The Jaguar 420 (pronounced "four-twenty") and its Daimler Sovereign equivalent were introduced at the October 1966 London Motor Show and produced for two years as the ultimate expression of a series of "compact sporting saloons" offered by Jaguar throughout that decade, 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.
The 420/Sovereign traces its origins back to the Jaguar Mark 2, which was introduced in 1959 and sold through most of the 1960s. The Mark 2 had a live rear axle and was powered by the XK six-cylinder engine first used in the Jaguar XK120 of 1948. The Mark 2 was available in 2.4, 3.4 and 3.8-litre engine capacities.
In 1961 Jaguar launched two new models with the triple SU carburettor version of the 3.8-litre XK engine: the Mark X (pronounced "mark ten") saloon and the E-Type sports car. Both cars used versions of Jaguar's new independent rear suspension, the Mark X having a 58-inch track and the E-Type a 50-inch track. In 1965 the Mark X and E-Type were updated with a new 4.2-litre version of the XK engine, still using triple carburettors.
Meanwhile, in 1963 Jaguar had introduced the Jaguar S-Type as a development of the Mark 2. It used a new intermediate-width, 54-inch version of the independent rear suspension in place of the live rear axle of the Mark 2. Other differences from the Mark 2 were extended rear bodywork to provide for a larger boot, a changed roofline for more rear seat passenger headroom, a slightly plusher interior and detail differences around the nose. The S-Type was available with either 3.4 or 3.8-litre XK engines (only 3.8-litre in USA) but in twin-carburettor form because the triple-carburettor setup would not readily fit into what was essentially still the Mark 2 engine bay.
Lyons initiated development of a new saloon based on the S-Type, retaining its 54-inch independent rear suspension but adding a twin-carburettor version of the 4.2-litre powerplant and frontal styling more akin to that of the Mark X. The new car was released in August 1966 in the form of two badge-engineered models, the Jaguar 420 and the Daimler Sovereign equivalent.
In 1967, its first full year of production, the 420/Sovereign easily outsold the other Jaguar saloon models still in production (the 240 and 340 Jaguar Mark 2s, Daimler 250 V8, Jaguar S-Type and 420G) and effectively ended buyer interest in the S-Type.
Nevertheless, relatively few were made in total due to the fact that the Coventry factory stopped making the Jaguar 420 in 1968, just over two years after production began and with just 10,236 produced.
This exceptional low mileage original car has had only 2 owners from new. and other than a respray is as it left the factory. Recent mechanical work including a complete fuel system overhaul results in a very nice driving car, not just a car that has been stored. I could find no corrosion on my inspection. The interior is in quite lovely condition with only the most minor wear noted as one would expect of a such a low mileage car. The brightwork is in exceptional condition as well, and the wire wheels gleam as new. The car is quite complete with a nearly intact tool kit, jack and hammer, and shop manual. We have recently had the brakes, overhauled, all belts and hoses replaced, the carburators serviced, installed a new battery, had all fluids changed including the transmission and filter, and new tires installed. This car runs very well and can be driven with confidence.
The car is fitted with a factory Air Conditioning unit, as well as clock, an AM/FM Radio, and full compliment of guages.
The majestic grill and stately front end styling of the short lived 420 set the stage for Jaguar Saloons for the rest of the Century- a testament to a truly important and timeless design.