Quentin Willson reveals which Jaguar, Honda, Mercedes and BMW to snap up before their fortunes change forever
If you find a good manual 3.6, pounce on it now before another visionary does
With values of the Jaguar XJ-S now brightening, it’s worth looking at the rarer variants. You’re too late for a bargain ’75/’76 manual V12 – only 352 were built and they’re now £40k and rising - but good examples of the ’85 to ’87 T-top 3.6 XJ Cabriolet five-speeders are still only in £10k territory. Never sold in America and a slow seller in the UK they’re a rare sight with only around 700 manuals ever produced. I owned an ’84 for a while and loved the front-end balance and poise from the lighter six-pot AJ6 engine. The Getrag 265 five-speed is a really sweet unit and you can row the car along like an E-type. Urgent, lithe and quick these manual sixcylinder versions of the XJ-S feel livelier than the V12s and are much underrated. A private seller in Hampshire has a Tudor White ’85 manual XJ-SC with 63,000 miles and ‘excellent service history’ for £11,500 while Julian Brown Ltd in Grantham has one of the last 3.6s built, an ’87 manual cabriolet in light blue with 82,000 miles, three owners and £7k of recent bills for £11,450.
Prices are warming up though with really nice XJ-SCS selling well. In March H&H sold an ’85 ex-browns Lane TWR development car with 57,000 miles and history for £14,000 and Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth is offering a mint 23,000-mile ’84 Burberry special edition – one of just two made – for £45,000. Understand that the targa XJ-S was a prototype convertible before Jaguar got its act together engineering a full drop-top for the American market, and you’ll understand that this is a rare piece of Jaguar history. Bizarrely, the £20,756 XJ-SC was built on the same production line as a coupé shell – the roof and rear buttresses were then removed and cant rails and a centre bar installed by Park Sheet Metal in Coventry, while Aston Martin’s Tickford division fitted the fabric roof and removable panels. This was a very bespoke Jag that was effectively hand-built and only available to special order. If I had to predict the next XJ-S to become collectable I’d say it’s the manual XJ-SC 3.6. But don’t hang about. The private seller in Lincolnshire currently advertising a Sage Green ’84 manual cabriolet with 91,000 miles and a ‘good history’ for just £5250 won’t have it for long.
‘This was a very bespoke Jag – and it’ll be the next to become collectible’