There was never meant to be another XJ12 after Jaguar pulled the plug on the XJ Series 3, allegedly because under British Leyland ownership the S3’s replacement was designed to specifically not accommodate a V8 engine. Jaguar’s concern that the company would ‘throw a Rover V8 into anything’ being greater than the market potential from a luxurious über-Jag.
But Ford had different ideas when it took over Jaguar in 1990, and one of the first jobs it signed off on was a project to redesign the entire front end of the car to accommodate the 6.0-litre V12 from the XJS, thus giving Jaguar a credible rival to the top-of-the-tree Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series models.
The price of redeveloping the XJ40 (under the codename XJ81) would come in at more than £35 million – in isolation, a cost that Jaguar would have found extremely difficult to justify as the XJ40 was already heading into its final years. However, the decision to develop the XJ40’s replacement off the same basic architecture meant that the reengineering could progress, based on the V12 also going into the new X300.
Codenamed X305, the V12 variant of the X300 was available soon after launch and was sold as both a Jaguar XJ12 and a Daimler Double Six.
The V12 engine was, naturally, much heavier than the six-pot as well, meaning Jaguar had to create stiffer, more heavy duty springs for the front end, which were compensated for by a smaller anti-roll bar to allow the softer and more cushioned ride to which V12 Jaguar buyers were accustomed.
This example has to be one of the very best X305 XJ12s you can get your hands on, with a low mileage and an absolutely unbelievable amount of money spent on its restoration – it had over £35,000 spent on it in a two-year period, and has covered just 2,500 miles since.
One of just 564 cars built, this XJ12 was supplied new by Paramount Jaguar in Cardiff who maintained it for the first few years of its life.
The car was then laid up at some point in the mid-2000s before being acquired in 2011 by a Mr Snow in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Between 2011 and 2013, Mr Snow spent an absolute fortune on the car, having it fully recommissioned - his intention being to create as close as possible to a brand new XJ12 as he could.
Having completed the work, Mr Snow sold the car via a high-class auction house in 2015 and it has been in the care of two Jaguar enthusiasts ever since .
It is now being offered for sale via a highly respected Jaguar specialist who has been responsible for its maintenance over the past two years.
There is a file documenting the entire restoration of this car and every penny of the £35k-plus spent on it.
Literally nothing has been left out. From a £5,000 bill for an engine rebuild to receipts for two or three pounds here and there for trim clips and bolts, every single piece of expenditure has been recorded and put in a lever arch folder.
While it is absolutely astonishing that somebody would spend this kind of money on a car like this, what the documentation shows is that this must be one of the very best remaining X305 XJ12s and is assured the status of being a proper future collectors’ car.
As well as the restoration documentation, the car comes with its original book pack, service guide, owners’ manual and service book, which is stamped by the supplying dealer up to 2002.
Whilst not as opulent as a Daimler Double Six, the XJ12 is still a very special place to be.
The cabin of this car is in fabulous order with no rips or tears to the biscuit hide and very little wear to the carpets or door cards.
Being picky, the LCD display on the digital clock is worn and some of the digits don't display properly. But the fact that something as trivial as that is all we can pick up on goes to show the overall standard of what is a truly incredible car.
All of the wood veneers are in superb condition including the extremely rare bespoke XJ12 panel that sits over the passenger airbag, with a V12 logo printed in gold leaf.
The boot is fitted with an optional load bay carpet with an embroidered Jaguar logo, while up front the car retains its original toolkit tucked inside the inner wing, which is complete and in perfect condition.
D12 CYL looks absolutely resplendent in its Kingfisher blue paintwork. During the restoration, the car was taken back to bare metal, rustproofed, zinc primed, painted and double lacquered.
Although the work was carried out almost a decade ago, it still looks fabulous today with very few blemishes. On close inspection, there's a very small amount of bubbling under the paint on the rear valance panel . Otherwise, the car is in absolutely superb condition.
The alloy wheels are unmarked as is the chrome-work, while it has four high-quality tyres, all with plenty of tread.
During the restoration, both of the car’s subframes were removed, cleaned and powder coated and the car has been kept indoors ever since.
It has a full bespoke stainless steel exhaust system, the bill for which alone was almost £2,000.
Under the bonnet, the 6.0-litre V12 is immediately recognisable as a direct descendant of the original 5.3-litre unit, though the rocker covers and pipework are less fussy than they were when fitted to the XJS.
It’s a thirsty beast, naturally, but the Jaguar V12 is one of the smoothest and most responsive engines ever made. It’s stupidly addictive, even if driving it spiritedly makes the fuel gauge move one way as the speedo goes the other.
Underneath, the seller tells us the vehicle is immaculate, and almost "as new". Thankfully, there are pictures of the vehicle on the ramp in the gallery below.
Power is transferred to the road via a General Motors-sourced GM4L80E gearbox, which is a good one for the anoraks as it is one of the very few times in the history of the motor industry that Ford bought parts in from its arch-rival GM. The General was the only company that produced an auto box strong enough to cope with the big V12…
Given the money spent on this car and the full restoration, it comes as no surprise to learn that mechanically it is absolutely A1 throughout.
There is a huge amount to like about this car. First, it's an XJ12 and that, of course, means it's a fabulous car to drive.
Then there's the reassurance that it has been fully rebuilt and has covered a minimal mileage ever since. Oh, and there is the fact that it is simply very, very, very cool.
You will have to look long and hard to find another XJ12 that even comes close to this one in terms of its overall condition. Put simply, it is a truly beautiful car and must be one of the very best surviving examples of an extremely rare 1990s Jaguar.
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