1990 JAGUAR XJ-S V12 HEView vehicle description
What a thankless task! How do you replace the stunning Jaguar E-TYPE? We waited many years for the logical successor, the F-TYPE which launched in 2013, to hove into view.
Back in the 70s, the world was a different place and Jaguar’s design team, led by William Heynes, decided on a different path. The overtly sporting E-TYPE made way for a different type of car, more a grand tourer and thus the XJ-S was born.
The 1975 launch came in the wake of a fuel crisis and the market for a 5.3-litre V12 car was small. The design came in for much criticism too, especially the buttresses behind the rear windows which were said to restrict rear visibility.
There was a choice of both manual and automatic gearboxes, but as few wanted to change gear themselves, the manual was soon dropped.
Performance was excellent for the time, the XJ-S being able to accomplish the benchmark sprint from 0-60mph in just 7.6 seconds and the top speed was a heady 143mph.
In July 1981, the XJ-S was fitted with a new high-efficiency V12 engine, the aim being to improve fuel economy. It didn’t succeed! Power increased too with the new HE-powered motor now producing 295bhp.
Fast forward a couple of years and six-cylinder models were introduced along with a new cabriolet, the XJ-SC. Never a big seller, a full convertible finally completed the line-up in 1988.
The final change to the XJS came in 1991 under Ford’s ownership. A new 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine became the mainstay along with some styling updates inside and out. The last models rolled off the production line in 1996 after a staggering 21 years and the replacement XK8 took its place.
Manufactured in 1990, our car is beautifully presented in Diamond Blue with contrasting Doeskin leather interior. With V12 power and that silky-smooth automatic gearbox, it is the epitome of the XJ-S in its heyday.
The car was part of a private collection and spent over a decade at the then owner’s holiday home in the South of France. We can just imagine him cruising along the Corniche, sea views to one side, spectacular mountain scenery to the other. The car remained British registered during that time.
After his passing, his widow began selling off his prized automobiles and our seller was lucky enough to secure the XJ-S and it was repatriated to the UK in 2018.
Being kept in a warm dry climate for so long has clearly helped keep the car in good fettle, but even so our seller embarked upon a detailed renovation programme in order to return it to tip top condition. He spent over £6,000.
It has undoubtedly been a labour of love over the last couple of years, but with other projects waiting in the wings, it is now time for another lucky individual to take custody of this grand old lady. She’s ready to go and up for new adventures!
On the Outside
That Diamond Blue paintwork stills has a lovely lustre. Our seller left the bodywork alone during his renovations as the car presents well. The shut lines are generally good and straight and there are no obvious signs of accident damage or repairs.
If we are being picky, there are a few areas we would look to address. There are some stone chips on the leading edge of the bonnet and the lower sills could do with a little love in places. There is a scratch on the passenger door, easily seen in our photograph.
There are some marks beneath the fuel filler cap, where keys have no doubted rubbed during the very many fill-ups the car has needed during its lifetime. There is also a rust spot on the inside edge of one of the flying buttresses.
The rear spoiler bears a mark or two and if we are honest, we would try to remove it altogether.
Both front and rear bumpers are slightly out of shape. Having seen how the French choose to touch park, we suspect these are a leftover from the car’s overseas adventures.
These are but trifling issues and do not in any way spoil what is a sound car in very presentable condition.
The wheels are in generally good order and we are delighted to see a full set of Jaguar recommended Pirelli P600 tyres fitted all round. They have plenty of tread on them too.
On the Inside
Doeskin leather, not only does it look good, it smells divine. It is in great condition too, with that wonderful patina that shows age with beauty. We would do nothing to the seats other than continue to feed them with generous amounts of hide food to clean and preserve.
Complimenting the leather is the wood dash which also presents in good order. We suspect the car has been mostly garaged as strong sun can wreak havoc on old veneers.
The carpets are in good order, a sign of careful ownership.
There are plenty of toys to play with too. Cruise control for those long motorway jaunts, air conditioning to keep you cool (it’s icy cold too we are told) and even heated seats to ward off the winter chill.
A common issue with older Jaguars is a droopy headlining. The seller addressed this issue by having it replaced. The new liner was supplied by Aldridge trimmers who retain the original Jaguar patterns. It was fitted well and undoubtedly lifts the interior. An invoice for £526 confirms the fitting.
The boot was also retrimmed and once again Aldridge provided the right fitments, so it all looks as good as new.
Most of the money the seller spent on refurbishment went on the mechanicals. Where to start?
Firstly, the engine underwent a full V12 service, no mean undertaking as there is a lot of engine to deal with. The car has covered little miles since.
All the hoses were sensibly replaced as were various belts.
The air conditioning condenser was replaced, which helps to explain the ice-cold air conditioning.
The rear brakes, a notable XJ-S trouble spot, were completely replaced and in order to make the job easier, the rear axle was dropped out and powder coated before being reinstated.
The front discs were also replaced, so the XJ-S now stops as well as it goes. And boy, does it go well!
The XJ-S in renowned for offering a smooth ride and in order to keep it that way, our seller had new suspension bushes fitted and any worn parts replaced.
Most of the work was carried out by Jaguar specialist GDP and seems to have been done to a high standard. The parts, as can be seen from the invoices, were supplies by well known Jaguar parts suppliers such as David Manners.
The XJ-S also sports a stainless-steel exhaust which looks to be in great condition.
The car’s underside shows nothing of concern, though we would be inclined to splash some underseal liberally around to help preserve and protect.
The owner’s pack is present and correct with all the instruction books etc.
The last service was carried out in November 2019 by a Jaguar Specialist and there is a stamp in the service book to prove. The car has done just a few hundred miles since.
Our seller has a raft of paperwork showing the extensive works carried out in the last couple of years and this can all be viewed in the picture sections. This includes:
New suspension all round shocks and springs
Bushes all replaced
Front and rear brake discs
Rear brake callipers and pads
Replace master cylinder
Major service V12
Service A/C drum, receiver, dryer and ancillary parts
Repair central locking
Replaced all rubber belts
Replaced all rubber hoses
Realigned exhaust system
Removal of rear axle, strip and recondition and powder coat
Replacement expansion tank
New headlining and trim fitted
New carpet boot trim fitted
There is also a Heritage Certificate which confirms many of the car’s details.
Whilst enjoying its extended vacance en France, the XJ-S did without an annual MOT, but the history on its return to Blighty shows nothing of concern. The current certificate is valid until February 2022.
Fill up the tank and she’s ready to go!
What We Think
This delightful XJ-S has been sympathetically refurbished and is undoubtedly one the best of its type on sale today. A little time and expense spent on the minor exterior issues will be money well spent.
The interior is a delight and once ensconced behind the wheel it is hard not to succumb to the Jag’s considerable charms. Effortless power, impeccable refinement and ease of driving are there for the taking, so why not place a bid?
If you wish to take a look, the car is currently with us and we would be only too delighted to welcome any inspection, in line with government restrictions of course.
So, what price for all this Jaguar loveliness? A mere £8,000 to £10,000 we estimate.
Inspection is always encouraged, within Govt. guidelines of course, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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