The Jaguar XJ21 was a prototype car which was proposed by Jaguar.
The car is the missing link between the E-Type and the XJS. When the XJ-S was unveiled in 1975, many classic Jaguar fans were disappointed that it wasn’t the replacement for the E-Type they had been hoping for. The XJS was not a direct E-Type replacement at all, and was never intended as such. Instead the XJ21 was intended to be a replacement for the legendary V12 sports car. Jaguar thought it could develop a direct E-type replacement which would be called the XJ21.
On 11 July 1966, it was announced that the Jaguar Group would be merging with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings. This was a takeover by BMC of Jaguar, but Sir William Lyons maintained control of his empire. Lyons agreed to the ‘merger’ in order which also gave financial backing for future model programmes.
The first XJ21 proposal came in October 1966 and was drawn by Jaguar aerodynamicist Malcom Sayer. His design was called Body Type A and appears to have been an evolution of the 2+2 E-type launched in March of that year. The track was increased, although body width remained the same. The steering wheel and front seats were moved forward. Externally the Body Type A XJ21 had a revised air intake, a more raked screen and exposed headlamps.
Some of these features would appear on the Series 2 E-Type announced in October 1968. It appears that during the long drawn out process to replace the E-Type, Malcolm Sayer appears to have had a free hand to design what he wanted, whereas the styling of the saloons remained the preserve of company boss Sir William Lyons.
Sayer also drew a roadster version of the XJ21, again using the 2+2 wheelbase but with a wider track. This idea would not be wasted as the Series 3 E-type roadster would use the 2+2 chassis. March 1967 brought further revisions to the XJ21, which was still very much E-Type based. Later Sayer at an undetermined date drew a two-seat roadster and fixed head coupé using the 96 inch wheelbase of the equivalent E-Type, again retaining a wider track.
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