Ownership Verified: Our 1994 Daimler Six 4.0: ?1000 Brexit Express that's Not a Jag

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Here it is, the journey-proven stalwart bought from eBay for a grand.

Ever since the UK roadtrip idea started brewing amongst us, there was a thought of buying something random from the classifieds and using that to do the trip. Obviously for the longest time there really wasn?t a clear-cut idea what to buy and who would buy it, but as the trip drew closer the core group of me, Lastsoul and MXM assembled together a vague budget and assigned Dave and Arron to go see something affordable within a decent range. Lots of Jags were looked at and they seemed just about on the wrong side of ropey: rampant rust, non-functional switchgear and lapsed MOT.

But then, with roughly a week to go, we found this: a 1994 Daimler Six with the 4.0 engine, advertised 114 000 miles and strict asking price of ?1000 ? and a month?s valid MOT. Underbody shots made us feel as much confident as the chrome arches scared us, and the guys, nice enough to drop all other plans and go see the vehicle, reported that it seemed certainly sound enough to buy. We did the deal over intense whatsapping, and as the car was purchased and driven to its temporary home, each of us poured a celebratory beer. Over the next days the D was given a once-over, with its bottom poked and plugs and oils changed.

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At the start of the trip, MXM flew to get the car and drove it to Edinburgh. There, me and my GF joined the tour, and it took until Oban, Scotland for Lastsoul to join in. At that point we had already deflated one of the 2004 Pirellis, and ended up buying two new tires for the front in Scotland and two new rear tires when we got to Germany. They are all the same nBlues, but fronts bear Roadstone badging and rears Nexen. One of the fronts also has a manufacturing defect, meaning it?s not perfectly round, only black.

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After 6500 km and 800 litres of fuel, the car is now in Finland. It proved to be insanely reliable for a quickly bought 1200 euro Brexitmobile: the only actual real breakdown was a brakedown, as a brake line had corroded under a clamp and crumbled in MXM?s hands after a leak was discovered. The car was driven very, very carefully to a garage near Manchester, and we rented a pint-sized Seat for the night. There are a host of little issues, some exterior imperfections and a manageable amount of rot, but thanks to a decent undersealing at an early enough point it all looks repairable at this point. Service history is there up to 100k or so, and for the last decade there are MOT records to prove the odo reading. Interior is damn near excellent and the headliner sag is not terrible. And it?s Brooklands Green over tan, a combo that really only works on a car like this. Even the chrome arches can almost be justified.

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I had never really considered the X300/X308 to be as great a car as this turned out to be, as previous years of keyboard warrioring had nearly rendered the car unsalvageably uncool on this forum ? XJ40 notwithstanding, as those have retained their wacky, wood-laden ?80s technoyuppie luxury appearance and have a great underdog feel to them at this point in history. But since this is pretty much just an XJ40 facelift and shares much of the interior with one, I was ready to lump it together with the quirky older cars. And ? note ? it?s not a Jaguar :p

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But the driving experience is something to be treasured even with completely shot rear shocks, the engine note is a joy with the bastardized exhausts, the handling makes the car feel a lot more nimble than it should be, and the rear seat can almost accommodate a person old enough to drink whisky.

It?s a ?Grand tourer, one that has lost 99% of its value but gained something invaluable: our affection.

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Proof pic:

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MXM

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- - - Updated - - -

Due to various legal and practical issues, the car was bought by Arron, and then sold to us after the roadtrip completion, for ?1000...


... and no pence!

Hold out your hand, you've got yourself a cracking motor!
 

Lastsoul

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As previously stated, I joined the trip a bit late in a small Scottish town called Oban. Despite traveling by train, I tried to get into the Jaguar experience.

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Getting in the mood. Insurance didn't allow me to drive the Daimler in the UK (well, it allowed, but it was quite hard to prove), so I relaxed in the back seat and let public and MXM do the chaffeur...driving.


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British roads are wonderful, but occasionally very narrow. The X300 seemed to shrink when needed.

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Getting back from a nice pub in stunning Lake District.

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Stunning, yet demanding road took its toll on the roadtrid fleet, but Daimler made it. We started to get really affected to the old car.

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From this far it looks really great. Only the chromed arches spoil the lines.

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Sunroof headliner was sagging, so we tried a quick fix. it didn't help, but no whisky was spilled.

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Cosy looking place in Yorkshire Dales provided spot on background for the Daimler. Our visit was intentional, as this was the place were one quite famous guy never got the steak he wanted. He used to be a big fan of the X300 generation Jaguar XJ, and had an XJR as a daily driver.

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I love this picture, it shows the Daimler in it's natural environment. Smooth, flowing roads and a Nissan Micra to overtake. At full throttle the straight six howls at a truly great tone, but during highway cruising the rear muffler delete causes horrible drone.

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We never got to the famous "Skyfall Road" in Scotland, as the front tires had to be changed when rest of the group visited the place. In this road we captured pretty much the same feeling.

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Storming through the moorlands at high speeds took it's toll. Next morning we got greeted by the low brake fluid message on the dash, and cause was a simple: brake pipe had corroded under a bracket. Only a minor leak at first turned to full disconnection of the pipe. Careful and brake free driving got us to a garage East of Manchester (next picture). Next day the Daimler was back in action!


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Working brakes brought the car into Wales. Daimler was driven around Evo Triangle, famous triangular piece of road famously used by the Evo magazine. Great test of chassis, or the lack of it since we had barely any rear dampers left. Rear was bouncing against bump stops at an alarming rate, which destroyed driver's side element. Without bump stop we had to slow down a lot, as the trunk was hitting the ground on more than a few occasions.

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When driving past Coventry, we had to stop for a picture at the entrance to Jaguar Land Rover Research Centre.

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We had spare time and coins in Dover harbor, so we gave the Daimler a much needed was. After all the grit had gone, we were pleasantly surprised by the mostly fine paintwork!


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I had mixed feelings in Dover. On the positive side, the Daimler had brought us to the edge of Enland with very little troubles. On the other hand, it was about to leave it's native environment, probably forever.

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We traveled from Dunkirk to Belgium, added maybe 100 kilos extra weight because of fries and headed towards eastern border. We passed Spa-Francorchamps and took few shots with the famous Eau-Rouge.

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Bald round Pirellis. Original tires were from 2004. They weren't great in the beginning of the trip, and the on the rear axle they had covered over 5000 km. After few entertaining but accidental slides we decided to buy now rubber.

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The famous petrol station near N?rburgring. We're filling up at good company: Rolls-Royce, Porsche 991 GT3 RS etc!

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After many great days at the famous Ringmeet, we pointed the nose towards Rostock and started to eat the kilometers. Average consumption was hanging around 12,00 l/100 km at steady 160 km/h cruise. Had the front tires been perfectly round, cruising speed could've been much higher.

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Daimler parked on the deck of Rostock?Trelleborg ferry.

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Sweden is a beautiful country with many great roads, but the one taking you from Malm? to Stockholm isn't one of them. Endless 130 km/h cruise ended finally in Stockholm, we were only a overnight ferry ride away from Finland.

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Daimler at Helsinki. When picking up the car, MXM reseted the computer. Now it read 6 570 kms and 871,7 liters of fuel. That meant 13,2 l/100 km average, which is not great, but then again who cares: we had just done a really long roadtrip with an old luxury car for rental money

I fully agree public's comments about the X300. I wanted to travel around the United Kingdom in a Jaguar, but considered a Lexus LS400 to be a fine alternative. I'm sure I would've been fond of the Lexus, yet it couldn't have delivered the same experience the Daimler did. Old British luxury around the beautiful scenery was a fantastic experience. Feelings aside, I'm also very impressed by the actual capabilities of the X300 platform. It rides really beautifully over all kinds of roads, yet shrinks around you when needed. I'd love to compare it to a E32 or E38 BMWs, but I'm pretty sure my favourite would be the only car to wear British racing green gracefully.
 

WDWBen

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Uh... yeah, that's cool. I kind of want one, now, so someone can drive me around while I drink vodka-rocks from the backseat.
 

public

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In-car entertainment was provided by a Sony cassette stereo that cost ?1, as the original Alpine-made unit was unreliable and often inoperative; MXM tried to solder it to working condition but it didn't improve. Some entertainment was also provided by Lastsoul.
 

luokyio

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All the wood inside must have cost extinction of multiple species when cutting down the forests. Much approve.
 

Posambique

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Very, very nice! I even had the chance to see and feel the car in Finland already. It is lovely.

Yes, it?s nowhere near perfection (what would you expect from ?1000 Daimler?!?) but it shows the immense potential of the X300 -series. The bad thing is now I want one. First I have to test drive a E38 and a Citroen XM to have something to compare it with, but after that...

P.S. Not sure the Lexus LS is a real option for me as the interior looks so very plastic and japanese (in a bad way) even if I like it in every other way.
 

MXM

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Thought I'd offer a few thoughts of my own.

When we were choosing a car for the trip, I was heavily campaigning for an (any) XJ. Not because I was a fan of XJ, I didn't have much of opinion about it at all. I just wanted an adventure, and since there were 4 of us, spending a UK roadtrip in a luxury Jaaaag seemed extremely appropriate. Far more appropriate than a Lexus, even though I've always held LS in high regard. I would've settled for a much worse example too, as I was ready to pretty much write off the entire expense of the car for the purpose of the trip.

Well, we ended up with this Daimler, which is just a bit too good to write off.



The car has certainly left me impressed with XJ. I was mostly expecting it to be a huge wafty barge that would be too unwieldy for the b-roads. But, in fact, it feels very composed. As Lauri said, it really shrinks when you drive it very inappropriately :rolleyes: On the narrow, twisty UK's roads, it's not as fast as the smaller, much less powerful cars in our group, but it's never not enjoyable to push. Even with 4 people and their 3-week luggage inside, it appeared to be very neutral and well communicating, while not making you feel the surface roughness. The only time it was understeering was on the space-saver spare. At least until we really started to lose rear shocks and the rear was string to bounce a lot.

On the flip side, it is curiously cramped for a flagship. It does sit 4 Finnish-sized people in comfort, but if you're 185cm or more, you're going have a bad time (or the person sitting behind you). But it's over 5m long, so is there space in the boot? Nope. The space is taken by a 70 (80 according to some sources) litre tank, which is sandwiched between the rear seats and the boot. This allowed them to make the car very low and sleek looking.



It has great ideas behind it, but it's not as thoroughly thought out as its German rivals in many respects. It's got automatically retracting steering wheel, but only because getting into the drivers seat is not very dignifying without it. And the wiper stalk actually collides with the dashboard when the wheel is retracted. I love the magnificent wooden picnic tables, but the lacquer is so shiny and polished, that everything slides right off them. Some things are just made less complicatedly, but never the less seem very robust. I don't know why it has a single windscreen wiper, is it for style or packaging, but it's not the obsessive get-every-last-square-cm MB variety, it's a simple single hinged one. Still it worked absolutely flawlessly and was completely quiet. The rear suspension is another strange case, it's using driveshafts as upper control arms. This makes a compact and light package, and seemingly performing very well, at the expensive of diff and wheel bearings having to take extra load to keep wheel camber.

On the other hand, where German flagships were made for the autobahn, this was made for the terrible b-roads of UK. It feels right at home there, and feels very relaxing. It's not a sports car by any stretch, and it has no business on a racetrack, but it can handle itself if the situation demands. Basically, my philosophy regarding driving enjoyment is all about feel and communication, not sportiness or raw performance. XJ ticks most boxes. This is how I want a big car to feel, and why I'm always left slightly disappointed with big Mercs of 80s and early 90s.



In the end it leaves me impressed, but not convinced. I can't imagine daily driving a car of this size at this point in life. Maybe if I lived in US and had a 700 mile daily commute, I would agree. It's a car for special occasions. For everyday driving I'll stick to smaller stuff.



All that said, the Daimler was a definite success so far. I enjoyed driving it and being driven in it. I even somewhat enjoyed the fact that it's a Daimler, and not a Jag :p And I certainly enjoyed the mostly useless wooden tables.



Cheers.
 

CrzRsn

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I'm properly jealous. Looks like it was an amazing trip.
 

Hemily

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It looks more luxurious than a Audi A8, but it's less roomy and actually less luxurious than the A8. It's weird XD
 

gt1750

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Amazing pics, amazing car. Sounds ungodly.

10/10, off to browsing X300s on Mobile.de.
 

Lastsoul

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It's definitely lacking in space, but if you fit there it's actually very comfortable. Reminds me of the rear seats in high end coup?s.

Luxury is hard to define. On these days it seems to be all about brand, not the actual performance. That said, often "performance" or sportiness has become a desirable quality itself: S-Line Audi A8, M Sport 7-series and AMG-kitted Mercedes-Benz S-Classes and such as an example. Many of those offer plenty of pace and good roadholding, but it's tied to lifeless driving experience. At least non-sporty versions of the S-Class and 7-series are wonderfully comfortable. The current A8 leaves me extremely cold, well specced A6 is better.

Jaguar/Daimler concentrates on the more traditional part of luxury. Plenty of wood is surrounded by soft leather. It has just enough tech to make your life easy, but nothing steals your attention from the fact that it rides superbly. Air balloon tires and great suspension design absorb coarse road surfaces and larger imperfections very well, but like MXM said, the driver still feels connected. It feels like a luxury saloon for B-roads.

Sadly, that gracefulness seems to be forgotten in many modern cars, especially in Jaguars. Big blingy wheels and the desire to make everything sporty destroy the ride, but dead steering denies your driving enjoyment the moment you actually push the car. I find that a pity, as large saloons are rarely put to their paces outside Top Gear films, yet the quest for sportiness compromises everyday driving.
 

Hemily

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A friend had a 90's Audi A8, the outside of the car looked really boring, as did the interior. But it was well equipped and very comfy, and fairly peppy with the V8.

The Daimler looks like it oozes luxury from every pore, it just looks expensive, unlike the Audi that looks... generic.
I love cars that dare to be different, ones that don't seem to aim to be so unoffensive it has no design at all, it's just.... there.
Audi, Mercedes and BMW are the Toyotas of Luxury cars, boring but functional.
 
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