Thursday 13th October 1966
The Jaguar 420 (pronounced “four-twenty”) was introduced at the London Motor Show and produced for two years as the ultimate expression of a series of “compact sporting saloons” offered by Jaguar throughout the 1960s, all of which shared the same wheelbase. Developed from the Jaguar S-Type, the 420 cost around £200 more than that model and effectively ended buyer interest in it, although the S-Type continued to be sold alongside the 420/Sovereign until both were supplanted by the Jaguar XJ6 late in 1968.
Autocar magazine was the first to get their hands on a Jaguar 420 in March 1967 and they were impressed with what they found: ‘The ideal cruising speed seems to be just over 100 mph… Engine silence is impressive in the lower speed ranges… Directional stability is very good indeed and cross winds have little effect; the car runs dead straight, calling for minimum steering correction, right up to maximum speed.’ The magazine concluded by saying: ‘Eagerly awaited since its announcement, the 420 in every way lives up to high expectations. It has an extraordinary dual character in that it can at one moment provide stately, luxurious travel for an elderly party, and behave like a high performance sports car the next.’ Top speed was an impressive 123 mph, 0-60 mph was reached in 9.9 seconds and overall fuel consumption was 15.7 mpg. Rival organ, Motor, had its say in May 1967 when they tested a 420 automatic. The men from Motor extracted a top speed of 115 mph out of the car and an overall fuel consumption of 15.4 mpg. The 0 to 60mph acceleration was recorded in two different settings of the Borg Warner type 8 auto box. In D1 it was a mere 9.4 seconds, in D2 a longer 11.8 seconds. It commented: ‘As a Grand Tourer – far more grandiose, in fact, than many so called GT cars – the 420 is superb and at its impressive best on a long distance journey when it will carry four adults of medium height in great comfort, with room to stow all their luggage in a big boot.’