The XJ-S, designed by Malcolm Sayer and Sir William Lyons and launched in 1975, was Jaguar’s replacement for the iconic E-Type. With distinctive ‘flying buttresses’ and the E-Type’s legendary 5.3 litre V12 engine – now fuel-injected – it had impressive performance, reaching a top speed of 143 mph and accelerating from 0 to 60 in just 7.6 seconds.
In 1980, the car was given a new lease of life with the introduction of the HE (High Efficiency) engine – a modified cylinder head design and better ignition system increased power and torque while improving fuel economy by more than 20 per cent. The HE engine was equipped with a fuel injection system from Lucas based on the Bosch D-Jetronic system. In 1983, an all-new 3.6 litre straight-six engine was added to the range, and a full convertible was launched on V12 models in 1988.
The final generation ‘facelift’ model, now called the XJS, arrived in 1990, with few mechanical changes but substantial revisions to the external appearance including additional rust-proofing treatment for the bodyshell, a new grille, all-new rear lights, new rear window and revised rear side windows. Inside, the instrument panel, centre console and steering wheel were also new, while extra veneer was added to the instrument cluster for a welcome touch of luxury. The 3.6 litre engine was replaced by a new 4.0 litre version of the AJ6, while the V12, with ‘power bulge’ on the bonnet, continued initially with the 5.3 litre HE engine, now with a fuel injection system from Magneti Marelli.
ABS, leather upholstery, power seats, electric windows, Jaguar radio/cassette, trip computer, air conditioning.
This desirable ‘face-lifted’ XJS is finished in a cool shade of steel grey paint work showing off its sleek muscular lines. The grey bodywork has been professionally detailed and the car appears to have spent most of its life as a fair weather machine, meaning it looks as fresh today as the day it left the factory. It has undoubtedly benefited from the additional rust-proofing treatment that was supplied with these later models – floor, sills, doors, boot and wheel arches are all free of rust, allowing the head-turning, classic XJS shape to be fully appreciated. The chrome is in excellent condition and adds class to what is already a subtle and smart colour combination.
The interior of the car is also in superb condition. The supple black leather on the seats and grey carpet in the footwells is unmarked and remains very supportive, almost like new, while the solid burred walnut inserts in the dash and door panels retain their original lustre. In the centre console is an original Jaguar-branded radio/cassette as well as a trip computer. Rear seatbelts, air conditioning, electric windows and power seats are all fitted. The boot is also lined in pristine grey carpet, covering the spare wheel and toolkit.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Jaguar’s silky smooth and reliable V12 engine is undoubtedly one of the finest of all time, and is renowned for being capable of high mileage with very little problems.The original version of the engine was notorious for its poor fuel consumption figures, but the HE model fitted to this car benefits from the Michael May-designed ‘Fireball’ cylinder heads, keeping the impressive power figures consistent but hugely improving the economy. Well serviced during its life the car fires up with a purposeful growl before settling into a relaxed, smooth idle.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The 16-inch diameter five-spoke ‘Starfish’ alloy wheels are undamaged. They are fitted front and rear with matching Pirelli P6000 performance tyres with plenty of tread. The anti-lock braking system is a competent performer, bringing the car to a halt smoothly and efficiently.
First registered in February 1992, this car has had just five owners in the last 26 years and comes with a huge history file – with 24 service stamps and a huge amount of paperwork. Over its entire life, the car’s average service interval has been a remarkably low 2,125 miles. Following a service in 2008 by Steels of Hereford, it received a new steering rack, starter motor, battery and front suspension bushes, and a year later it was also fitted with new rear discs and pads, and handbrake pads. Other work includes a fully overhauled air-conditioning system, and a rebuilt differential. The car comes supplied with all original handbooks and two keys.
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