Words and photography by Letitia Mace, with the exception of the XJS Insignia picture, which was kindly provided by Jaguar Heritage from their extensive archive
Pictures taken at Kilmington Manor, courtesy of Mr and Mrs M. Miller (Miller’s Farm Shop, Kilmington, Devon.)
Daimler Double Six Insignia kindly provided by Neil Sturgess, Devon
This article recently appeared in Jaguar Magazine. Full details can be found HERE
When production of the Daimler DS420 finally came to an end in 1992, not only did it leave a redundant workforce, but also a void in the market, which Jaguar filled with the launch of a stretched XJ40/XJ81, christened “Majestic” and the option to personalise any Jaguar or Daimler from the new “Insignia” range of upgrades.
Announced at the 1992 British International Motor Show held at the NEC, Birmingham, and available for the 1993 and 1994 Model Years, the deletion of the XJ40 Majestic and Insignia range coincided with the end of XJ40 production.
The redundant DS420 workforce were put to work on the new Majestic and Insignia range within Jaguar’s “Special Vehicle Operations” (SVO) department, whose tasks included special orders for dignitaries, company prototypes and the preparation of cars for the press, and new model launches. The Majestic’s and Insignia’s were hand-finished in an environment where attention to detail would have been paramount. Many Majestic’s were finished as Insignia’s, but the service was not exclusive to the Majestic’s, and spilled over into the general model range of the time, and consisted of a unique range of exterior paint and interior trim options, allowing one to truly personalise one’s Jaguar or Daimler!
Jaguar set out in their Insignia brochure, a table of suggested matching and contrasting colour schemes, recommending which paint, veneer, carpets, bindings/piping and hide trim would create the most pleasing package– they include a two-tone hide option, an example of which is portrayed in their brochure.
An XJS could be specified with Five Spoke alloys, at a time when they had yet to be fitted to the production XJS!
For the XJ40, alloy wheels were from the standard Jaguar range of the time, or chrome wheel trims, colour matched to the body, could be chosen where an XJ40 was fitted with steel wheels. The documentation confirms that the Daimler featured here was originally supplied with Aero alloys, as pictured.
The service was to create a bespoke car, rather than a “fully-loaded” one! The Insignia’s bear a standard VIN, so identification must be made by reference to the body number, and Rob Jenner (Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club Chairman) has a full list of these. Rob has been hard at work researching the Insignia cars, and has now established from the archives at Jaguar Heritage that there were a total of approximately 376 Insignia’s: 319 XJ40/XJ81 and 57 XJS.
Rob’s research suggests that most Insignia’s were demonstrators, either for Jaguar Cars or Main Dealers, and in the case of exports, an example went to each importer. Very few went to private buyers in the UK, and of the total of 56 rhd Insignia’s, most seem to have gone to Japan and Hong Kong; Hong Kong favouring the swb Insignia’s, while the Japanese obviously developed an appetite for our Daimler Double Six Majestic Insignia’s!
Prices for Insignia enhancements depended on the base model, and the level to which the enhancements were taken. As an example, the Daimler Double Six featured here still has its original bill of sale from October 1993, which states that the list price was then £45,957.45. This car is one of only eight XJ saloons, worldwide, finished in Crystal Blue – this privilege set the purchaser back a further £1617.03. A true connoisseur, Mr. Evans (the purchaser of this fine vehicle), then decided that the normally luxurious hide trim bestowed on a Daimler Double Six was not enough, and spent a further £2936.17 to include the twin stitched dash top and hide door rolls in contrasting dark mushroom hide, as described above. All these prices were exclusive of VAT, and the cost of the paint was standard, irrespective of model.
To demonstrate the rarity of some of the Insignia cars, we can look again at L66DDS as an example.
This particular car, already uncommon as a standard Daimler Double Six, became a rarity as an Insignia, and added to that, of the eight saloons in Crystal Blue, two were lhd 4 litre Jaguar Sovereign’s and four were rhd Daimler Double Six Majestics, destined for Japan. The remaining two were both UK spec swb rhd Daimler Double Six’s – one with Silk White trim and the one featured here, with Pale Mushroom trim – making each unique!
As befits a Gentleman’s Carriage of this calibre, this rare “top end” model had, in its day, every conceivable extra, and even now this is not the normal tired XJ40, the ride and interior would have you believe that you are in a well maintained car of less than half its age! How many of the original Insignia’s have survived, and in this condition?
As an XJ40 owner, at the time when I first saw this car, I think the one thing which really struck me and left a lasting impression, was the stitched hide detail around the facia. It completes the look and feel of a luxury high class car. At the time, I had only seen this in Aston Martin’s and wished that it was a feature of Jaguars – now it is, in the latest Jaguars, but is it real hide? It certainly is in the Insignia range!
If you have one, or know of one, please contact Xclusively Jaguar and it will be added to the Xclusively Jaguar Register. If you are a member of The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, Rob Jenner has a register of Insignia’s and other interesting XJ40/X300 saloons owned by members. He has previously written about the Insignia range in the Jaguar Enthusiast, and more information can be gained from him by request.
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All information correct at time of publishing.