1985 Jaguar XJS
The Jaguar XJ-S design (codenamed XJ27) started around 1965 with the first production car being sold in 1975. It was primarily designed by Malcolm Sayer, with input from Sir William Lyons, but was completed by the in-house Jaguar design team, headed by Doug Thorpe.
Although it's assumed the Jaguar XJ-S was a successor to the very popular E-type, it was in fact intended to be very different. It would be comfortable and luxurious, less of a sports car and more of a sports tourer. Externally the Jaguar XJ-S is most noticeable for its ‘flying buttresses' sweeping from the top of the rear roofline down to the rear of the wings. It gave the, quite large, Jaguar XJ-S an excellent drag coefficient - actually better than the E-type - allowing it to attain nearly 150mph.
The XJ-S's engine was a fuel-injected version of the E-type's 5.3 litre V12. It was thirsty though, so in 1981 the HE engine was introduced. With a modified cylinder head design and a better ignition system, fuel consumption was improved by over 20%. Transmission was the robust and smooth GM400 3-speed auto. The V12 auto remained in production for all 21 years of the Jaguar XJ-S/XJS production history.
In 1982 Tom Walkinshaw's TWR had entered a team of the V12 XJ-S's into the European Touring Car Championship. They claimed a maiden victory when Walkinshaw and Chuck Nicholson won in Brno - the Jaguars simply proving too fast for their rival BMW and Alfa Romeo opposition! They were the cars to beat in the ETCC, with Walkinshaw claiming the 1984 ETCC Drivers' Championship. During the season the TWR Jaguar team also won the prestigious Spa 24 Hours race with an XJS driven by 'the boss'.
In 1984, TWR began to apply what they had learned in the ETCC to the road going version of the XJ-S. Customers cars were converted to what were effectively road legal racing cars with special bodywork, uprated V12 engines, suspension and brake upgrades and Speedline alloy wheels. These modifications were carried out to production cars at great expense and the end result was a sharper, faster and more focused version of the XJ-S.
This immaculate 1985 XJ-S TWR was bought new on 4th January 1985 from Southern Counties in Crawley. A little later, the owner read a Motorsport Magazine article on the TWR XJ-S and decided to take his car to TWR, who transformed it into the ultimate version. The car was then serviced by Jaguar main dealers until 1990, when it was taken off the road and stored in his garage where it has remained, displaying its 1990 Tax Disc and an odometer indicating only 29,663 miles.
The awakening of this 'sleeping beauty' has recently been undertaken by a well-respected classic car restoration company who have invested over 400 hours of work into making this rare car one of the very best of its kind. The history file contains the original leather Jaguar document holder complete with the dealer-supplied owner's manual, the Jaguar Guarantee, Pre-Delivery Inspection Card, Clarion Stereo Booklet, a huge file full of invoices documenting all of the service work carried out over the car's life, and a fresh MoT certificate until May 2016.
The specification includes climatic air conditioning, electric windows & mirrors, full leather interior, TWR Sports leather steering wheel, TWR body-kit, rear spoiler, TWR Speedline 15-inch alloys, lockable glove compartment, on-board trip computer, embroidered XJS TWR mats and the original Clarion radio.
Looking resplendent in metallic red with the trademark TWR silver to the bumpers and lower parts of the body, the paintwork is in great condition, having been subject to a bare metal re-paint. Being such a low mileage example, the condition of the interior is excellent and there is little or no wear to the bolsters of the seats, both remaining supple and supportive.
The 5.3-litre V12 has been subject to a full mechanical overhaul. As part of its re-commissioning the car received new plugs, oils, and filters; the fuel tank and fuel lines were also removed, checked, and cleaned. Work has been carried out by several Jaguar specialists, most recently by SPM Motor Works who were given the remit to get the car in A1 mechanical condition. Also included was a complete overhaul of the braking system to include new brakes front to rear. The TWR sits at least one inch lower than a standard XJ-S, and so the handling is transformed but near-standard dampers ensure the ride remains civilised.
The car benefits from an improved flow, stainless steel exhaust coupled with subtle TWR quad-pipes. This example is equipped with genuine 15-hole 15-inch TWR alloy wheels, all of which are unmarked and are shod in the correct Pirelli P600 tyres.
The climatic A/C has recently undergone a costly overhaul to include a new condenser, hot water valve body, and a re-gas. The car has also been treated to a new headlining, and the carpets throughout are protected by a fitted set of TWR embroidered mats.
This car epitomises what this show is all about. A fabulous 30 year-old sports car returned to rude health. Dated in some respects, but with that mileage, in this condition and at this guide price, you try and find another one!