A rare pre-Celebration model, bought new by our vendor's father, showing a shade over 32,000 miles today and the last of the "Big Cat" grand tourers.
The Jaguar XJ-S is perhaps the only motorcar that overcame a hostile launch, multiple recessions, the industrial issues of the period and, incredibly for a single model, helped secure the future of another car manufacturer. Rarely acknowledged, it was the XJ-S that saved Aston Martin, providing, as it did, the basis for Aston’s DB7, the success of which guaranteed the marque’s future. Jaguar’s long awaited 1989 launch of the full convertible finally met the demand for British top-down luxury motoring, and at a reasonable price. The perfect car for the successful gentleman of a certain age wanting a comfortable convertible, the Jaguar cut an elegant dash.
A faintly re-styled model, now branded as the XJS, was launched in 1991, sporting 'smoked' wrap-around rear lights and an improved interior with more conventional instrument displays. Two engines were made available, the 6.0-litre V12 and the AJ6-derived 4.0-litre. From 1993, the XJS was produced with colour-coded bumpers and these earlier cars are often mistaken for the 'Celebration' model launched in 1995. The earlier, pre-1995, cars are easy to identify by their leather-trimmed gear selector capped at each end in chrome.
Our vendor’s late father firmly believed that a “Big Cat” should be powered by a V12, as his previous E-Type had been, and specified this car with the 6.0-litre V12 when ordering it in the Surrey showrooms of Guy Salmon Jaguar in June 1993 at a cost of £51,603, as confirmed by the accompanying order form and Bill of Sale. The car was delivered a few months later on 25th August 1993, finished in Solent Blue with magnolia leather and a blue mohair hood. Interestingly, this XJS is perhaps one of the last to have been specified with lattice alloy wheels from new. The car was enjoyed by our vendor’s father until his sad passing in 2006, whereupon it was registered in our vendor’s name on 17th June 2006.
Presented to auction with a shade over 32,000 miles at the time of cataloguing, the toolkit is present whilst the detailed history file boasts the original order form, Bill of Sale, previous MOTs, receipts, tax discs and brochures. The Jaguar-embossed green wallet includes the service book, handbooks and radio code booklet. The advisory free MOT is valid until 16th October 2023 and the accompanying V5C confirms our vendor as the second registered keeper. Like all low slung cars, the XJS has inevitably collected a few stone chips along the way, as seen in the photographs, but these are not hard to rectify.
The 'Big Cat' had became an endangered species by the mid-1990s and the XJS was the last convertible V12 offered by Jaguar. Keenly estimated, we can think of no other comparable car with this much history that offers a modern driving experience with coachwork penned in the early 1970s and a quintessentially British interior. For those entering the classic car market for the first time, this rare motorcar ticks virtually every box whilst also presenting the seasoned enthusiast with a luxurious and powerful alternative to an older British classic.