I knew when I recently bought my 1976 Series 2 that it had newer Series 3 tail lights and that the trunk lid had been modified to eliminate the back up lamps, and that it had newer model “Jaguar” and “XJ6” emblems. Not surprising that over the years a past owner had made some changes to suit their taste - as this is currently a SBC lump powered car after all.
Then when I removed the old fuel tanks I noticed that the quarter panels on the backside clearly had the holes for mounting the coachline trim that had obviously been filled over on the outside when it had been repainted ~ 25 years ago.
These details and other clues made me curious to decode my VIN. What I discovered was that the “R” in the vin means that this was actually born an XJ12 rather than being an XJ6 like I had thought. I had found a very small V12 emblem inside the center console compartment that was in very poor condition, and I had thrown it out thinking it was just a trinket a past owner had picked up - only now do I notice the spot on the center console where it was mounted originally.
There was a little paperwork that came with the car, mainly from the man who owned it from 1993 until his passing last year. It had been titled to a flooring contractor prior to 1993 who appears to have owned it from new, and now I think I understand why he would have owned it for 17 years; because he enjoyed the V12 power. I’m not sure, but I believe it was the original owner who had the car repainted and reupholstered circa 1990. I don’t know when the incorrect emblems were added to the trunk lid (they are glued on). The paperwork I have does clearly show it was owner number two who purchased the SBC lump and had a shop install the engine that is now in the car in 1993. and then shortly after that he became ill and parked the car in his garage for the next 23 years until his estate sold the car. Poor owner #2 only got to drive it ~ 2,400 miles (by the records that came with the car) before letting it rot in his garage after he couldn’t drive it.
It doesn’t really matter what it started out as, given all the changes that have been made, I’m just having fun making discoveries about the car as I bring it back to life from its long slumber.