I feel I must echo Mr Gardener’s enthusiasm for the Jaguar 420, which appeared in his letter in the May issue of your magazine.
I have owned two of these splendid cars, both of them the Daimler variant, and feel that for sheer performance, reliability, and general appeal, they represent excellent value for money. My first Sovereign covered some 120,000 miles without any major expenditure, except for tyres and exhausts, giving at all times complete reliability and making me keep this particular car longer than I have any other. It was replaced only because I was lucky enough to acquire a 29,000 mile example of exactly the same model.
In the contemporary road tests, Autocar saw fit to call the 420’s behaviour on the road as “Jaguar’s finest achievement so far”, while Motor simply said that “The worse the conditions, the more conspicuous its virtues become.” It is not necessary to describe its performance here, only to say that it is possible to hurry along the most tortuous of roads very quickly indeed, in the quiet and very comfortable atmosphere of a gentleman’s club.
Aesthetically, I would venture to say it is one of the most attractive Jaguar saloons, having what can only be called, to use a rather overworked word, classic appeal. Compact yet stylish, its vast boot and spacious interior makes it an exciting yet practical car.
It is not, as some would imagine, a very expensive car to run. Exhausts and the frequency of their replacement can be a problem, and the initial expenditure of a stainless steel system is well worth while. Scrapyards yield up a ready supply of those annoyingly expensive chromium and trim parts, while the actual mechanicals, in my experience, enjoy a long life. The bodywork does not seem to be as susceptible to corrosion as it does in other models of the same marque, but I would advise every owner to invest in a pair of new front wings before BL scrap them all, as this eventually will be the first part of the car to rust. Granted these are not economical cars, but as every real Jaguar enthusiast will tell you, as the tachometer needle climbs above 3,500 r.p.m, this is a consideration which is easily forgotten.
In short, for a comparatively small outlay, the Jaguar 420/Daimler Sovereign represents a very individual, stylish, well-engineered performance saloon, which will satisfy the most enthusiastic driver. Moreover, whilst it is not possible to guarantee the investment potential of these cars, I feel it is highly unlikely that they will remain at their absurdly low prices for very much longer.
Leicester, Quentin Willson