How bad were Jaguar’s quality problems in 1987? And what was Car magazine thinking when the XJ6 won a giant-test against the Rover Sterling and Vauxhall Senator? The Jaguar was rusting before their eyes.
On page 129 of the November 1987 edition of Car, there is photo of a door-seal parting company from the door of a Jaguar XJ-6, a new Jaguar XJ-6 provided by Jaguar Ltd for a comparison test. Did they not check before loaning it out? Or was it fine the day it left Brown’s Lane and then rusted in the interim?
In theory, the Jaguar had a lot going for it compared to the Vauxhall and the Rover but Car was testing real vehicles and not Platonic ideals of the car. The actual test Jaguar had shoddy panel gaps a, poorly fitted dashboard, rusting bodywork “here and there” and it rattled too.
In comparison, the Senator they drove was properly screwed together and had ride quality fit to be compared to the Jaguar. And the Senator’s rear passengers had more room than those in the Coventry car; the boot held more stuff and the engine consumed less petrol and was fast enough.
Despite those merits Car saw fit to complain about the vinyl on the Senator’s dashboard (and missed the amateurish arrangement of the Rover’s centre console which doesn’t line up with the vents or IP – see the photos below). One has to wonder about road tests sometimes…
Car’s argument rested on the idea of comparing the cheapest version of a true luxury, specialist car (the Jaguar) with the very best the mass-producers could offer (the Senator and Sterling). What they really did was to compare the abstract notion of the Jaguar (a fine concept) against a realised vehicle (the Senator) and a car which had no place in the test (the
Honda Rover). The Jaguar concept is rather lovely but Jaguar have always had great difficulty executing it. Vauxhall set realistic targets and they attain them. Isn’t it a hint that the UK police loved the Senator?