* Prices may differ from that shown
Why did I buy an XJS? Well it was a long time ago,early 1990s when I bought mine and they had been in and out of fashion.Suddenly they were cool again,the new and last model came out in 1991 giving it a new lustre.
Mine was an 8 year old V12 HE 5.3 litre,nice metallic dark green with gold pin stripes (remember those? Very British Leyland) It had the chrome bumpers and extra large 17" TWR lattice wheels.It looked the business,much better than you would think,bodywork very good,everything worked (I guess I was lucky the electrics were fine in mine) The last owner really loved it,kept it well serviced and garaged.Showing 60,000 miles it was still immaculate,the leather was excellent condition beige colour and the wood,the carpets etc nice.My first automatic car and one of many to come,not that this old 3 speed was that good,it was smooth but a bit slow, 0-60 was disappointing.For a car that boasted around 320 BHP it did not feel like it but over 50 mph it really got going! Try putting your foot to the floor at 50 mph the front will lift up in the air and then it proves its a V12 alright!
I looked at a few before buying this one,prices were from £3500 - £5500 for a car around 6 years old plus,they do depreciate these old Jags!!! Alot of car for the money,plenty to chose from so prices were low.They are very limited inside for a big car,token rear seats are rubbish,low roof line but has a huge boot.
Mine cost just under £4K,it did need a few bits and pieces however at its first MOT with me and it cost me another £800 or so that year that was unexpected! Never mind,I kept it for about 2 years as a second car,worse part of ownership is the huge thirst! Best 15 mpg,worst it would go down to half that,ouch,I stopped watching the computer,as it would tell me I was doing 2 mpg when I went to overtake!
Its now a true classic Brit so if you are looking for one be patient and get a well cared for running example.A project car will cost way too much to get bac on the road,even for a mechanic as parts are pricey and you may struggle to get them.
If you want something fast this definitely is not it,its a cruiser and not a sports car.
Mind you on the open road I remember leaving a few hot hatches in my wake! One nutter in a Renault 5 Turbo was really miffed when he could not keep up down the Fosseway! When I hit the twisty bits though I had to take it easy and he caught me up but on the straight he had no chance,Ha!
Insurance was not a problem,even under 25 I managed to get a modern classic policy as it was a second car and I only intended to do a few thousand miles a year in it anyway,back then it was around £200 or so fully comp,a real bargain.They are solid well built safe motors,low centre of gravity and super smooth magic carpet ride.Watch out for rust though,I saw some bad ones,they must have had rust on them from new!
I had a private plate with 007 in the number,real cool eh? Well I thought it was then,they were good enough for The Saint I suppose,remember the white ST1.
I have noticed these seem to be getting popular again,especially the convertible,last model is probably the one to go for probably the 6 cylinder 4.0 Ltr,at least it may do a few more mpg than my V12 and be just as quick.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!
The magnificent e-Type that Jaguar first produced back in 1961 took the motoring world by storm, but by the mid -1970's it was showing its age and a successor was badly needed.
That car was the Jaguar XJS which had all the necessary credentials to make it perhaps the best car in the world; a glorious V-12 engine, a suspension system that was second to none, and all the prestige of the Jaguar badge.
But somehow the XJS failed to recreate the magic that had made the e-Type so special. The styling seemed to grate on people's nerves, traditionalists be moaned the slab flanks, strange headlights, and non-chrome black bumpers, and hankered after Jaguar's traditional and distinctive grille and walnut veneer dashboard. Spots car drivers didn't like the styling or the cramped interior.
I suppose the main difference between the XJS and the e-Type which it replaced was that while the e-Type had been designed by one very talented person, the XJS was styled by consensus, and as a result ended up being somewhat of a mixture of different designer's ideas of what constituted a great sports car.
The XJS was built on a shortened chassis of the existing XJ12 sedan, so that it was unnecessary for Jaguar to come up with a totally new drive system, suspension, and brakes. The standard transmission was a Borg Warner three-speed automatic, and although Jaguar offered a choice of manual gearbox (shift change) only 352 customers ever took them up on the offer!
You couldn't fault the car's performance for a large 4-seater saloon. The acceleration was electric, and the car would go on to a top speed of nearly 160 mph. But while there was acres of space in the front two seats, the two in the rear were really only suitable for kids. (Or very small adults!) The interior design was lifted straight from the XJ series.
Jaguar upgraded the car in 1981, adding a larger 5.3 litre V-12 engine which gave it better fuel economy and far more power, and rechristened the car the XJS - HE. (High Efficiency) A cabriolet version with a rigid fold back roof was added in 1983 which was strictly a two-seater model, and this was produced up until 1988, when it was replaced by a top-of -the -range full convertible model with a electric folding roof. At the same time a TWR version was introduced which developed an awesome 333 bhp.
In 1991 Jaguar invested over £50 million in totally revamping the car in an attempt to prolong its shelf life. The rear end was redesigned and a completely new interior added, and a brand new AJ6 four-litre engine was introduced. Within 4 years this was upgraded to AJ16 specification (an extra 15 bhp), while the old V-12 engine was expanded to six litres.
The last XJS rolled off the production line in September 1996, which made it the longest lasting Jaguar model ever produced with over 21 years service. In this time around 112,000 cars were manufactured. A measure of its success was that the car that eventually replaced it, the XK8, was actually based on the XJS floor pan.
I've personally driven two or three different XJS Jaguars, albeit not since the early 1990's. It's always been an aspiration of mine to own one of these lovely cars, and I'll likely buy a restored model when I retire in 7 or 8 years time, and will only be doing a smallish annual mileage. (They're *VERY* heavy on petrol, especially the 5 and 6 litre versions.)
There are still a lot of these cars around, and they can now be purchased for very reasonable money. A mere £5,000 to around £15,000 will get you a car in good to excellent condition. Lots of companies specialise in their restoration.
© KenJ April 2008
Note the category listing. (Jaguar XJS - Auto History) This was a suggestion of mine that means a car buff (like me) can now write about cars they like without necessarily having owned the vehicle, as it's a review of the *HISTORY* of the car, rather than a review based on actual ownership.