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    A MATTER OF A OPINION? #Jaguar / #Jaguar-AJ16

    Why oh why do you employ writers like Skelton?

    His diatribe on the #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar-XJ-S is exactly the type of thing that Clarkson would write and puts the classic car industry and hobby back years.

    It’s not the car’s fault that he is too big to fit in it, it’s not the car’s fault that he has chosen a pre-facelift 3.6 car to write about, possibly the worst of the entire breed of XJS. That car was built in the ’80s and he seems to expect it to be as accommodating as a modern Eurobox. He should try driving a facelift from ’1995-’1996 with the sublimely smooth #Jaguar-XJS-AJ16 engine and matching auto box which makes driving one of these fine machines a total pleasure. Note that I said auto box, for yes, the car was badged as a GT! Not a sports car but one to waft down to Monte Carlo with the minimum of fuss and effort.

    I do sometimes wonder why media such as yours, that is clearly aimed at the classic car fraternity write such rubbish and employ such people like Skelton to write it. As my late father used to say, “if you can’t find anything nice to say (write) about someone or something, then don’t say (write) it at all.” Shame on you as well for even agreeing to publish it.

    Thankfully, there is a huge following for this car, and its enthusiasts’ club recognises the importance of the car that saved Jaguar.
    • People - and what they like - are all different. And my experiences of XJ-S’s on a personal level aren’t great. I’ve driven V12 autos, #Jaguar-AJ6 mPeople - and what they like - are all different. And my experiences of XJ-S’s on a personal level aren’t great. I’ve driven V12 autos, #Jaguar-AJ6 manuals, AJ6/16 autos from before and after the facelift, and across all three body styles - and very few have felt like they should.

      That’s not the fault of the breed as a whole, it’s because somewhere down the line someone’s skimped on care - as with any expensive car that could once be bought for peanuts. This 3.6 was one of the good ones. But that night in November 2016, when suffering whiplash, trying to navigate some very tight roads and then being barely able to get out, my dislike of the best XJ-S I’d ever driven tainted them. I wished I hadn’t bothered, and when you’re talking about something as emotive as a British GT, apathy is the quickest way to spoil it.

      If someone wants to give me a late 4.0 and a nice road on a nice day to try to change my mind, please do. I want to like the XJ-S, because were it not for the niggles it’d come close to being the best Jaguar of all time. That’s what makes them frustrating for me, and why I’m so emotive about the things that spoil them.
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    Manual XJ-S not hanging around

    If you find a good manual 3.6, pounce on it now before another visionary does

    ‘This was a very bespoke Jag – and it’ll be the next to become collectible’

    / #Jaguar-XJ-S-Cabriolet / #Jaguar-XJ-S-Cabriolet-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-S-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-S-Manual / #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar-XJ-S / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-SC / #Getrag-265 / #Jaguar-AJ6 / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6-Manual / #1987-Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6-Manual / #1987-Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6 / #1987 / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6

    VALUE 2010 £7500
    VALUE NOW £10K

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    With values of the Jaguar XJ-S now brightening, it’s worth looking at the rarer variants. You’re too late for a bargain ’1975/’1976 manual V12 – only 352 were built and they’re now £40k and rising - but good examples of the ’1985 to ’1987 T-top 3.6 Jaguar XJ S Cabriolet five-speeders are still only in £10k territory. Never sold in America and a slow seller in the UK they’re a rare sight with only around 700 manuals ever produced. I owned an ’1984 for a while and loved the front-end balance and poise from the lighter six-pot AJ6 engine. The #Getrag -265 five-speed is a really sweet unit and you can row the car along like an E-type. Urgent, lithe and quick these manual six-cylinder versions of the XJ-S feel livelier than the V12s and are much underrated.

    A private seller in Hampshire has a Tudor White ’1985 manual XJ-SC with 63,000 miles and ‘excellent service history’ for £11,500 while Julian Brown Ltd in Grantham has one of the last 3.6s built, an ’1987 manual cabriolet in light blue with 82,000 miles, three owners and £7k of recent bills for £11,450.

    Prices are warming up though with really nice XJ-SCs selling well. In March H&H sold an ’1985 ex-Browns Lane TWR development car with 57,000 miles and history for £14,000 and Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth is offering a mint 23,000-mile ’1984 Burberry special edition – one of just two made – for £45,000. Understand that the targa XJ-S was a prototype convertible before Jaguar got its act together engineering a full drop-top for the American market, and you’ll understand that this is a rare piece of Jaguar history. Bizarrely, the £20,756 XJ-SC was built on the same production line as a coupé shell – the roof and rear buttresses were then removed and cant rails and a centre bar installed by Park Sheet Metal in Coventry, while Aston Martin’s Tickford division fitted the fabric roof and removable panels. This was a very bespoke Jag that was effectively hand-built and only available to special order. If I had to predict the next XJ-S to become collectable I’d say it’s the manual XJ-SC 3.6. But don’t hang about. The private seller in Lincolnshire currently advertising a Sage Green ’1984 manual cabriolet with 91,000 miles and a ‘good history’ for just £5250 won’t have it for long.
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    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    Jaguar XJ-S / XJS leaves the bargain basement E-type replacement finally unlocks the wallets of a new generation of Jaguar lovers

    / #Jaguar-XJ-S / #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar / #1985-Jaguar-XJ-SC-V12-Cabriolet / #1985 / #1977

    VALUE 2010 UK £6250

    VALUE NOW 2018 UK £13k

    Finally, after years of false dawns and flat values things are looking up for Jaguar’s XJ-S. There’s clear evidence that a new demand is moving prices higher and anything low mileage, rare or special has comfortably broken the £20k threshold. Maybe a new generation of Jaguar fanciers has come of age or we’ve just all suddenly realised that Coventry’s slinky GT has been too cheap for too long, but a fresh sentiment is definitely stirring out there. In Anglia’s May sale a 1989 5.3 convertible with 54,000 miles and eight stamps in the book made £18,550 and a ’1992 facelift 4.0 coupé with 62,000 and 15 dealer stamps made a solid £18,020. Slades Garage in Buckinghamshire has a rare ’ 1985-Jaguar-XJ-S-V12-SC-Cabriolet with just 14,000 miles for £39,950 while UK Sports and Prestige in Harrogate has a ’1995 4.0 litre Celebration coupé with 70k for £29,900. These figures are all significantly up on last year.

    Compared to Italian supercars such prices look bargain basement and perhaps that’s the reason for this renaissance – a light bulb moment where enthusiasts recognise a new value and desirability in low-mileage cosseted examples.

    But while the general market catches up with this shift there will be opportunities such as the red ’1977 V12 coupé with 59,000 miles that slipped under the radar in Barons’ May sale, knocked down for a very cheap £5610. And it’s the pre-HE cars that I reckon have the greatest long-term potential. Launch year ’1975s are the purest and rarest with their Kent alloys, Seventies colours and unadorned bodies. Find an ultra-rare V12 manual (only 300-odd were built) and you’ll have a Jag coupé that’s actually more exclusive than a 1961 flat-floor outside bonnet lock E-type. And remember those first cars starred in TV series such as Return of The Saint and The New Avengers, so there’s a great retro Seventies heritage bubbling away too.

    Already I’m seeing signs that early cars are attracting strong attention and selling quickly, so don’t hang about – the 1975-1977 XJ-S is definitely one to buy right now.

    ‘Coventry’s slinky GT has been too cheap for too long’
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    XJS upgr ades / MODIFICATIONS

    Independent #Jaguar-Specialist-KWE has developed and tested a range of modifications for the Jaguar XJS. It recommends renewing the steering rack bushes with polyurethane, which helps to tighten up the steering considerably without losing ride quality and they seem to last forever. It charges £220 to fit these bushes to the XJS.

    KWE also recommends replacing the gearbox mounting bush on the 5.3-litre #V12 XJS with polyurethane because the standard rubber mount is known to wear. Total cost supplied and fitted comes to £180.

    KWE’s favoured size of wheel and rubber is 16in genuine Jaguar wheels with 225/55 x R16 #Falken-ZE914 or Michelin Sport tyres.

    For the best power and economy, #KWE fits a #Hayward-and-Scott exhaust system with tubular exhaust manifolds (around £3,500). It has also found AJ6 Engineering’s TT exhaust or large-bore system (£2,000-£3,500) provides a noticeable increase in power. It favours #AJ6 Engineering’s Plus Torque kits (around £3,000, fitted) for better power and torque, which includes a super-enhanced (SE) modified ECU, larger throttle bodies and upgraded air filters. KWE also offers cold air intakes for the 5.3-litre V12 (£700 fitted).

    For the optimum engine performance, KWE recommends changing the #ECU for a programmable unit to make the most of other engine modifications. Budget for around £8,000 for this conversion, which, in some cases, includes upgrading the engine wiring and sensors.

    On the exterior, KWE recommends upgrading the headlamps to HID or gen 2 LEDs (£220 to £340). Inside, it can fit LEDs with green filters for the main dashboard illumination (£80), and fit a modern stereo system with a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity for around £400 (speaker upgrades using JL Audio components and KWE door skin speaker mounts cost around £450). To make the most of the stereo upgrades, or to simply reduce road and engine noise, KWE can replace the sound deadening material in the floors with a modern material from the likes of Dynamat (around £450). Other areas, including the roof and rear bulkhead can also be soundproofed. And the air conditioning can be brought up-to-date witha more modern compressor (around £500).

    / #Jaguar-XJS-V12 / #Jaguar-XJ-S / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-V12 / #V12 / #1989-Jaguar-XJ-S-V12 / #Jaguar-XJS / #Modifications / #Jaguar-XJS-Modifications / #Jaguar-XJS-upgrades
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    / #Jaguar-XJ-S-V12 / #Jaguar-XJ-S / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-V12 / #V12 / #1989-Jaguar-XJ-S-V12
    Year of manufacture #1989
    Recorded mileage 72,861
    Asking price £15,000
    Vendor Adrian King, Bucks (private sale); tel: 07973 669967


    Price £18,950 (’1981 UK V12-version )
    Max power 291bhp
    Max torque 317lb ft
    0-60mph 7.4 secs
    Top speed 151mph
    Mpg 17

    This Jag really is registered XJS 53L. Incredibly, when owner King checked with the DVLA, the number was available, so he snapped it up and is selling only because he wants another classic. The car has clearly been well fettled, with minimal mileage on the MoTs after clocking up 55,000 in its first decade (the one aberration of 97,253 recorded in 2015 must be an error).

    The body is straight and almost rot-free, with a couple of dings in the driver’s door and a smaller one over the offside arch. There are bills for sill and wheelarch work in ’2002, and it’s been painted up to the waist. The only notable flaw in the paint is a dull patch on the nose of the bonnet, which also sports a few small bubbles – plus there are a few others at the bottoms of the rear quarters. The wheels were refinished in 2013, shod with General Grabbers that have lots of tread, and an aged NCT on the spare. The bumpers, too, were new in 2013, and are still excellent.

    Inside, it’s similarly good. The seat leather is lightly creased, with the outer-side piping on the driver’s seat worn through. The centre console veneer was new in 2014, and is a notably stronger colour than the dash. The instruments are all excellent, including a functioning trip computer. The electric windows work, but the electric seatback adjustment doesn’t.

    The motor is tidy, with various new pipes, valves and clips. It was last serviced (and all the belts changed) in March 2017 and the oil is still cleanish and to the top mark on the dipstick. We couldn’t see the coolant and the automatic gearbox fluid looks ‘used’ but doesn’t smell burnt.

    There’s some evidence of new paint on the inner wings, with some small rust bubbles above the right front damper mount.

    It starts instantly and drives well, with the typical XJ-S slight float but no wallow. The V12 provides relentless prod, the kickdown works okay, and the smooth brakes are nicely weighted. Oil pressure on the move reads 45psi, with the temperature a third of the way up the gauge. Interestingly, the average mpg reads 17.4, which is exactly what the books say these do.

    The XJ-S is better than average for its year, and the MoT runs until June.

    SUMMARY for XJS 5.3L UK reg

    EXTERIOR Partial respray; minor blemishes
    INTERIOR Leather upholstery mostly wearing well; new centre veneer
    MECHANICALS Excellent ongoing care
    VALUE 9/10
    For That number!
    Against Minor rust bubbles need sorting before they grow

    No major issues and at about £10k the XJ-S looks quite good value. The other £5000 is for the number, which may be available separately
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    The Jaguar-XJ-S is now 40 years old. Richard Heseltine savours five examples of this thoroughly British GT.

    If at first you don’t succeed, quit. There’s little point in prolonging the inevitable. Fortunately, there were enough true believers within Jaguar who kept the faith and, thanks to their efforts, the much-maligned XJ-S avoided the chop and matured into a world-class GT. Conceived in the 1960s, it entered production barely two years after a fuel crisis, just as parent company British Leyland was put on suicide watch. However, it was effectively reborn in the 1980s and enjoyed its most successful year in middleage: in 1989, some 11,207 were sold, which was a remarkable turnaround given that sales had barely reached four figures at the start of the decade. Yet the XJ-S has only recently begun to emerge from the shadow of its forebear, the time-defying E-type. The thing is, the XJ-S never was a sports car. It wasn’t intended to be one. Instead, it was meant to be a mile-eating grand tourer, one that could cross continents in a single bound and in absolute comfort. What’s more, Jaguar largely succeeded in this mission.

    When the XJ-S was launched at the #1975-Frankfurt-Motor-Show , it borrowed much from the XJ-series saloon, not least its amazing V12. The newcomer was largely praised by the media, even if the styling wasn’t to all tastes. Unfortunately, it was almost undone by less than brilliant build quality and worse reliability. Many of these issues were addressed by the HE (High Efficiency) model in 1981, with its freer-flowing cylinder head, suspension tweaks and more attractive interior. The appointment of John Egan at the helm also helped right the ship, the XJ-S going on to flourish during the rest of the decade as Jaguar gained its independence, before Ford acquired the marque in 1989. By the time the XJS (it dropped the hyphen in 1991) was laid to rest in April 1996, 115,413 units had been shifted. These days, survivors are highly sought-after. And with good reason.

    1975 #Jaguar XJ-S PRICE WHEN NEW £8900
    PRICE 2015
    Concours £30,000
    Good £16,000
    Usable £8000
    Project £2500

    With its plastic bumpers and chunky rear buttresses, the first-generation XJ-S is not a pretty car, but it is compelling. While the model was rooted in a project developed by aerodynamicist-cum-chief designer Malcolm Sayers, what emerged in 1975 – five years after Sayer’s death – was substantially different from what he had envisaged. It may be compromised, but it’s hard not to fall for this period piece. The golden hue instantly evokes the 1970s, a time when the XJ-S appeared in TV shows such as Return of the Saint and The New Avengers. For better or worse, it’s very much of its time.

    The same is true once you’ve stepped – or should that be stooped – aboard. With its leather and vinyl upholstery, ugly steering wheel and chunky rocker switches, it isn’t the most stylish of cabins. That said, the vertically-calibrated instruments are supergroovy. The car pictured here was displayed at the 1975 Earl’s Court Motor Show and is one of the earliest examples in existence. What’s more, it has barely 4000 miles on the clock.

    Jaguar’s brochure promised 285bhp, with the choice of a four-speed manual or three-speed autobox, although only 352 cars were equipped as manuals before the option was quietly dropped. Unfortunately, the #Borg-Warner Model 12 slushbox tends to change up early, which is frustrating, but the V12 is a gem. It’s barely audible when idling, and only becomes vocal under kickdown. And it does sound good. The car lollops a little, but it’s pretty faithful. If anything, body roll appears more pronounced from outside. The all-round disc brake arrangement works well enough, but it isn’t easy to modulate pedal pressure. There is also pronounced wind and tyre noise. But you can forgive the car just about anything because it has bags of character.

    Gorgeous alloy wheels are a nod to Rostyle cool.
    Forget wood ‘n’ leather, the early XJ-S makes use of crackle-black finish and is purposeful. V12 engine is world-class – turbine smooth and powerful. Looks a plumbing nightmare.
    Aircraft-style secondary instrumentation is super-cool, if a little odd.


    ENGINE 5343cc/V12/OHC QPOWER 285bhp@5800rpm
    TORQUE 294lb ft@3500rpm
    MAXIMUM SPEED 153mph
    0-60MPH 6.7sec
    TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed manual/three-speed auto #Borg-Warner-Model-12
    ENGINE 5343cc/V12/OHC
    POWER 285bhp@5800rpm
    TORQUE 294lb ft@3500rpm
    MAXIMUM SPEED 153mph
    0-60MPH 6.7sec


    Jaguar supplied two cars for use in Return of the Saint. Star Ian Ogilvy reputedly lunched the engine in one of them on a spirited drive from Italy to the UK.
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