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Jaguar Vanden Plas Models for the USA

The Series 3 Jaguar Vanden Plas 4.2 litre with Bosch/Lucas electronic fuel injection was introduced to the American and Canadian markets in 1982. Jaguar were unable to use the Daimler brand name in the U.S. because it is licensed to Daimler Chrysler so a decision was taken to badge the UK market Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2 S3 as a Jaguar.

The V12 engine option had been dropped from the US by the time that the Vanden Plas was introduced. With its specially contoured seats and walnut burl veneers, the interior finish of the car was well up to Vanden Plas standards.

The Series 3 was replaced by the Jaguar XJ40 in 1986 and again a Vanden Plas model was produced. This was powered by Jaguars new aluminium alloy AJ6, 3.6 litre in-line six cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The interior of this model was even more opulent than the previous model with its standard fold-down picnic tables and map pockets fitted to the rear of the heated front seats. Twin rear courtesy/reading lights were mounted on the back of the front headrests in addition to the twin adjustable reading lights fitted to the rear pillars. In 1989 the Jaguar Vanden Plas received a major update with a more powerful 4 litre engine and a new electronically controlled 4-speed automatic gearbox. Externally the twin headlamps were replaced by rectangular units and the rear lights received a chrome surround. Inside the car received new fully analogue instruments in place of the part electronic/part analogue instrumentation of the old model. The headrests were also redesigned and the reading lights moved from the back of the front ones to just above the picnic trays. In addition a limited edition model entitled the Vanden Plas Majestic was introduced for the 1990 model year. Additional features to the Jaguar Vanden Plas included a Daimler type fluted front radiator grille and boot lid plinth, exclusive 'Regency Red' metallic paint, diamond-turned alloy wheels, mulberry red piping to the magnolia leather seats and red sheepskin rugs over the wine red carpets. This model lasted for one year only but the Jaguar Vanden Plas received the Daimler type grille and boot plinth by September 1990.

In 1994 the model was replaced by the new X300 XJ series. A long wheelbase body with its 5 inch stretch added behind the centre 'B' post was used for the new Vanden Plas model. The new cars body panels were all different from its predecessor with new sculpted bonnet shape, including fluted grille and leaping Jaguar mascot, and rear end styling evoking memories of the classic Series 3 saloons of the early 1980s. It was powered by a new AJ16 4-litre engine but in 1997 it received many improvements including the new AJ-V8 32 valve 4 litre alloy engine with 5-speed automatic transmission. It also received improvements to its chassis, suspension, braking and speed-sensitive power steering. The X300 remained in production until September 2002 when the all new X350 XJ range was introduced.

With its all aluminium body the new car was much lighter despite being larger. It was fitted with a 4.2 litre V8 engine and new 6-speed automatic transmission. Self-levelling rear air suspension was standard. A long wheelbase version was added in late 2004. Revisions were made to the front and rear body panels of the Jaguar Vanden Plas in late 2008 and it remained in production until replaced by the all new XJ series in late 2009. To date there is no Vanden Plas version of that model.

The smaller Jaguar models namely the X-type and S-type also received the Vanden Plas treatment.

The S-type based on the Ford Lincoln chassis was introduced in 2000 receiving the VDP tag in 2005. With its 4.2 litre V8 engine and 6-speed auto box the S-type was a reasonably fast car. The Vanden Plas package included premium leather seats with contrasting piping, deep-pile floormats, electric rear sunblind, chrome door mirrors, xenon headlamps and unique 17-inch alloy wheels. Finest burr walnut covered the facia but no picnic trays were fitted. The model ceased production in 2008 to be replaced by the XF model. Again no Vanden Plas version of that car has so far been produced.

The X-type based on the Ford Mondeo chassis was introduced in the US in 2002. In late 2004 Jaguar introduced the VDP version. It was powered by a 3 litre V6 engine and 5-speed automatic gearbox. It was fitted as standard with 4-wheel drive, 17 inch wheels, superior Alpine audio system, electrically controlled front seats, leather seats with contrasting piping, burr walnut facia and door inserts, luxury carpets, chrome door mirrors and a VDP boot lid badge. This model was withdrawn in 2008.

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