• Graham Eason

XJ Yes: Restoring Jaguar's Overlooked Coupe

Just in case our regular XJS-related blog posts don't give the game away, at Classic Fixers we're quite keen on Jaguar's big engined, big hearted coupe. And so we're restoring another one - this time it's the turn of the Great Driving Days hire car.

We've been looking after this 1988 V12 car ever since it came our way from a XJS parts specialist in 2012. Even then there was little love for the XJS - Great Driving Days picked the car up with MOT for £1,200. It ran, but was multiple shades of blue. But otherwise it wore its 59,000 miles lightly - the engine ran smoothly, the interior was in good condition and so we set about finishing off what others had started. It got a full respray and has run effortlessly for 40,000 miles ever since, being driven by a huge variety of drivers but measuring up to all the demands of a popular hire car.

Except the bodywork, that is. 1980s XJS' may have benefitted from better build quality, but it still lagged a long way behind Jaguar's German rivals - instead of being unacceptable, it was just about acceptable. This means that XJS' rust, not helped by the fact that the fundamental design dates back to the 1960s, when longevity involved cars just about outliving their warranty period.

This XJS also gets used in all weathers, which make keep customers happy but isn't great for its durability. Despite all that, and the fairly heavy usage, this car had held up well over the 8 years since it was restored. The deterioration is limited to the main XJS weak points - base of the arches, sills, door bottoms and gutter under the side windows.

Inside, the interior has held up fairly well, considering that Jaguar built it with the durability of chocolate.The driver's seat bolster has worn so will be retrimmed and we're sourcing new wood for the dashboard, because as is typical of XJS', it has begun to delaminate.

Here's the latest update...

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