1988 Jaguar XJ40 Vanden Plas 3.6 six cylinder. from North America


I love my 1988 XJ40


I purchased this Jaguar in 1996 with 106,000 miles - after doing research, I was informed by an import shop that the Jaguar had a complete off body restoration. The Jaguar is in pristine condition and has won nine first place concours awards. Everything works from the electronics to the A/C system. Only part I had to replace other than the battery was the crank position sensor. The Jaguar has been very reliable and turns a lot of heads. Color is Crimson (deep dark red) with a beautiful lite tan interior that is flawless.

General Comments:

The 1988 & 1989 XJ40 Jaguars were very high tech for its time, there were a lot electrical problems that gave Jaguar a bad name in the early years. 1990 to 1994 Jaguars were very reliable. I will list the following areas for potiential problems.

Check A frame for rust thru around the rear axle.

Check for heavy rust on the front cross member that supports the radiator.

Check wheel bearings - especially the early years, replace with better quality bearings.

Check the boot - the lip is notorious for severe rusting or water leaks.

The 2.9 engine is a dog - move up to the 3.6 engine, better performance & very solid engine.

Door handles are prone to breaking, lube them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2006

1988 Jaguar XJ40 XJ6 V6 from North America


I feel like a prince on the road when I drive my Jaguar


Worn out sensor for computer

Rough idle, U-joint needed to be fixed.

General Comments:

An amazing car

Gets you to the corner much quicker

Handles beautifully

Cabin is amazingly roomy

A true bargain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2003

1988 Jaguar XJ40 xj6 3.6 from UK and Ireland


Just think withnail and I cool


Electric windows stuck. £70 fix.

Computer never worked.

Drivers seat recliner broke.

Oil leak from head gasket.

Couldn't upgrade stereo with standard head unit because of unusual Jaguar wiring system. However, standard clarion unit was quite excellent on FM. Sub woofers under the rear seats provided an excellent feel to the bass.

Warped front disc's.

Bearings on fuel pump needed replacing.

The middle exhaust section also needed replacing. £300 ouch.

General Comments:

Overall this car was an expensive head ache. Even if it didn't break down it required a 6000 mile service, drank petrol and every single part was hard to find and expensive to buy.

Working on the car was a nightmare because everything was so cleverly engineered. When it did break down (i.e all the time) it would spend days in the garage and cost a fortune to repair. This is a car which I bought with a full service history!

However, it was one cool motor.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2003

4th May 2004, 16:15

They can be expensive to run, but servicing, if you do it yourself is very cheap. I service my own XJ40 with parts acquired from a Jag specialist, and have a great time doing so, it's my hobby which helps. It also helps if you have the proper factory manual. I have to disagree about your comment on good design meaning it stays in for a long time for services, I find the design of certain parts and access to these parts excellent, as a gauge, it took me just two hours to change the steering rack, on my drive, with the car on only axle stands :-). It is one heck of a cool car, and well worth the trouble. At this present time, I wouldn't want anything else.

1988 Jaguar XJ40 Sovereign 3.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A superb mix of style, class, comfort, performance and value. This car is all things to all men!


Cruise control not working.

Air conditioning not fully effective.

Trip computer and Vehicle Control Monitor can give inaccurate readings (electrics do have a mind of their own on these cars!).

Both near-side doors jammed-only open from inside.

Fuel filler won't open, you need to use the emergency release in the boot.

Driver's seat fairly worn. Although this is to be expected with mileage.

General Comments:

The car only cost £995 and is a complete bargain! You just get so much for your money!

The interior is beautiful and well equipped, the much-hyped 'gentlemen's club' ambience is certainly true. The seats adjust every which way electrically, it's effortlessly comfortable, a real joy to be driven in and drive. The 1980s LED dashboard is frequently criticised, but I quite like it! It makes for an eventful drive at night, and impresses old people! The obsession with computerization did go a little far though, the indicator stalk is annoying, especially on roundabouts.

For a five-metre long, two tonne car, it just handles beautifully. There's hardly a chirp from the tyres as you corner at a near ludicrous pace. It's far better than other cars I've driven, which are both far smaller. Can get twitchy in the wet if you're not careful though!

Performance-wise, the car is pretty good. Once above forty it starts to fly. A bit sluggish off the line though, being a heavy automatic.

The car looks magnificent, mine is in medium metallic grey and looks very understated, I still can't believe it cost under a grand!

Fuel-wise, it's not brilliant. Drive around town and you're unlikely to better 17-18mpg. Careful motorway driving can yield 30mpg if you're very, very careful! I seem to average around 20-21mpg, mainly because the purr of that straight six motor is just too good to keep a secret!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th May, 2002

28th Sep 2004, 06:09

Agree with your comments regarding the car. You obviously got a cheaper car than I did because I had to splash out £1000 on mine. I'm not that keen on the LED dash and would far rather have clocks. I find the LEDs difficult to read on say a foggy day when because you have the headlights on the LEDs dim and cannot be read easily. You didn't mention head linings - they do have a tendancy to collapse. The only real complaint I have about this otherwise great car was the lack of attention to rust proofing. Who ever decided not to galvanize these cars and stop the rot should do the honorable thing and fall on their sword unless that to has rusted away. Do you detect I'm having some corrosion problems with my XJ40. (who needed sills anyway) Happy driving!

6th Feb 2006, 03:02

Its good to see praise for these old design cars

I don't think Jaguar make cars like the XJ40 and XJS anymore. These have far more character than the modern ones.

I would say that the 2.9 is OK, has to work a little up a hill on a motorway. As a result I have just upgraded to a 3.6 Sovereign! (John)

26th May 2006, 16:00

So I take it you all think it would be a good Idea to buy a used one? I have always wanted a Jag. I agree with what you said about character. Although the XJS, back in it's day, was called ugly and the biggest mistake Jag's ever made.

28th Aug 2010, 08:38

It's good to see these older Jags are well respected and loved. Over the past 50 years I've been lucky enough to have owned four Jags; a Mark 9, two S Types, a 3.8 and a 4.2, and my last Jag was a 4.2 mark 9.

They were the four best cars I've ever owned, now I plan on selling my Land Rover Discovery TDi and buying a 1988 Jag Sovereign. I'll be calling the owner tomorrow morning, and depending on what he says, I'll be driving up the bush to inspect the Sovereign.

I need a lower car as the wife has a problem entering and leaving the Disco (this getting long in the tooth can be a sod). If the Sovereign is anything like the Jags I've owned in the past, I'll buy it, as I firmly believe Jaguar "were" among the best cars ever built.

Wish me luck :)