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1988 JAGUAR XJ-S 3.6 Automatic - An Appreciating Classic Sports Car

 

At a glance:
1988 Jaguar XJ-S 3.6 litre straight six automatic.
Recently restored and in excellent condition
Full Service History
81,747 miles

Arctic blue bodywork

Saville grey leather interior.

MOT until November 2020 with no advisories.


The model:
The Jaguar XJ-S (later XJS), a luxury grand tourer, was produced by Jaguar from 1975 to 1996. The XJ-S superseded the E-Type (also known as XK-E) and was based on the XJ saloon. It had been developed as the XK-F, though it was very different in character from its predecessor.

The XJ-S was launched on 10 September 1975. The development of the car had begun in the late 1960s as project XJ27, with an initial shape set by Malcolm Sayer, but after his death in 1970 it was completed by the in-house Jaguar design team, headed by Doug Thorpe. Power originally came from the V12 petrol engine with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, but the manual was soon dropped.

In 1983 the new 3.6-litre Janguar AJ6 straight six engine was introduced. The six-cylinder cars can be identified by a slightly raised "power bulge", running along the longitudinal centre section of the bonnet.

Between 1983 and 1987 the six-cylinder-engined cars were only available with a five-speed manual transmission (Getrag 265), with a four-speed automatic (ZF 4HP22) offered from 1987 onwards along with improved fuel injection as used on the XJ40. Although it never had quite the same sporting image as the E-Type, the XJ-S was a competent grand tourer, and more aerodynamic than the E-Type. The last XJS was manufactured on 4 April 1996; by then 115,413 had been produced during a 21-year production life. The model was replaced by the XK8.

The history of this car:
This car will first registered to a gentleman from Chipping Norton, and has had only 4 owners to date, many of who are documented in the full service history.

The specification:

This car is the 1988 3.6 litre automatic, with chrome bumpers, and ‘pepperpot’ alloy wheels. The car has Saville grey leather and complimenting grey carpet with the rare book-matched elm trim. The earlier cars with the light elm are increasingly rare, It has a much lighter look and gives a brighter feel to the interior rather than the later heavy burr walnut.
These pre-facelift cars were the last classic Jaguar shape before the early 90s face-lift with the introductions of the unusual smoked wraparound rear tail lights. For me, the pre facelift models are by far the best looking as the later models and the subsequent big plastic bumpers really don't look right. I felt the new big bumpers were like putting a UPVC conservatory on the front and back of a stately home. This pre-facelift car is the 'proper' 70's design with full chrome detailing and the finesse of the well-executed original design. Of all the pre-facelift models the 88-90 models were the best with the improved trim and the benefit of several years continuous improvement throughout the 1980s which resulted in better build quality, improved electrical systems, best rust resistance and updated model specification.

Mileage:
The car has covered a very low 81,747 miles, an average of roughly 2,800 miles per year.

Service history:
Full service history, the majority of which is all Jaguar main dealer, last serviced at 79k and will be freshly serviced prior to collection by the new owner. It comes with a pile of receipts and bills, and all MOTs to verify the low mileage.

On the road:
The car drives superbly and feels like a true luxury Grand Tourer. It’s a real joy to drive any journey, be it long or short. The car starts first time, ticks over like a Swiss watch with very good oil pressure. The car has light and responsive steering, whilst the smooth engine and gearbox gives it a purposeful road presence.
At the time it was light-years better than the competition. In fact, the suspension and chassis platform was carried over into both the newer XK8 and Aston Martin DB7. So the underpinnings aren't obsolete. It's a fantastic grand tourer and I would be confident to drive to Scotland in it tomorrow.
These Jaguars can realistically be used as an everyday car or just as a weekend cruiser.

Engine:
The engine runs very sweetly and performs as it should, whilst this big cat can provide suitable roar and pace when encouraged to do so. When accelerating on a motorway slip-road you are reminded of the potent six cylinder engine which can be traced back to the original XK and E-type.
If you are torn between the straight-six or V12 model, having owned both I would say that the 3.6 straight-six is a far better bet. The 3.6 is almost as fast as the 5.3 engine, much lighter, and the V12's thirst for 10 to 15 mpg around town is quite difficult to live with. I would now choose the 3.6 over the 5.3 every time. Also the lighter engine leads to better handling and braking and the front suspension is less prone to expensive wear. The 3.6 achieves twice the mpg and is almost as smooth. Owners regularly get 25-28 mpg from these cars and over 30mpg on a long run. When the 3.6 engine was introduced in the XJ-S it outsold the V12 at a rate of five to one.

Transmission:
The ZF 4HP22 4 speed automatic gearbox is very smooth and changes exactly as it should.

MOT:
The car has MOT until November 2020. When MOT’d recently at my local specialist garage, the mechanic said the car had been maintained to a very high standard. "This one is very nice, quite a lot spent on it, nothing has been skipped. Somewhat unusual with a car of this age to find one that been so well looked after. It was obviously someone's pride and joy".  

Condition:
This is a well kept and much loved classic, in excellent condition through out. A truly magnificent example with lovely body work, no scratches or dents. Beautiful bright and shiny paintwork in superb condition and no rust. Arctic blue is arguably one of the best colours for the XJ-S, making it a rare example in this condition and colour.
This car has been subject to an extensive and thorough restoration recently including a full respray and mechanical overhaul including new dash clocks (as the vacuum gauges are notoriously unreliable on the older XJ-S). The car has only covered 7000 miles since the renovation as the clocks now read 7000.

All electrics work and the interior is almost as new with all original Jaguar carpets and over mats. All the chrome is excellent, the alloy wheels are clean, and the tyres are excellent. It's obvious that this car has been maintained mechanically regardless of cost. There is no rust on the body, underneath the car is also very clean. All arches and sills are clean so are the door edges. The chrome is like new.

Rust can be the major Achilles heel of these old Jaguars, but this car has been very well looked after and the floors, sills and structure are very solid. All in all I think anyone with reasonable expectations will be delighted with this car.

Pricing:
The value of these cars can only go up in the future. The rusty old examples are vanishing rapidly and the good ones are becoming far more scarce. With E-type prices at very high levels, sooner or later it was inevitable that the XJS became an appreciating investment.
Showroom examples (if you can find one) can often fetch up to £30K so this car could be a great investment. Many predict these cars are going to rise sharply in value over the coming years, as they have more than doubled in value in the last decade. This car is well priced at £8,950.

Conclusion:
This is a superb classic sporting Grand Tourer, a stunning example inside and out with perfect bumper chromes, very good paintwork and body, excellent interior, and great mechanicals.

It draws admiring glances all the time, and is often a topic of conversation with people you meet when you park. It has oodles of charm, character and style.

The colour is beautiful and shows off the flowing lines and finesse of the fabulous 1970s design. People literally stop in their tracks and look, as these wonderful cars are a less common sight on our roads. 

AUTOMATIC - 1988 - 3.6 LITRE STRAIGHT SIX - 81,747 MILES - £8,950

JAGUAR XJ-S

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