- You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. Walt Disney
Have a Jaguar XJS
When did you last see a Jaguar XJ-S on a public road, actually been driven? I bet the answer wasn’t this week, or even this month, especially if we’re talking about the early, pre- HE coupé version of the XJ-S, which seems to have disappeared into Room 101. And yet, when you look at the production numbers, Jaguar managed to sell a remarkable 115,413 examples over a period of 20 years, making it a hugely successful model for the famous British brand and comfortably outselling its more famous predecessor, the E-type, by some 40,000 units.
The Jaguar XJ-S (later XJS), a luxury grand tourer, was produced by the British manufacturer Jaguar from 1976 to 1996.
The last XJS was produced on 4 April 1996; by then 115,413 had been produced during a 21-year production life. The model was replaced by the XK8.
The XJ-S was launched on 10 September 1975. The development of the car had begun in the late 1960s as project XJ27, with an initial shape set by Malcolm Sayer, but after his death in 1970 it was completed by the in-house Jaguar design team, headed by Doug Thorpe.
Which one to buy?
The XJ-S’s sales success thankfully means that there is a great number of them left on the road today, while the 21-year production run saw various different revisions and models through the years to suit various tastes.
The earliest, and some would say purest cars, were only available with the V12 engine. These early models offer great value and styling, but it’s as the car matured, it became better-built and far better to drive. The introduction of the ‘High Efficiency’ (HE) version in 1981 brought in a much more advanced engine, capable of up to 20mpg. Minor styling changes include new wheels and more chrome.
If you plan on running the car regularly, the option of one of the six-cylinder cars, launched in 1983, is an appealing one. Performance isn’t significantly reduced, but the smaller engine provides up to 30mpg (on a very gentle run!) and reduced running costs.
Most XJ-Ss feature an automatic gearbox, although a handful were bought with manual ‘boxes. When it went on sale in ‘83, the AJ6-engined cars were only offered with a manual, so these are the most common three-pedalled cars, but auto was made finally made available in 1988.