Catering for all the XJS variants - the Coupé, Cabriolet and Convertible
Introduced in 1975, with its famous ‘flying buttress’ roofline, the XJS appeared shortly after the last E-Types left Browns Lane and was the last car on which Jaguar’s aerodynamics genius Malcolm Sayer worked. From day one, its styling was controversial and the XJS was a bit of a ‘Marmite’ car – some people loved its sleek, grand-tourer looks, while others mourned the demise of the iconic E-Type.
Fitted initially with the same engine that powered the Series 3 E-Type, the fuel crisis of the day combined with the V12’s thirst, made the XJS an expensive car to run. These early cars, subsequently dubbed ‘Pre-HE’, were available with manual transmissions but this option was soon dropped and all XJSs were automatics until the introduction of the 3.6 in 1983.
In 1981, the V12 HE (High Efficiency) with its ‘fireball’ head improved the fuel consumption but, with the arrival of Jaguar’s new 3.6 AJ6 engine, in 1983 the XJS took on a new lease of life. Subsequent engine options included a 4.0-litre straight-six and finally, a powerful 6.0-litre V12. Body styles included the original coupé, the XJS-C cabriolet with a ‘Targa’ top and, finally, a full convertible.
From 1988 to 1993, a high-performance version was fitted with the 5.3-litre V12 HE. Known as the XJR-S, this was produced by JaguarSport, a joint venture between TWR and Jaguar. The XJR-S enjoyed considerable success in competition during this period. In recent years, interest in the XJS has revived and although many were lost to corrosion, those that have survived are now being cherished and their value as an exceptional high-performance grand tourer has finally been recognised.