When the XJ-S launched in 1975 it was a stark contrast to the E-type that preceded it. It’s modern design with flying buttresses at the rear were controversial and the character of the car was more refined, a grand tourer rather than a sports car. The XJ-S originally came with a 5.3 litre V12 which was ill timed since the price of oil meant the demand for a thirsty motor such as this was very low. This prompted Jaguar to rethink the engine line-up and in 1981 a high efficiency version of the V12 was released (HE model) and later a 3.6 straight six was available. The XJ-S enjoyed some motorsport success which led Jaguar to release various special editions. This includes the XJ-RS which was produced following Jaguar’s win at Le Mans in 1988. It was built by TWR and featured a more powerful V12 engine as well as handling improvements. In 1991 the car was re-engineered and re-badged as the XJS. A 4 litre replaced the 3.6 and in 1993 the V12 was upped to 6 litres, the final model, the Celebration, was built until 1996 when the XK8 replaced it. Nowadays the XJS seems to be a very tempting buy since there are lots of surviving cars from the 21 years in production. This drives down the price and also gives you lots of choice to suit your budget. Although controversial when launched, the XJS has grown into it’s looks and prices are on the rise as they become appreciated again. Poor build quality plagued the earlier cars but most surviving examples now have their faults sorted unless you go for the cheaper end of the market. There is also a growing restoration scene and parts are available. Also, since the platform was used for the XK8 and the Aston DB7 there are some interesting upgrade options. So, for a great V12 (or straight six :-)) grand tourer with appreciating looks and pedigree look at the Jaguar XJS, good examples from around 3k.
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