1983 Jaguar XJS HE 5.3 litre V 12


Salvaged from the depths of despair to become a great club car


I bought the car too cheaply, and even though it had been Australian delivered (no salted roads as in the UK) and had next to no rust, someone had treated the car poorly and allowed it to run hot - the worst thing you can ever do.

It sat in a repair shop for three or four years while the alleged Jaguar expert scratched his head and mucked about sporadically. He could not get the heads off. It was as though they'd welded themselves on and it had probably dropped a valve. It overheated within minutes and spat coolant all over the roads.

After years a pain and despair, I found a slightly later car which had been imported from Wales. It's body was full of rust-cancer - bloody salt again. But it had been looked after mechanically. It started smoothly, the 3-speed transmission shifted well and all looked well.

I bought the engine and gearbox and had it shipped to the alleged Jaguar expert, who again did not seem to know his armature from his manifold. A year later, my wife took matters into her own hands and sent a truck out to pick up the car and take it to my son-in-law who already had one. He's focussed to the point of annoyance, but in eight weeks, it was back on the road.

General Comments:

I've read the review on this site of on-going XJS hassles, but I have the rarest of words to use with mine now. It begins with R and ends with "eliable". Stop laughing. It's true. I'm in a vigorous sports and classic car club and the mighty Jag has now done many alpine and open plain runs, some lasting a week. While it is a Grand Tourer on the open road, my experience is that it doesn't mind the twisty bits. It sits flat on the road, responds predictability and even if you can't drive it through hairpins at Warp Speed, it goes really well when driven in a "point and shoot" mode. It is also a piece of automotive sculpture, oozing gentle power and charm.

I do agree with an earlier review about the smell in the boot. We can't keep our luggage or food in there without petrol taint, but so long as you know that, you can work around it. In Australia, we have a phrase "chick magnet" to describe some cars. Mine's not, but it is a "chap magnet", especially as I have some Tom Walkinshaw Racing bits on it in homage to the car which won Australia's greatest race, Bathurst, in 1985.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 4th November, 2017

1987 Jaguar XJS Coupe 3.6


A delight to drive and own, have not experienced any significant faults so far


Auxiliary fan was seized, easily repaired with an old Mazda motor for $20.

Air-conditioning system doesn't work (job for this spring to sort out).

Air-con solenoid actuator failed - $100 to fix.

General Comments:

Very comfortable car, my wife thinks it looks scary and feels like getting into a jet fighter.

Attracts plenty of looks from other motorists.

Very quiet, and a joy to drive. Petrol consumption is OK (it is only 3.6)

Whilst it has plenty of power, I only feel I am ever using a fraction of it. Great on long cruises.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th July, 2006

1980 Jaguar XJS Hardtop 5.3 Litre V12


Fell to bits and almost made me do the same!


Well, I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said almost everything went wrong.

I bought it second-hand at a Melbourne Jag dealer, and in the 5 years I had it, it was a complete bomb and a bitter disappointment.

I was locked into a repayment scheme with the credit union, so I had to suffer with it until 1988 when it was paid-off.

The problems were mainly due to bad parts used in the manufacture of the car. For example, the entire dashboard blacked out and nothing worked except starting, all because of a faulty Lucas fusebox.

I would rather not go into further details about this nightmare. Suffice to say, I believe in "Forgive and forget"!

General Comments:

It was only suitable for 2 people inside. Yes, I was well-aware of this when I bought it. I never needed the back seats for anything, anyway.

Having said that, the cabin was absolutely luxurious and beautifully thought-out. It was a joy to sit in.

The looks of the thing were stunning (when I could bear to look at it!).

It performed better than any car I've driven, before or since.

Handling was not what you'd expect from an expensive GT. It had a lot of understeer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd July, 2006

27th Dec 2010, 19:52

You're right, they are great looking cars, and they were a dream to drive. One of the fastest cars. The V-12 is sweet. It nearly used up all my spare cash. You have to fix and repair every working part on these cars. If you're a great mechanic, and I am, and you have plenty of cash to spend as a hobby on a car, then it's fine to restore or own one. If you're looking for a sport car that won't break down, pass. Trust me. It took all the fun out of it. Like my ex wife. I stopped loving her.

1985 Jaguar XJS HE 5.3 V12


A potential supercar for very little money


Alternator failed, replaced with reconditioned unit, no problems since.

General Comments:

This is a great car however it's performance can be vastly improved with a few simple modifications. I have altered mufflers, air filters, new 3.54 differential, added XJR alloys and Pirelli P-zero rubber. It's very quick and is actually using that fantastic race-bred V12.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2001

1985 Jaguar XJS Coupe 5.3


You can't get more car for your money


Alternator charged intermittently, replaced with Bosch 120A unit from 1989+ models.

General Comments:

Previous owner had the serviced religiously and all books were current. Don't buy a Jag that hasn't been looked after.

A beautiful car, I love it, daily transport, has only let me down the once and I was going to upgrade the alternator anyway. Never let it overheat, use a good oil, and try and do as much of the work yourself if possible. Only the wealthy can afford to let someone else look after their Jag.

There are fantastic resources available for the owner/mechanic (Clubs, Internet sites, etc).

When I park it and walk away I can't help looking back over my shoulder. Impractical sure, who needs a 150 MPH 2+2 V12 when you have 4 kids. But I have always wanted one and sometimes you have to just do it.

Don't buy one and neglect it - that is a crime. The car knows, and will treat you with contempt.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2001

29th Jun 2006, 09:35

I agree 100%. I've had mine for a month and love it!! Keep them alive, Tony.