The 1972 XJ6 offers rudimentary, and mostly unsatisfactory, courtesy and interior lighting typical of 1970s vintage Jaguars.
The B/C post top pillar light, similar to those in earlier saloons like the Mk2, is retained, but instead of a wood mount, the fixture is entirely made of plastic. The light projects poorly and the fixture’s appearance looks cheap (inexpensive back in 1972, but remarkably these parts now sell for over $50 on eBay!).
In models outfitted with air conditioning (like ours), the interior pillar lights and the center dash “map” light were combined on a single rocker switch.
The map light is another carryover from the Mk2 saloon, and, like its older cousin, provides minimal illumination, certainly not enough to actually read a map!
Activation of interior lights is triggered when doors open or when the interior rocker switch is on.
The dash makeover plan incorporates modern digital gauges with excellent backlight illumination. In addition, push button switches with face plate labels will also be illuminated, eliminating the need for the so-called padded dash “map” light.
The construction of the XJ6 roof makes it difficult to incorporate overhead courtesy lights on either side of the rear view mirror. Alternative possibilities include scuff (tread) plate LED lighting for entry, and/or courtesy lights placed either under the dash or seats to illuminate the foot box areas.
Scuff plate illumination
Over the last few model years, scuff plate LED lights have become a popular luxury feature since it offers good night visibility for getting into the car and does not need interior switching since the light is only illuminated (and useful) when doors are open.
Chinese aftermarket manufacturers offer some intriguing features like customized logos, light “scrolling” when first switched on, and a choice of colors — white, blue, and red.
Another recent innovation are so-called puddle (also called shadow or ghost) LEDs that project customized logos onto 1) either the outside pavement as the door swings open (thus the term “puddles”) and/or onto 2) interior dark areas like the foot box when controlled by a switch. Note that the door puddle lighting moves with the door, sweeping the outside ground.
As noted above, the legacy B/C post courtesy lights offer insufficient illumination and look like the cheap plastic they’re made of; the black border epitomizes 1970s mod style, something worth avoiding.
The upper post upholstery has a hardboard back covered with rounded foam and finished with headliner material (appears to be a synthetic fuzzy wool fabric). The center hole is used to attach the shoulder seat belt harness.
One possibility is to remake the upper post out of wood and incorporate a round LED light at the top, but a search of available products failed to find one that would fit attractively in the rather awkward space.
The B/C post lighting is typically insufficient for actually entering a dark vehicle since most of the lumination falls on the seats, not the floor or door threshold. Current model cars have largely eliminated B/C fixtures.
The subwoofer controller will be located in the old ashtray surround at the end of the center console. Since this isn’t illuminated, a small LED courtesy light will be added to the console in place of the original A/C rear vent.
Under-dash or seat
After reviewing all the above options, we settled on LED under-seat lighting. The B/C post location proved impractical given available aftermarket products. Puddle LEDs are similar to under-dash or seat strip LEDs with the graphic addition of a logo. Since China is source of these products, only ordering some for inspection can answer our quality concerns, and we elected to pass on this as well as the scuff plate illumination.
Opt7 offers an easy-to-install Aura LED strip kit with programmable colors that can be manipulated with a handheld controller or key fob.
The kit includes four strip LEDs and a small control box that directly connects all the strips. The only external wiring is to 12v+ and ground. Rectangular plastic holds with zip ties screw into the sheet metal. We shortened the cables and pigtails for a more professional installation.
The LEDs provide plenty of light. A dimming function and a wide range of color choices really makes it possible to “tune” the passenger cabin environment. Here’s what the lights look like in a dark garage with the raw metal floor interior.