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Jaguar Sovereign V12 and Mercedes 420 SEL: The luxury of the 80s

Hardy Mutschler
Jaguar Sovereign V12 and Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL
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W will he receive? Better not turn it off in the car wash. Instrument check: tachometer on 550 revs - yes, the engine of the Jaguar Sovereign V12 is really running, you can't hear it. Oil pressure okay, temperature in the green area, the battery has also recovered well after 30 kilometers.

Antique ideal of beauty in classic sedans

The car hasn't run much, but has stood still for a long time, now has a nice patina after washing. A bit neglected, as the English would say, he seems neglected. But that suits him, the Jaguar Sovereign V12, just as well as the beguiling chestnut brown with Magnolia leather.

The patina makes the Jaguar Sovereign V12 soft and supple, not as arrogant as it used to be. Now we are both at eye level, a kind of gentleness with him, 23 years after he left Browns Lane in Coventry to go to Germany for 77,800 marks. Tormenting thoughts of damage to the stand, maintenance backlog and Lucas electrics slowly vanish. The driver sits deep and secure in the delicately contoured armchairs, the GM three-speed automatic shifts incredibly smooth. The engine willingly takes on the gas.

The sedan is allowed to drip out for a few minutes with the doors open, almost invisible puffs of exhaust gas curl around the curved exhaust pipes. Inside it smells like your favorite leather jacket that has been hanging in the basement and has not been worn for a long time. It will be all right, the driver thinks and is slowly gaining confidence in the complex technology of the twelve-cylinder. The Jaguar Sovereign V12 looks innocent in the mild light of the evening sun.

Delicate, lots of chrome, lots of glass. His gently rounded figure obeys the ancient ideal of beauty of classic limousines. The Jaguar Sovereign V12 is long, wide and low. The finely cut face with the carefully modeled headlights, the gently tapering rear - they bewitch every viewer.

The bulky bumpers don't really go with that. Pininfarina raised the XJ Series II for the 1979 Geneva Motor Show, making the aging diva younger. Admittedly, it was a difficult job because the first XJ from 1968 was beautiful and couldn't be topped. For the rendezvous on Schlossallee, the Jaguar Sovereign V12 has to make do with a Mercedes 420 SEL in blue-black metallic.

41 items on the Mercedes option list ticked

Perhaps a 500 or even 560 SEL would have been better, but the price is up. The Jaguar Sovereign V12 only cost as much as a long 420 Benz. Value for money. This Mercedes 420 can still use the attribute 'from prominent previous ownership'. It was once delivered as a management car for the Daimler-Benz board of management. Long wheelbase, eight-cylinder engine and full equipment Finally, the decisive upgrade to the more everyday 280 SE.

The authorized signatory's car is transformed into a chauffeur limousine. This Mercedes 420 SEL, with 41 positions, cost an incredible 144,642 marks and six pfennigs when it was delivered in September 1988. Whether airbag, travel computer, C-network telephone, electrically adjustable coupé seats in the rear or the wonderfully contemporary upholstery in Amaretta, a suede-like synthetic skin, it's always just noti zen from the long list of options.

While the Jaguar Sovereign V12 gives the driver the feeling of a well-fitting tailor-made suit and he alone cuts an impeccable figure, the inside huge 420 SEL needs people to fill it. Three would be a balanced crew. Two of them fill the coupé seats at the back, the comfort of which is equivalent to a first-class compartment in a TEE luxury train, one drives. As a soloist, you will be delighted with the incredibly precise switches and levers and the perfect selector lever backdrop embedded in burr walnut. So lonely, one is tempted to drive to bus stops or, better yet, to chauffeur beautiful women with large shopping bags for free. Where can I take you?

The old C-Netz phone on the extended center console is an instrument of power because of its sheer size. In contrast, what is a modern cell phone with a hands-free system? Kids stuff.

Jaguar V12 with motorsport genes and ghostly smoothness

In the Mercedes 420 SEL you are at it of all driving passion tries to get in the back first. The wide rear doors, which have been lengthened by 15 centimeters, are too inviting, the electric rear window roller blind too discreet, and the reading lights with their warm glimmer of light are too secure. The 420 SEL also looks good, it embodies the unobtrusive, functional Mercedes elegance. But it looks a bit too massive in some details such as headlights, taillights or side protection.

Despite its subtle long wheelbase, the Jaguar Sovereign V12 is a gentleman's driver - but please be careful so that it doesn't spoil the figure -Automobile. You have to drive forward to the twelve-cylinder, the magnificent car with the thin leather-covered steering wheel. Carefully engage the drive, gently depress the gas pedal, feel the thrust and the quietly suppressed hiss of the twelve-cylinder, which actually comes from the fan wheel, becausethe engine is wrapped in mystical silence, anything else would be vulgar. But above 3,000 rpm it also comes to life acoustically, drowning out the viscous fan - hissing, babbling, mumbling with a throaty suction noise. This twelve-cylinder is actually not a combustion engine at all, it is an instrument for soft bar music, Café del Mar, Volume III, whispers in the Kenwood cassette compartment.

Once designed as a racing engine, the red pen jugglers amputated it for street two Camshafts. That took away the brutal strength, but gave him this eerie smoothness. Sometimes, after an uphill stage, in memory of Sir William Lyon's life and work, one forgets to slide the somewhat unstable selector lever from 2 to 3. You just don't hear it. It needs almost 16 liters if you move it gently. It doesn't go below that, despite high efficiency. But it encourages slow travel, racing would be undignified, although it is possible. The twelve-cylinder is designed with a short stroke, it can withstand 6,500 rpm, both mechanically and thermally. The wind noises mimic the background choir, from 120 onwards it dominates the engine. It is difficult to hear both clearly, the sound of the engine or the rustling of the wind. Aerodynamics aren't the forte of the antiquated Jaguar Sovereign V12.

Mercedes 420 SEL is the low-consumption flying carpet

The Mercedes 420 SEL scores, despite having 70 hp less just as fast and hardly louder, 13 liters are enough for him. It is much more of a magic carpet than the much sought-after, brutal 560 SEL. The little one is the fine gentleman, quiet but important. Unlike the 560, which needs to be validated, which shows powerful with its 300 hp. The old Mr. Sovereign draws level with the much more modern 420 SEL in terms of driving comfort. The complex multi-link rear axle on the subframe is worthwhile, the heavy car rolls smoothly despite the wheelbase handicap.

Even when cornering quickly, the unexpectedly dynamic, ABS-free Jaguar Sovereign V12 shows that it is not yet belongs to the old iron. Even if the stoically understeering 420 SEL conveys the feeling of greater security than the Jaguar pushing its rear outwards.

Do you trust him on the way, the old Brit? With all the tender care, there remains a thrill. Nervous glances glimpse instruments and indicator lights. In the Mercedes 40 SEL, relaxed serenity reigns despite the heavy mileage of 439,192. Will he hold? That makes me wonder.


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