HIS­TORY: How US safety laws shaped Jaguar’s al fresco of­fer­ings

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Jaguar XJ-SC Restoration -

When the Jaguar XJ-S came along in 1975, there was no open air variant. Fears that the big yet safety hys­ter­i­cal mar­ket of the United States was about to out­law con­vert­ible cars meant that one wasn’t de­vel­oped. When Amer­i­can leg­is­la­tors’ panic about peo­ple driv­ing cars with­out a tin top re­ceded, Jaguar be­lat­edly got around to launch­ing an al fresco variant in 1983, the same year its new 3.6-litre AJ6 six-cylin­der en­gine de­buted. Both helped spark new in­ter­est in the eight-year old XJ-S.

The XJ-SC wasn’t a full-on con­vert­ible but had re­mov­able glass­fi­bre pan­els, a rear soft hood sec­tion and the side win­dows still in place strength­ened by a roll-over bar at the B-pil­lars. The cars were la­bo­ri­ously built as full coupés and then had their roofs re­moved and rear but­tresses ground down. Un­for­tu­nately, the cabri­o­let wasn’t as suc­cess­ful as Jaguar had hoped for, as the top was man­ual rather than elec­tric. In 1987, the XJ-S was fi­nally prop­erly re-en­gi­neered as a com­plete con­vert­ible.

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