Jaguar's first response to demands for an open-top XJ-S was somewhat conservative in engineering terms. The XJ-S (later XJS) had not been designed with an open version in mind, so a Targa-style arrangement was adopted, which retained a substantial roll hoop in the interests of maintaining rigidity in the absence of a fixed roof. Two removable roof panels were stored in the boot, and the Cabriolet did away with the Coupé's two occasional rear seats in favour of a pair of luggage lockers topped by a parcel shelf. Essentially an exercise in niche marketing to test public reaction, the XJ-S Cabriolet's production was entrusted to outside specialist contractors, with bodyshells being transported back and forth across the Midlands before returning to the Brown's Lane factory prior to final despatch.
Having demonstrated that there was indeed sufficient demand to justify production of an open XJ-S, Jaguar grasped the nettle and proceeded to develop a conventional full convertible. For the latter they turned for assistance to coachbuilders Karmann in Osnabrück, a firm with considerable expertise in the manufacture of open cars. As well as developing the host of new panels and associated tooling required, Karmann also designed the hood, which was electro-hydraulically operated and featured a full lining and glass rear window complete with heating element. At first the Convertible was only available with the 5.3-litre V12 engine, but following the introduction of a 4.0-litre version of the AJ6 24-valve six in the XJ6/XJ40 saloon, this new unit became available in the XJS from 1991.
An automatic transmission model, this XJS Convertible is one of the final-run 'Celebration Edition' cars, released for the 1996 model year. The current vendor purchased the Jaguar in December 2017, since when it has formed part of his private collection and seen very little use, covering only some 500-or-so miles in the last two years. Sadly it's now being sold because his 15 year old is too tall for the rear seats. MoT'd to December 2019, the car comes with a V5C document and expired certificates dating back to 2000 confirming the current mileage of circa 17,000. Also on file are sundry invoices for maintenance including new gearbox oil seals (2002), work to the roof mechanism (2008), and general servicing.