Production: 1948 - 1992
A six-cylinder version of the XK engine was also developed, initially with a bore and stroke of 83 x 98 mm for a capacity of 3,181 cc. This was run for the first time on 15 September 1947 giving a power output of 142 bhp at 5,000 rpm. The six-cylinder layout proved better and smoother than the four cylinder and development work concentrated on this version. The 3.2 litre six-cylinder engine offered no increase in power over the 3.5 litre pushrod engine that was already in use by Jaguar. The stroke was lengthened to 106 mm to give a swept volume of 3,442 cc and power increased to 160 bhp at 5,000 rpm. Jaguar now had a smooth-running, six-cylinder, double overhead camshaft (DOHC) engine and this was put into production.
Development work on the six-cylinder version continued and even while the unit was in production it was being modified and improved. Successes with the 3.4 litre XK-powered C-types at Le Mans increased Jaguar’s global sales and gave Jaguar an increase in revenue that enabled the development of a smaller saloon.
This remarkable engine showed no signs of ageing and a 3.8 litre version was used by the very successful racing D-types in 1956. This was used in the XK150S, the Mark IX saloon and for the 1961 E-type and Mark X saloon when it was fitted with triple 2” SU carburettors.
In 1968 the new Jaguar XJ6 saloon was announced with the 4.2-litre engine and quickly established new standards across the automotive industry.
The Jaguar XK engine may be over seventy years old and long out of production, almost 700,000 were built and specialists around the globe still rebuild, restore and fettle the adaptable engine for enthusiasts, collectors and every day owners who never cease to marvel at the power – and the distinctive sound – of a well-tuned six-cylinder XK engine.