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 The Jaguar Series 1 was introduced in September 1968 and remained in production until 1973. It featured the straight-six cylinder versions of Jaguar's renowned XK engine with a choice of either 2.8 litre or 4.2 litre. A 5.3 litre V12 engine was introduced in 1972. The transmission featured an automatic Borg Warner 8 transmission unit. This was to be later replaced with a Borg Warner Model 12 unit on the 4.2 litre-engined XJ6.

The Series 1 had twin fuel tanks mounted on each side of the boot. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard features while air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 litre model. The Jaguar XJ Series 1, as well as Series 2 and Series 3, had a unique four headlamp arrangement with 7 inch outer headlights and 5.75 inch inner headlights. The US version had both the outer and inner headlights of the same size, 5.75 inch, due to prevailing local regulations at that time.
After Jaguar took over the Daimler Company in 1960 the name Daimler Sovereign was eventually applied to a series of luxury automobiles built by Jaguar between 1966 and 1983 bearing the Daimler badge. Thus, a new Series 1 XJ6-based Sovereign was introduced in October 1969. This was an upmarket version of the Series 1 marketed under the Daimler brand and was virtually identical to the Jaguar Series 1 except for its fluted grille, luxury trim and Daimler badging. An XJ12 version was introduced in 1972 featuring a 5.3 litre V12 engine and in the same year a long wheelbase version also became available. Total production for the Series 1 was 98,227 units.