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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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    CAR #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar-XJS-V12 / #Jaguar /
    Year of manufacture #1977
    Recorded mileage 34,257
    Asking price £23,500
    Vendor Pendine, Bicester Heritage,
    Oxfordshire; tel: 07770 762751;

    Price £8900
    Max power 285bhp
    Max torque 294lb ft
    0-60mph 6.7 secs
    Top speed 153mph
    Mpg 17mpg (official)

    This pre-HE XJ-S is one of only 385 manual-transmission models, which use the four-speed gearbox from the V12 E-type rather than the five-speed BL ‘77mm’ (SD1) unit that you might expect. It’s in excellent order and has just returned from a period in New Zealand.

    It’s been repainted (and the front wings have been off at some point) but is rot-free, with good subframes. The front dampers are new, plus there are rust repair and repaint bills from NZ around 1990. The floors are straight and solid, the door bottoms uncorroded. There are a few small blemishes in the paint, the worst being micro-blistering on the bootlid. Other than that, the door/front wing fits and gaps aren’t that brilliant, the bumper plastics are a bit wavy and the sail panels a little wrinkled – all completely normal for British Leyland production of the mid-’70s and in keeping with its demeanour of ‘honest old thing’…

    The wheels are unscuffed, shod with 215-section Goodyear SUV tyres with lots of tread, though the spare is a little corroded with lacquer peeling off and wearing an old 205-section XDX. The exhaust is in sound order and looks fabricated rather than machine-produced, perhaps in NZ. Inside, the leather is original and well creased, with one small tear in the left seat, but the headlining is so clean that it might be a replacement. The dash, door cards and pulls are all smart, with a modern face-off stereo.

    The motor is tidy enough for its age, though it’s just had a £3000 service at Classic Performance Engineering, and there’s gasket sealant visible under the cam carriers. The radiator cap is new, as are the fluids, and the compressions are as factory – 170-180psi on all 12. CPE also measured the oil pressure, because the gauge was felt to read a bit low, and found it to be fine – it shows 50psi running and 25psi at warm idle. It starts easily and driveswell, with smooth clutch and brakes plus strong synchros. Even the aircon blows coldish, weakly. The MoT runs to 2 June.


    EXTERIOR Older repaint still presents well
    INTERIOR Original and nicely patinated

    MECHANICALS Recently gone through; decent oil pressure
    VALUE 5

    For A good example of an appreciating model
    Against Probably 12mpg in real life

    Rarer than an outside-bonnet-lock E-type, these early GTs are tipped to be the next big thing – and this one has been carefully preserved.
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    Should the fact that it’s a V12 in need of work put Richard off? #1992 #Jaguar-XJS-V12 / #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar

    OWNED SINCE August 2015
    TOTAL MILEAGE 91,038
    MILEAGE SINCE PURCHASE 114 on a trailer
    COSTS SO FAR £250 retrieval

    Some of the most exciting, terrifying words for a car enthusiast are ‘I know where there’s a…’ – invariably leading to either disappointment or unplanned financial woe. When admiring a newly-acquired XJS on a car forum, a comment about never having owned a Jaguar elicited those very words, followed by a figure that frankly, seemed too good to be true. Needless to say, the MG F was aimed down the A14 and M11 to a barn (yes, really) in Essex, where a sickly XJS V12 had been put to rest following head gasket failure.

    Most normal people would, I suspect, very sensibly run away from such a prospect. I have never replaced a head gasket or worked on a Jaguar, but there’s a compelling argument for taking this on. Under the almost organic network of pipes, wires and linkages lies not only a classic British engine, but reputedly an extremely tough one. A price was agreed, and after 150-odd cars, first-time Jaguar ownership was checked off the list.

    Systematic, thorough documentation and patience in getting to the cylinder heads, and then the gaskets should therefore result in a relatively easy but time consuming project. I can hear your mocking laughter now, and yes, it’s justified. Having enlisted the help of a friend with a Land Rover Discovery and a substantial Brian James trailer, the XJS was brought up to Leicestershire at a sedate pace, as balancing the weight of the big coupé proved difficult.

    A six-wheel trailer would have made much more sense, or the option originally considered of hiring a 7.5-tonne Beavertail transporter. The costs are not significantly different, particularly when the 12-hour day is taken into account. Once safely home, a quick wash and glance over the car, then it was carefully moved into the garage for closer inspection. The engine, despite he failed gasket, sounds healthy with good oil pressure. The transmission on this model is the three-speed #GM400 , a gearbox which will probably outlast cockroaches after a nuclear war. The interior is good for a 91,000-mile car, and the electrics seem to work. So far, so good. With all the best advice and intentions, the bodywork looked pretty good too, with only minor rust to the scuttle to hint at the typical inner wing maladies, good subframe mounts and inner wings and seemingly good rear flanks. As always, that first shine of acquisition did not last long, as it’s clear some poor repairs have taken place and many XJS rot spots are living up to their reputation. A badly painted bonnet and quad lights hint at past accidents, too.

    However, I’m not discouraged. This is a long-term project, akin to acquiring a neglected E-type in the 1980s, and it will be seen through to completion. What chills the blood, however, is the idea that this car was advertised for £6500 just two years ago, and looked the part. To have spent that, and to discover the rust and then suffer significant engine failure, would be a nightmare for any owner.

    Two years ago, this car was advertised for £6500, and it looked in pretty good condition.
    The bonnet and lights have been poorly repainted, hinting at underlying accident damage.
    Has anyone actually sat in the back? It doesn’t look like it.

    This is what all the fuss is about. There’s a head gasket that needs replacing somewhere in this lot.
    The interior is in very good condition, and all the gadgets appear to work.
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