Friday, September 28, 2007

Jaguar's V12

During an afternoon break, I stopped by a used car dealer to look at a 1991 Jaguar XJS. This is basically a two seater with useless back seats when someone my size is driving. But it is nonetheless an attractive car. One of the most intriguing aspects of the car is the V12 engine. Not many people I know have ever driven anything bigger than a V8 (although Grace Church of Mentor has a V10 in their church van). So, seeing the engine and hearing it running was something I was looking forward to.

The red convertible had only 49,000 miles and looked very nice. However, the $10,900 price tag was a bit steep seeing as my last four vehicles cost about that amount ... combined! Be that as it may, the salesman allowed me to start the car and open the hood. What a treat! The engine looked much simpler than I expected. The pictured I had seen looked rather cluttered and poorly designed. But as I looked closely at the layout, it made sense. Sure, you'd have to move the intake manifolds to get at certain components, but overall, things made sense.

This model did not have double overhead cams as I was expecting. My 90 XJ6 has double overhead cams, so why not this one? Apparently, things changed in 1992 (see The Technical History of the Jaguar V12 Engine). The valve covers reminded me of those on an 8-valve Saab 900 or Porsche 944 four cylinder engine. Obviously, there was not much room to work on things, but it looked easier than working on most of the transverse front wheel drive setups crammed into engine bays today. I did appreciate the fact that there were separate air filters for either side.

The point of this article is not to convince you or me to purchase a Jaguar exotic. I still believe that "godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6). But there is something in my makeup that is incredibly curious about unusual engines. And that curiosity led me to investigate this beautiful engine. I'm glad I did.

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