When Jochen Arden ventured in the world of Jaguar-tuning in the early 1980s, the first fully tuned car he introduced was the Arden AJ1 (AJ stands for Arden-Jaguar) based on the Jaguar XJ series III. The AJ1 conversion was partially for the looks, and part of it performance. The performance part included new springs and dampers, a new Arden high-performance exhaust-system that added 16BHP to the Jaguar XJ's standard performance (regardless of the version). When based on Jaguar's finest in the early 80s, the Jaguar XJ V12 5.3 HE, the V12 produced 310BHP. The 16BHP increased the XJ V12 5.3HE's topspeed by 10km/h. Not much, but who cares? Just look at it (below)! The look of the early Arden Jaguar XJs was very similar to that of modified Mercedes-Benzes by tuners as AMG, Brabus and Lorinser and the like: chrome parts were made black including the grille and the door handles. Arden produced a sporty spoilerset including new front and rear bumpers and sideskirts and of course a set of new rims (Rial 16", Remotec 16" or in the late 1980s Arden's own design wheels) which could be painted in the car's exterior color.
It didn't take long for Arden to introduce more power for the Jaguar XJ. By the mid-1980s Arden had a range of special (V12) engines available for the XJ (and XJS). The top-of-the-range was a 6.0Litre powerplant that produced 455BHP priced at 48.000DM in 1985. New transmissions were available as well, replacing the factory 3-speed automatic transmission: a 5-speed manual and later on a 4-speed ZF-automatic (available in the AJ4, which was the successor to the AJ1).
It was not just performance related modifying Jochen Arden did to the Jaguar XJ (and it's luxurious brother the Daimler Double-Six). The interior of the Jaguar/Daimler was completely overhauled as wel. Options included Recaro C or CSE, carphone, new and extra high quality wood facings, more leather, picnic tables for the rear passengers and a number of other pricey options. As was the case with many tuners of the day, Arden could offer what the car manufacturer couldn't and in the 1980s that was a lot more than in the post 2000-era...
An Arden AJ1, most likely one of the first Jaguar XJ Series III Arden converted, pictured in 1983. The black and white theme reminds of AMG and Lorinser S-class Mercedes-conversions. Not really weird when you know Jochen Arden used to drive an AMG Mercedes-Benz.
All chrome trim blackened (except for the mirrors which are painted white), 16" Rial wheels in white with black centres and new exhaust.
An Arden Jaguar XJ Series III from 1984/85. Similar to the white car this car has all chrome trim in black and the Rial wheels have the centres painted in the exterior color.
Arden has also fitted a new rear-bumper to this car, that is missing on the white car.
The interior of the same car. Arden replaced the front-seats with Recaro CSE seats, replaced the steeringwheel and fitted a console that houses the carphone. Also note that the car has the 5-speed manual transmission.
To stand out sometimes it's best to keep things as they were: this Arden XJ Series III is the only car on this page with all the chrome trim left as standard. Rial wheels are a must, since this car was in an add for Rial-rims!
This Arden XJ has different shoes: 16" Remotec (?) wheels in stead of the Rials that appear to be fitted more often.
Another Arden Jaguar, this time based on a Daimler Double Six. Completely in black the car looks meaner, but not losing it's stylishness. As was the case with many Mercedes-Benz tuners of the day, Arden could also replace the chrome trim with parts in 24-carat gold.
The same car in front of the Arden building in Kleve. The rims are the 16" Remotec (?) ones.
Again Arden has taken time to improve the Daimler's interior. Creme leather everywhere, new steeringwheel, Recaro type-C and the obvious carphone. Installing a phone like that used to cost about 15.000 DM, the price of a small car.
This Arden AJ4 based on the Daimler Double Six fitted with late '80s 17" Arden wheels. Although this car is of a much later production than the first Arden Jaguar XJ Series III, Arden did not change the spoilerset for the Jaguar/Daimler in all these years. There was no need to, it still looks great.
The rear-end of the same car. The more modern Arden-design wheels give the Double-Six a more modern look, though not messing with it's classic appearance. The antenna on the roof is for the telephone.
The interior is the same ol' same ol': Recaro type-C in creme leather with Arden logos embroidered, more leather and the bussinessman's necessity, the carphone.
Another Daimler Double-Six based AJ4.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013