1989 Jaguar XJ-S V12 Convertible
Introduced at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show, the XJ-S ushered in a new generation of GT motoring for Jaguar, combing elegant styling, superlative performance and exceptional luxury. The XJ-S remained in production for the best part of two decades – testament to both the inherent quality of the design and its enduring popularity. Powered by the superbly refined and smoothly powerful 60-degree all-alloy V12 first seen in the ‘Series 3’ E-type, the XJ-S’s engine featured a single overhead camshaft per bank, fuel injection and developed 285 bhp from 5.3-litres, providing effortless performance. The XJ-S was one of only a handful of production cars capable of reaching the magic 150mph (250 km/h) on sale in the mid-1970s – to go any faster one had to step up to supercars like the Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche Turbo or Latin exotica. The Big Cat also entered popular culture, with Simon Templar swapping his Volvo P1800 for a white XJ-S in the television series “The Return of the Saint”. In the wake of the fuel crisis, Jaguar countered criticism that the V12 was too thirsty by releasing a revised model (badged as the HE - for High Efficiency) in 1981, featuring a new high compression cylinder head design delivering a noticeable improvement in fuel economy without sacrificing performance. The HE’s interior also benefited from the addition of wood and chrome not found in the 1970s original. In 1983 Jaguar further broadened the XJ-S’s appeal with two significant new models, the 3.6-litre six-cylinder and the open-topped SC, followed by a full convertible launched at the 1988 Geneva Motor Show. Featuring a fully lined, electrically-operated hood, other cosmetic changes included redesigned alloy wheels, a new steering wheel, reshaped seats and burl walnut trim. Further developments included the adoption of anti-lock brakes and a range of interior enhancements from 1986 and the XJ-S simply got better with age and the public certainly agreed, with sales increasing as the years went by. Representing excellent value for money, most pundits agree prices of the XJ-S can only increase for good specimens – while ownership brings great rewards.