﹒Facelift XJS 4.0 in rare Platinum Metallic ﹒Full history to 90,680 miles ﹒Excellent all-round condition ﹒New MoT on completion of sale
From the moment it debuted in 1975, there was a demand for a topless version of the Jaguar XJ-S to replace the iconic E-Type Roadster.
But with Jaguar under the control of British Leyland, there wasn’t the budget to invest in two body styles for the new V12 sports car and it would be a whole eight years before a soft-top XJ-S did appear, to tie-in with the model’s mid-life facelift and the introduction of the new high efficiency “HE” engine – a rather odd moniker for a 12-cylinder behemoth that still only returned 17mpg, albeit an improvement on the original.
Even then, the ragtop XJ-S wasn’t a full convertible. Called the XJ-SC, it was a targa top model á la Triumph Stag so as not to impair the XJ-S’s structural rigidity.
But with Jaguar finally gaining independence from British Leyland in 1984, there was finally scope for its engineers to develop their own full convertible XJ-S, which made its debut in the summer of 1988, when the XJ-S was already 13 years old – the launch of a whole new body style being unprecedented for a car of this age.
Nevertheless, it was the model that Jaguar sports car enthusiasts had been waiting for, especially when combined with the new 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine (a genuinely more efficient alternative to the V12).
In 1991, the XJ-S was given a final lease of life. Now called XJS, the hyphen was consigned to the annals of history along with the triangular rear lamps and excessive chromework, while mechanically the six-cylinder model saw its 3.6-litre engine replaced by a new 270bhp 4.0-litre unit that had been developed for the XJ40 saloon.
The facelifted 4.0-litre was arguably the best iteration of the XJS, faster than the original V12, more efficient than any other variant. It has a lot to recommend it.
We’ve all been there. You see a car you’ve never owned before and had never really considered buying until it’s thrust under your nose, and suddenly you start to have naughty thought about buying one.
The vendor of this XJS did just that at the end of 2019. He’s a private vendor and a complete petrolhead with a truly amazing car collection including some stunning Italian, American and British cars and he bought the XJS on a whim as he’d never realised before quite how good the facelift models were. He now has a lot more explaining to do as his impulse buy has led him down a dangerous rabbit hole from which there’s no return – he’s selling the 4.0-litre for one reason and one reason alone. Having never even considered an XJS before last year, he’s now paid down a deposit on a V12 as he likes them so much…
Prior to his ownership, this car was loved and cherished by a Jaguar enthusiast, who took it all over the world. And by that, we mean all over. Those Route 66 decals on the front wings are there for a reason as the XJS traversed America in 2012. It also undertook a number of other transcontinental road trips in the hands of its previous owner.
The car’s historical paperwork also shows up a comprehensive service record, whilst not full, there are many Jaguar specialist stamps, the last one of these being in 2013 at 90,630 miles, in 2013. There are quite a few recent bills for general maintenance and servicing in the current keeper’s ownership including a full service in 2020, with just over 97k on the clock.
As well as the bills and receipts, the XJS also has a factory service manual that will no doubt prove invaluable to its next owner, along with the original tool kit, which sits in a bag that matches its carpet.
Tan leather, mid walnut veneers and a set of bespoke carpets set the cabin of this XJS of perfectly. It’s in fine fettle with barely any discernible wear, while the T-handled automatic gear shifter and delicate thin-rimmed steering wheel give it the aura of a proper grand touring convertible.
Everything is in fine fettle and all the dials and switches work as they should.
Platinum Metallic was only offered on the XJS in 1993 and 1994 as the colour was discontinued for the 1995 model year. That makes it quite a rare hue as well as one that sets off the XJS’s distinctive lines quite gracefully.
It’s in excellent order considering that the paint is largely original, though there are one or two areas where it has seen previous repairs, as evidenced by a patch of slightly faded paint on one door and small stone-sized dent on the nearside front wing, neither of which detract massively from the car’s overall appearance.
When the current owner bought it, the bootlid had faded and had peeling lacquer, so he had it repainted by a local body shop and the finish and match are excellent.
The original hood and glass screen are in good order, although the hood mechanism can sometimes catch on the rear head restraint when being lowered and needs manual assistance.
The wheels are in excellent order and the bumpers are largely scuff-free, making this a lovely example of the late model XJS overall.
With a good history and less than 100k on the clock, the XJS should be good for many more miles to come. It has been looked after properly and by specialists for all of its life, and this shows by virtue of its eagerness to fire up, healthy oil pressure, steady idle and all-round togetherness.
It’s a car that has wanted for nothing under the bonnet or in relation to its running gear and will be sold as ready to go with a new MoT.
While we can fully understand the vendor’s desire to expand his XJS experience by swapping out of the 4.0 and into a V12, this doesn’t detract from the fact that this is probably as good as an XJS convertible gets, especially if you do the milage to justify not hosing fuel into a V12 all the time.
It’s surprisingly efficient, beautifully presented and as evolved as the XJS could ever get, making it the best all-rounder.
In addition, this is a handsome and extremely good example of the breed, with a fascinating backstory and a vendor who is infectiously enthusiastic about his cars – something that tells you he wants you to enjoy it as much as he has. It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s a really lovely example.
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