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words & images:  Leanne Gichard

To say that Robert loves classic cars is an understatement and his latest acquisition, a 1973 Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 Saloon, is one sleek beast of a car.  I recently had the opportunity to chat with Robert about what attracted him to this classic Jag.

“About 1982 I had just got my fourth car, a 1971 Rover 2000. I was 17, working in a pizza parlour in Christchurch and the owner of the pizza parlour chain owned what was my dream car at the time, a Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 Saloon.  I always admired his car and thought one day I would love to have a car like that.  I have had, over the years, about 15 different model Jaguars, but have never had the Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 model. The Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 is far more collectable than the Series 2 or Series 3 models, and a Series 1 model in either fully restored or good original condition is really hard to come by.  This one is in immaculate condition and I found it in Christchurch on Trade Me.  The seller had withdrawn the auction, but I already had his contact details.  After some toing and froing, I managed to convince him to sell the car to me,” says Robert.

Robert’s 1973 Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 Saloon is a real beauty and exudes class and sophistication, but don’t be fooled, like its namesake, this cat can fly.  Powered by a 4.2 litre, straight-six cylinder motor, with auto transmission, the Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 can accelerate from 0 – 60mph in 8.8 seconds and has a top speed of 124mph – not bad for a car built in 1973.  Effortless acceleration and road-holding ability makes for a supremely comfortable ride.  Held up at the time of manufacture as being the world’s most beautiful saloon, the XJ6 could out-corner Jaguar’s own E-Type and had a ride that was said to be softer and quieter than a Rolls-Royce. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery come as standard features, but it is the detail in the finishing that really sets the Jaguar XJ6 apart.  Jaguar ensure that you can be in no doubt what brand of vehicle you are travelling in; from the iconic roaring jaguar head logo badging on the hub-caps, steering wheel and front grille, to the silver jaguar in full flight logo emblazoned on the outside doors, this vehicle screams, ‘Look at me!’

With elegant lines and a slender shape the Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 Saloon cuts a dash and certainly stands out from the crowd.  Painted in Regency Red, the body of the Jaguar shines like liquid glass and contrasts beautifully with the beige, vertically pleated leather upholstery.  The burled walnut dash adds another layer of luxury and houses an array of instruments.  Miles of gleaming chrome, curved twin exhaust tailpipes, four round headlights and a stylish ‘egg-crate’ radiator grille complete the picture.

So, what features appeal to Robert?  “I love the dashboard with all the dials and switches and fully wood grained panel.  The Jag has twin fuel tanks, which I like.  You can simply flick to the second fuel tank if you are running low on fuel.   After having had several Jags, I have finally found a model I have decided to keep,” says Robert.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.