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15 Greatest Jaguars of the Last Century

Since Jaguars appeared in American streets over 70 years ago, they’ve stunned us with their balance of style and speed. Like their name, these coveted vehicles aren’t your average everyday vehicles. Jaguars have carved a niche as a top choice for drivers who want power without compromising luxury. 1948 Jaguar XK120 The XK120 was Jaguar’s return …
Alexandre Prévot/Wikipedia

Since Jaguars appeared in American streets over 70 years ago, they’ve stunned us with their balance of style and speed. Like their name, these coveted vehicles aren’t your average everyday vehicles. Jaguars have carved a niche as a top choice for drivers who want power without compromising luxury.

1948 Jaguar XK120


The XK120 was Jaguar’s return to the sports car scene after World War II. At the Earls Court show, they unveiled it in 1948 with a newly developed 3.4-liter XK straight-six engine. It had a staggering top speed of 120 mph (hence the name), making it one of the fastest production cars of the 40s. This feat was even more impressive, considering it was an open-top roadster.

1951 Jaguar C-type


Although the XK120 was a successful road car, it lacked the power and endurance needed for sustained racing success. So Jaguar replaced it with the C-Type, a vehicle with lightweight 16-gauge tubing for more agility on the racetrack. It debuted at Le Mans in 1951, bagging a dramatic victory. They built only 53 and sold 43 to private owners, primarily in the US.

1954 Jaguar D-type


Due to a desire to reclaim glory after their Le Mans success with the C-Type, Jaguar created the legendary D-Type to dominate endurance races. This beast had an innovative monocoque chassis and a lightweight, low-drag body for better aerodynamics. These features made the D-Type secure three consecutive Le Mans victories from 1955-1957.

1957 Jaguar XKSS

Marty B/Wikipedia

After the D-type won thrice at Le Mans, Jaguar saw an opportunity to convert them into the XKSS roadsters. They added a larger windscreen, a folding soft top for open-air rides, and additional luxury trim in the interior. Sadly, a fire at the Browns Lane factory destroyed nine of 25 cars. Due to their misfortune, rarity, and performance, XKSS models have million-dollar price tags at auctions.

1961 Jaguar E-type (Series 1)


The E-type Series 1 took the world by storm when Jaguar unveiled it at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. Even critics praised its low-slung, aerodynamic design and competitive price tag. The E-type had a 3.8-liter inline-six engine pumping 265 HP. Thanks to its all-disc brakes, it had a superior stopping power compared to drum brakes, which were the standard at the time.

1961 Jaguar MkX

Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden – Eget arbete/Wikipedia

The Mark 10 upped Jaguar’s game in design, technology, and overall presence. It abandoned the usual curvy shape for a more upright, imposing stance. With its prominent quad headlights and muscular proportions, this new design became a model for subsequent Jaguar saloons. The Mk X wasn’t just about aesthetics; it had a 4.2-liter DOHC, optional power steering, and disc brakes on all four wheels.

1966 Jaguar 420


Jaguar introduced the 420 at the 1966 London Motor Show as a worthy climax to earlier saloon car models. The 420 had a more linear and aggressive look with four headlights and a shallower, wider grille than the S-Type’s curvier design. It also had a powerful 4.2-liter twin-carburetor XK engine, a significant upgrade from previous options.

1968 Jaguar XJ6

World’s Oldest XJ/Wikimedia

The XJ6 is one of this carmaker’s most refined and sophisticated vehicles. You couldn’t expect less from a model they designed to replace the MkX, Mk2, 420, and S-type. Buyers could choose either the 2.8-liter or 4.2-liter, derived from the renowned XK. The interior had comfortable, high-quality leather upholstery with wood trim for the driver and passengers.

1971 Jaguar E-type V12

Lothar Spurzem/Wikimedia

This V12 marked the final evolution of the legendary E-type, introducing a new engine and design tweaks. Unlike its predecessors, it shifted towards luxury and refined grand touring experience with a larger front grille, wider fenders, and four exhaust tips. However, the defining feature was its 5.3-liter V12 from racing models featured at Le Mans.

1975 Jaguar XJ-S


Although Jaguar introduced the XJ-S to succeed the legendary E-Type, it wasn’t a direct replacement for standard sports car vibes. Doug Thorpe’s team completed the original build by Malcolm Sayer. It had a long bonnet and a distinctive rear C-pillar, excluding the E-Type curves. Notably, it had the traditional powerful Jaguar V12.

1976 Broadspeed Jaguar XJ5.3C

Andrew Bone/Wikimedia

The parent company, British Leyland, commissioned the British motorsport company Broadspeed, which modified Jaguars for competition to turn the XJ into a fully-fledged racer. They upgraded the engine, increasing power and reducing weight for better handling. Then, the XJ5.3C debuted at the Tourist Trophy Silverstone during the 1976 season.

1988 Jaguar XJR-9


The XJR-9 was a sports prototype race car for the Group C and IMSA Camel GTP racing championships. In 1988, it won first place after a grueling race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ending Porsche’s long-standing dominance at Le Mans and earning Jaguar’s first win since 1957. Its Jaguar V12 engine produces 650 HP from a 6L and a staggering 750 HP from a 7L version.

1991 Jaguar XJR-15


This ultra-exclusive, road-legal race car by JaguarSport, a subsidiary of TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing), is an incredibly rare automobile since they released only 53. The XJR-15’s chassis and much of its design philosophy drew inspiration from RM Sotheby, the successful Le Mans-winning XJR-9 race car. It had a heavily tuned 6.0-liter V12 engine pumping out 450 HP and lightweight construction from carbon fiber and Kevlar.

1992 Jaguar XJ220

Brian Snelson/Wikipedia

It was born from the ideas of some employees who met after hours to work on passion projects. Thanks to a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 that produced 542 HP, the XJ220 was the fastest production car till 1993, with a top speed of 212.3 mph. Since 275 were released, they are a valuable collector’s item today.

1996 Jaguar XK8


This grand tourer marked the return of the XK nameplate after a 12-year absence. Jaguar introduced it at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show as a successor to the aging XJS. The interior of the XK8 was all leather with burl walnut trim and was available in coupe and convertible. Both body styles had a 4L AJ-V8 engine producing 290 HP and a five-speed automatic transmission that sent power to the rear wheels.