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Jaguar XJS

Updated on January 5, 2014

The Birth

The Jaguar XJS is a grand tourer that was popular as a luxury sports GT car around England and Europe from the 70's till its end in 1996. The car was also popular as an import for the playboys and traders in America as an exotic import and saw a lot of sales from that market compared to other European and Asian counterparts.

The first XJS came out in 1975 with the actual release being for 1976 with around 15000 being built. The care was powered by a v12 engine and the it was Jaguar's own build with a the usual choice of a manual or automatic. Even though they became the standard, v12's were actually scarce at this time and the only other makers of cars with such power were two Italian Firms. The 5.3 liter engine needs no introduction to any petrol or gear head and anyone who has compared cars will know this is a very heavy consumption vehicle. This was not the best situation since this car was launched around the same time of the fuel and energy crisis of the 70's. This was a big problem for Jaguar as these cars saw a very small market and worse still due to the strictness of standards the car was denied sales approval in Germany.



Upon realization of the potential problems which could occur with the current energy situation and the PR problems Jaguar decided to seize on opportunities of television. The car was featured in the television series Avengers which featured a character named Mike Gambit who drove an XJS, not only this but the car also appeared in another show. The Return of the Saint was another film which featured the XJS and this was monetized by a toy company called Corgi with the miniature die-cast models proving to be very popular.


80's baby

In 1981 the XJS received a new lease of life with a new exterior , better five spoke alloy wheels and chrome to go with its new engine with better fuel economy. The car also earned its first racing pedigree as it won its first and second RAC tourist trophy at Silverstone.

In 83 the car opted to give a less powerful option for those thinking of the environment and wanting an economical car.This saw the debut of the 3.6 liter engine which was offered along side the 5.2 liter. This 3.6 was Jaguars very own straight 6 engine which was featured in the brand new convertible version of the XJS. These earlier models were not imported into America and were only available with a 5 speed manual transmission.



More than a decade into production the XJ received a special lease of life for those who wanted something faster. The XJR-S was a car produced by a separate company from Jaguar called JaguarSport the company was part-owned by Jaguar and TWR. This car featured the 5.3 liter which was seen in the last cars but also featured a very different body which had suspension and handling improvements. The XJR-S only went for a 350 car production run with most of the cars being built with this 5.2 liter engine until 1989 however there was a change made to feature a special 6 liter engine. The production of the XJR-S then finished in 1983 with a total of 1130 cars being built.


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