Practical Classics (UK) - - PC BUYER: TRIPLE TEST -


The V12 is re­li­able, but the coil packs can fail, caus­ing mis­fires. They’re not vastly ex­pen­sive, but fit­ting them is ex­pen­sively fid­dly. Look for ev­i­dence of re­newal.

Rust can get to the in­ner wings, front floors, sus­pen­sion tur­rets, rear ra­dius-arm mount­ings and rear chas­sis legs. The rear arch lips, the door bot­toms and the bot­tom cor­ners of the rear screen are also vul­ner­a­ble.

Check for cold-blow­ing air con and full elec­tri­cal func­tions, and damp car­pets, the po­ten­tial cause the scut­tle to wind­screen seal.

Check for un­even tyre wear – the sus­pen­sion is fully ad­justable and may need laser align­ment.


De­spite the gal­va­niz­ing, check the A-pil­lar and door hinge area, the scut­tle, the floor­pans, the bot­toms of the front wings, the sills, the lower sec­tions of the rear wings and if you’re buy­ing a coupé, the cor­ners of the rear win­dow.

Check the rear sus­pen­sion and sub­frame mount­ings too – rust is ma­jor XJ-S ter­mi­na­tor. The 4.0 litre is a tough en­gine, but head gas­ket fail­ure is pos­si­ble from 60,000 miles, and rat­tling tim­ing chains and ten­sion­ers will need re­place­ment. Oil pres­sure when warm should be 40-50psi un­der throt­tle.

In­te­ri­ors are durable, but XJS’ are of­ten abused and ne­glected, mak­ing a full ser­vice his­tory ex­tremely de­sir­able.


A gal­va­nized body again, but that’s still no guar­an­tee of cor­ro­sion free­dom – floor­pans, sills , sus­pen­sion and sub­frame mount­ings are vul­ner­a­ble, although the XK8 is far more durable than its pre­de­ces­sor. Rear bumper mount­ings are also vul­ner­a­ble, po­ten­tially in­duc­ing a de­tach­ment in­ci­dent.

The ear­li­est cars could suf­fer cylin­der bore wear, but most have been fixed by now, with re­place­ment en­gines in some cases. The plas­tic tim­ing chain ten­sioner is an­other weak­ness – look for bills in­di­cat­ing re­place­ment with the metal va­ri­ety. The later 4.2, with 6-speed auto, is less trou­bled.

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