Ac­cel­er­a­tive days of Jag’s V12

Launched in 1975 as the re­place­ment for the E-type, the XJS is one of the most pop­u­lar Jaguar ever made

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetime - Ian John­son

It was one of the great ex­pres­sions of the 1970s glory days of big-en­gined lux­ury grand tour­ers.

There had never been any­thing else like the XJS in the Jaguar line up and when the wraps came off in 1975, those who thought it was a re­place­ment for the early E-Type were very much mis­taken.

Whereas the E-Type had been a sports car, the XJS was a supremely si­lent and very fast grand tourer. In truth it was a beauty.

Even un­der the con­stric­tions of Bri­tish Ley­land which im­posed a long ges­ta­tion pe­riod, the XJS proved it­self a Jaguar for a new age.

It did share one thing with the last of the E-Types and that was a V12 en­gine which gave it as­ton­ish­ing per­for­mance with a max­i­mum speed of 150mph and a 0-60mph sprint of 6.8 sec­onds.

The econ­omy stats would have had the Green lobby run­ning for cover be­cause if you put your foot down you could coax it into sin­gle fig­ures. In every­day driv­ing though be­tween 1326mpg was the norm. You were hard pressed to save fuel with this one.

At its launch it was the most ex­pen­sive Jaguar ever and up­staged much of what was on the mar­ket in its sec­tor.

Driv­ing it was some­what eerie be­cause it was so si­lent. The V12 whacked out 285bhp and fed through the op­tional au­to­matic trans­mis­sion it de­liv­ered the sort of seam­less and ef­fort­less per­for­mance most driv­ers only dreamed of. The si­lent run­ning was achieved due to a mas­sive amount of sound dead­en­ing dur­ing con­struc­tion.

In­su­lated mount­ings and moulded sound damp­en­ing pan­els were the or­der of the day. Even the coiled petrol feed pipe was en­closed in foam tube so that the oc­cu­pants would not hear the rush of fuel gush­ing through to quench the thirst of the big 5,343cc V8.

It has been quoted that if the in­su­la­tion had not been there the fuel rush would have sounded like a bath run­ning out.

Safety rules in those days looked likely to out­law open topped cars but reg­u­la­tions were re­scinded and the XJS soon boasted an open topped ver­sion which many re­garded as the best look­ing of all.

There was also a later six­cylin­der power op­tion which was a tad slower but av­er­aged 17.6 mph.

But for me the V12 XJS was a true aris­to­crat of Bri­tish per­for­mance lux­ury and ev­ery time I see one at clas­sic shows it takes me back to the 1970s and let­ting this supreme big cat off the reins for what was a driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from heaven.

GRAND TOURER Cre­ated to to re­place the iconic E-type, the XJS re­mained in pro­duc­tion for more than 20 years

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.