as rarefied possessions that only get used on special occasions. Add into this the fact that Japan has a warm and temperate climate, with no gritting of roads happening in winter, and it’s possible to find classic Jaguars and Daimlers that have been trapped in amber in the land of the rising sun, and make their way back to England in remarkable condition.
And such is the case with this Double Six. With very low mileage and a comprehensive service history, it’s in outstanding condition inside and out, mechanically tip-top, and ready for some old-timey British wafting.
The recently-issued V5 lists the car’s date of first registration as May 1st 1992, and it’s first UK registration as April 1st 2021. We can see that it was entered into an MOT test on February 15th of this year, and sailed straight through with no advisories.
The file contains all of the original books and manuals in the correct wallet, and the service history is huge. It’s all in Japanese of course, but the kilometrage numbers are easy enough to read and we can see that this car has been serviced fastidiously and regularly.
The Daimler has been properly converted to UK spec, which isn’t a lot of work but just tidies up a few details so it looks like a British-market car: the correct-sized number plates, for example, and the speedometer reading in miles-per-hour.
The remarkable trick that the late-model S3 Double Six pulls off is that it has the air of a 1970s cruiser, while actually being a couple of decades more modern; even so, this car is still twenty-nine years old, but you wouldn’t think it given how incredibly tidy and fresh the cabin is.
The leather seat trim is in excellent condition throughout, with very little wear at all and no marks; they’re all still nicely stuffed and supportive too. The wood trim on the dash and door cards is in superb condition, and the carpets are excellent throughout as well. The original Jaguar radio-cassette and trip computer are fitted, and all appears to be in working order.
The electric windows all work, as do the electric mirrors and central locking. Inside the boot it’s all tidy and dry, and features the standard-issue Jaguar toolkit (all untouched and complete, with its original spanners, bulbs and paint touch-up kit), the jack, correct spare wheel, new battery, plus a complete set of Daimler overmats.
This is a near-unbelievable interior for a 1992 car, it’s absolutely super throughout; it’s absolutely joyful.
The Solent Blue paint suits the Double Six so well, looking almost black in low light but transforming into something altogether more summer-like when the sun hits it.
The bodywork of the Daimler is excellent; as you’d hope of a Japanese re-import, there are no signs of visible corrosion, and furthermore there are no scuffs, scrapes, chips or dents. All of the correct chrome trim is in place, in great condition, along with all the correct badges, plus a Jaguar leaper on the nose.
The window glass and light lenses are all good, the bumpers are free from scuffs, and the doors and boot all close with pleasing solidity. The car is fitted with its original 15” alloy wheels, in lovely condition with no marks or kerbing, and they wear quality Yokohama tyres with plenty of tread.
There really is no substitute for a V12, is there? The woofly sound, the torquey delivery, the sumptuous fusion of smoothness and eagerness – Jaguar’s 5.3-litre unit may not be one of the most beautiful engines to behold, but it’s certainly one of the most charming and charismatic.
The fact that this car has always been so carefully maintained and serviced is made extremely obvious from the test-drive. After a few rapid spins of the starter, the V12 awakens and immediately settles into that trademark lazy idle, the dials registering the correct pressures.
The gearbox is slick and smooth, and the engine pulls strongly through the revs just like it should. The steering feels proper, the brakes are reassuring, and the suspension is just as it should be with the Double Six offering a wonderfully cosseting ride. It drives exactly as you’d want a Daimler to.
The last-of-the-line Double Six held a lot of enthusiast appeal back in the nineties; at the time, it was like buying a classic Jaguar/Daimler with modern performance, appointments and reliability. Today, that kind of makes it a classic-squared – all of the retro appeal of a fully-loaded nineties Jag, with roots stretching back far further. It’s a nice dream, for sure, and the reality of this particular example is rare fruit indeed. The condition of this Japanese re-import Double Six has to be seen to be believed – it’s astonishingly tidy and original inside and out, and it drives utterly superbly. With extremely low miles and a comprehensive history, there are no secrets or surprises here; whether you’re looking for a trophy-scooping show winner, an appreciating collectible or a classy daily driver, the car you want is right here.
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