1986 Jaguar XJS Reviews

1986 Jaguar XJS 5.3 V12 H.E. from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 5.3 V12 H.E. Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired68000 miles
Most recent distance88000 miles

Summary:

Terrific- The British invasion is still going strong!

Faults:

ECU needed rebuild, speed transducer replaced.

General Comments:

It is the most beautiful Jaguar ever made, the last of the backyard mechanic service-able cars, with timeless and exotically romantic appeal. It has all the bells and whistles of a costly grand tourer built on a low budget. It drives and handles wonderfully, and is more powerful than anyone needs on a modern highway. Parts are still available, but (I fear) won't be for long.

I have the coupe with its uniquely "Gothic-looking" style, and tend to disfavor the latter more "American-ized" regulated bumper/head & tailighted year models.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2011

1986 Jaguar XJS Cadillac rebuilt 460cc from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission Cadillac rebuilt 460cc Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired99000 miles
Most recent distance99100 miles

Summary:

Awesome!

Faults:

I got the car as a project car with intention to drive it once in a while. I has not given me any problems, because the previous owner has it well kept. I currently have to get a tune-up, just because it has been sitting for many months during the winter season.

Nothing wrong with the car so far.

General Comments:

It's a beauty, the car is in great shape, but with some wear and tear of the seats and the bottom of the body.

It does turn some heads, but it's mostly older guys that look at it. I walk away from it, and I always turn my head to it, saying "what a beautiful car".

I love driving, washing, and working on it. I hope it keeps me as enthusiastic as I am now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2010

1986 Jaguar XJS V12 from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission V12 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired69000 miles
Most recent distance77000 miles
Previous carPorsche 256 Replica

Summary:

A reasonably competent backyard mechanic can care for this car and truly enjoy its performance

Faults:

Distributor advance frozen.

ECU was blown up by a shop using a high-rate battery charger.

Throttle position sensor worn out.

Radiator clogged.

Fan clutch worn out.

General Comments:

I wanted to do a restoration on a complex sports car... and I certainly got what I wanted with this one!

I was fortunate enough to discover Kirby Palm's "Experience in a Book" on the web which helped guide progress. The car was purchased on eBay from a dealership for $6000. The car ran, but not well. As it happens, virtually every one of these cars has a frozen advance mechanism, this one included. In order to make the car as reliable as a 20+ year old Jaguar can be made, I went through the entire fuel injection control system and replaced or rebuilt much of it. This was necessitated by the paint shop that killed my ECU with a quick charger. Fortunately, one can still obtain most parts from Jag outfits on the web.

I had a persistent erratic idle and acceleration problem that I ultimately traced to the throttle position sensor, which I rebuilt according to the discussion in Palm's book.

The cooling systems on these cars tend to get ignored and this has killed many of them. I replaced the radiator, fan clutch, thermostats and much of the rubber hose on the system and the car responded by running with temperatures at or below the "N" even in summer.

The restoration is complete for now. This car is wonderful to drive. It is very fast and very smooth. This car was touted as the fastest car in the world with an automatic transmission (a GM 400 at that!) at 157mph. I know this car will do 130 and then some. It is very stable at high speed and the brakes are adequate. The handling improved dramatically when I got rid of the Pirelli P4's and replaced them with H-rated Michelin's.

I agree with previous commentators who long for a fourth or fifth gear - I would even settle for an overdrive! The car is clearly limited in performance and fuel economy as a result of being shackled to the GM400.

This car is ideal for an enthusiast; it requires attention but is relatively easy to work on with the exception of replacing the spark plugs and wires... a hateful job!

Although the ~ 15mpg fuel consumption keeps me from driving the car more than about once a week, it s a delight to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th April, 2008

Average review marks: 6.5 / 10, based on 6 reviews