Jaguar XJ-S

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Nathan Chad­wick

EN­GINE 5344cc/V12/OHC POWER 285bhp@5500rpm TORQUE 294lb ft@3500rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 150mph 0-60MPH 7.7sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 15.4mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, three-speed auto MoT 12 months ODOME­TER 50,731 miles

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

This 5.3-litre V12 con­vert­ible fires up im­me­di­ately on the key and set­tles to a re­fined hum. The en­gine’s pull could fell a rain­for­est and the ex­cit­ingly in­sight­ful feed­back through the steer­ing wheel only adds to the joy. Though not quite a sports car in the cor­ners, it has won­der­ful cruis­ing abil­ity. This ex­am­ple holds up well to scru­tiny; the en­gine doesn’t miss a beat and the au­to­matic gear­box moves through its for­ward ra­tios smoothly, with no slur­ring. The sus­pen­sion is won­der­fully smooth, with lumpy roads caus­ing no rat­tles or other noises. The brakes are strong, yet pre­dictable.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The light metal­lic blue paint sparkles in the sun and shows off this Jaguar’s volup­tuous curves well. The beauty isn’t just skin deep, how­ever; you’ll be hard pushed to find any signs that it’s been out­side at all in the past 28 years be­cause there’s hardly a mark on it. There’s the odd mi­nor stone chip here and there but it’s one of the best­look­ing ex­am­ples we’ve seen. The chrome is un­marked and the rub­bers are all in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. The roof doesn’t look as if it’s ever seen any rain, ei­ther, though the US-spec quad round head­lights and af­ter­mar­ket leap­ing cat bon­net mas­cot won’t be to all tastes.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

If the ex­te­rior is ex­quis­ite then the in­te­rior is merely ex­cel­lent, with only a few signs that it’s ever been used. There’s mi­nor wear to the driver’s seat bol­ster and some creas­ing to the seats, but the only real blem­ish we could find was to the driver’s door pull and a lit­tle wear to the cen­tre arm­rest stitch­ing. Point­ing out th­ese in­signif­i­cant nig­gles some­how seems rather churl­ish, given its over­all con­di­tion, how­ever.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

Open­ing the vast bon­net re­veals an en­gine that’s in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion – while the old ‘eat your dinner off it’ cliché isn’t en­tirely true, it’s cer­tainly clean and tidy and has clearly been well looked-af­ter. The flu­ids are all up to the max­i­mum mark and none show any sign of leak­ing. The car lived on the Isle of Man for more than seven years, be­fore fi­nally re­turn­ing to the main­land in 1997, where it has been in dry stor­age since 2008, which goes some way to ex­plain­ing the low mileage. There isn’t any his­tory from that time, though there are plenty of MoTs and re­ceipts since then.

THE CCW VIEW

This is truly an ex­quis­ite ex­am­ple of a late-model XJ-S – we re­ally had to look hard to find any de­fects on it at all. If there’s a slight down­side, it’s that the his­tory folder might not be as thick as you’d like, but taken on con­di­tion and driv­ing qual­ity, we don’t think there are any real con­cerns. Slide into the well-ap­pointed in­te­rior and head off into the au­tumn sun on a wave of V12 grunt – all for less than £18k.

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