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The Jaguar 420 (pronounced "four-twenty") and its Daimler Sovereign equivalent were introduced at the October 1966 London Motor Show and produced for two years as the ultimate expression of a series of "compact sporting saloons" offered by Jaguar throughout that decade, all of which shared the same wheelbase. Developed from the Jaguar S-Type, the 420 cost around £200 more than that model and effectively ended buyer interest in it, although the S-Type continued to be sold alongside the 420/Sovereign until both types were supplanted by the Jaguar XJ6 late in 1968. The Jaguar 420 should not be confused with the larger Jaguar 420G.
The 420/Sovereign traces its origins back to the Jaguar Mark 2, which was introduced in 1959 and sold through most of the 1960s. The Mark 2 had a live rear axle and was powered by the XK six-cylinder engine first used in the Jaguar XK120 of 1948. The Mark 2 was available in 2.4, 3.4 and 3.8-litre engine capacities.
In 1968 the Daimler DS420 limousine began to be produced, carrying a similarly styled grille to the Sovereign and using the 4.2-litre Jaguar engine in twin carburettor form and also undergoing final assembly at Jaguar's Browns Lane factory in Coventry, England. Although this car was based on a modified 420G floorpan rather than that of the 420, the existence of a third Jaguar-manufactured model with "420" in its name provides further scope for confusion.