Jaguar 420 and Daimler Sovereign Feature SMITHS Instruments

Jaguar 420 and Daimler Sovereign Feature SMITHS Instruments

At the London Motor Show in October 1966, Jaguar launched the replacement to the S-Type - the Jaguar 420.  The S-Type had been in production since 1963, but the car's styling had received wide criticism.  At the same time, Jaguar launched the Daimler Sovereign which only differed to the 420 in terms of badging, interior trim and limited external features.  Feedback from the motoring press was very positive.

Nevertheless, the 420 was essentially an S-Type without a curved front end.  The redesigned front featured four lamps (two outer headlamps and two inner fog lamps), each with a small peak.  The tops of the wheel arches were flattened to match the squarer lines of the front end.  The aim was to improve the car's aesthetic appearance, whilst reflecting the look of the larger Mark X/240G.

The 420 was powered by a 4.2-litre XK engine generating 245 bhp.  The car accelerated from 0-60 mph in under 10 seconds with a top speed of more than 125 mph.  However, the fuel consumption of 15-16 mpg did receive some criticism.  An optional feature for the 420 and standard on the Sovereign was power steering.  They shared the design with the 420G.

Between 1966 and 1969, Jaguar Cars manufactured 10,236 420s and 5,824 Daimler Sovereigns.

Dashboard Changes

The introduction of new safety legislation resulted in the traditional all wood cappings on the doors and dashboard being replaced by softer padded Rexine (artificial leather cloth).  Wood still featured strongly as the main frontage.

Four gauges and one clock were positioned in the centre of the dashboard, above the gear stick.  These included:

  • Lucas Ammeter;
  • SMITHS Fuel Gauge;
  • SMITHS Oil Pressure Gauge;
  • SMITHS Water Temperature Gauge;
  • SMITHS clock powered by its own battery (in the S-Type the clock had appeared in the Tachometer);

The SMITHS Speedometer and Tachometer were positioned behind the steering wheel.

Pricing Differences

According to the Motor magazine of October 1966, the prices of the two cars were:

Manual transmission - Jaguar £1,615 vs Daimler £1,724

Automatic transmission - Jaguar £1,678 vs Daimler £1,787

However, the motoring public had difficulty in distinguishing the 420 and Sovereign from other Jaguar/Daimler models.  In the first year of production, the 420/Sovereign outsold all other Jaguar saloon cars still in production, ultimately ending interest in the S-Type.  The tide turned in 1968 with a resurgence in sales of the Mark 2 and Daimler 250, partly because many Jaguar enthusiasts were waiting for the launch of the XJ6.

SMITHS continued to design and supply gauges for subsequent Jaguar cars.  Today, replacement SMITHS gauges for classic Jaguar cars, designed to the original specifications, continue to be manufactured at the CAI plant.

For further information on SMITHS gauges for classic cars, including the Jaguar and Aston Martin, please contact us on:

Via the website

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  +44 (0) 1639 732200

You can also follow us on social media including Facebook (@caigauge) and Twitter (@caigauge) for regular news and technical features.


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Tags: Daimler Sovereign, Jaguar, Jaguar 420

Categories: Case Histories

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