The Jaguar XJ is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and Jaguar’s Classic division is showing off the model’s “Greatest Hits” at the Geneva auto show in the form of a 1984 XJ6, restored for Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain.
A 1984 XJ6 seems like an unlikely starting point for such a project, but this is more than a restoration, as Jaguar Classic made quite a few custom design changes to the exterior, interior, suspension and drivetrain, creating a unique classic sedan in the process.
Over 4,000 parts were redesigned, refinished or replaced during the 3,500 hours devoted to this build, as Jaguar Classic worked with McBrain to create his dream XJ6.
The differences on the outside may seem subtle at first, but Jaguar created unique front and rear bumpers for this 4.2-liter XJ6. It also flared the body and reprofiled the front and rear wheel arches, which house custom 18-inch wire wheels that wear 235/45R-18 Pirelli P Zero tires. Still not done, Jaguar converted the headlights to LEDs, fabricated unique door sills and fitted the rear suspension with adjustable dampers. The Classic division fitted this XJ6 with modern door sealing and sound insulation for reduced wind and road noise. Inside, there’s an integrated touchscreen featuring satellite navigation, a rearview camera and a phone. Jaguar even upgraded systems like air conditioning and remote central locking. In a project this extensive, you can be sure that the interior has been completely retrimmed, and the finished Jag now wears a bright red leather interior.
Jaguar refitted the interior with new seats and retrimmed everything, in addition to adding a new sound system.
“Creating this ‘Greatest Hits’ XJ, and the whole process of bringing someone’s automotive dream to life, has been extraordinarily rewarding for the Jaguar Classic team,” said Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic director. “It’s been a pleasure to work with Nicko, and we’re looking forward to hearing the reaction to this project.”
And, of course, there is a modern sound system with guitar amplifier-inspired control knobs made from aluminum, as well as USB connectivity.
“This is my ultimate XJ — my third, and lovingly, named ‘Johnny 3,'” McBrain said. “It has been a true labor of love between Jaguar Classic and myself. I’m so excited by its completion and especially to be showing it at Geneva — it really is a Greatest Hits edition, and to me it defines what the Jaguar XJ is all about. It’s a credit to the craftsmanship of the Jaguar Classic team. We couldn’t have timed it better, this being the 50th anniversary of XJ — my favorite of all Jaguar vehicles.”
Jaguar Classic created new front and rear bumpers for this XJ6.
The reborn XJ6 also features harder-to-spot custom touches like recessed fuel caps and Series 2 XJ wing mirrors and door handles, for a more elegant look. The flared wheel arches give this XJ a wider stance — which suits this bodystyle well — while 18-inch wire wheels give it a classic air.
Wheel choice has always been one of the most difficult aspects of the look of an XJ, and the larger-diameter wire wheels chosen for this build work surprisingly well without signaling a significant departure from a stock appearance.
“Preserved components from Nicko’s first XJ6, which spent many years on the grounds of the home of Iron Maiden bass guitarist Steve Harris following Nicko’s move to America, are present elsewhere in the build too: from the iconic Jaguar leaper hood mascot, which first attracted Nicko to buy the car, to the original ignition keys from 1984,” Jaguar said.