The cheap XJS myth

As you see the prices of the XJS all over the place from the last one that sold at Bonhams for around $50,000 down to that one for the unbelievable $2,000 or best offer and the listing stating, not running and just needs some TLC. It may be a factory convertible from 89 to 96 or a mid to 88 which was a coach-built car.

Because the 88 and older convertible is a coach-built and not factory, you may be forever having trouble sorting anything having to do with the top. If this car was not well maintained with service records you may have a nightmare on hand. As I state in the buyer's guide, there is no such thing as a cheap XJS. In order to get a very nice one, you can expect to pay at the least around 10K and even then there may be a few little things to correct that may end up costing another few thousand but some things you can correct over time. One of the biggest mistakes many people make is looking at a car that seems like, just some little cosmetics that end up becoming a big restoration. I was in the yacht charter business in New York named Wall street yacht charters which I finally learned the hard way that buying a boat that has been sitting around with seemingly only in need of just a little TLC, was one big headache. We all have heard of a boat is a hole in the water that you throw your money into.

Oh, so you are now saying but a car is not a boat! I have news for you, when you get involved in buying an XJS because it is such a beautiful car that makes you feel all fuzzy and other feelings I will not get into because this is a family channel and some monks may be reading this, you take the plunge and do the thing that makes your dog look at you with his head to the side. And then after you have spent all the money from the college and retirement funds and that $2,000 XJS still is not right! Now you’re sitting in the garage with a bottle talking to the only one who will listen. Oh yes the same dog that looked at you with his head to the side when you got all fuzzy and bought that so-called cheap XJS but now he is worn out sprawled out laying down with only his eyelids raising to look at you and with every sip of the five brands of alcohol, you take a look at him and his eyelids are doing all the talking saying, I tried to tell you to buy one of those very nice clean cars!

Well, all is not lost, so get back in the elevator and go back down. No need to go to the roof of the tallest building in town or the Brooklyn Bridge or the side of the freeway where all of those well maintained and documented XJSs are driving by. No, you do not have to jump in front of one because you most likely will end up in Jaguar heaven as a forever reminder. It is better that you go on the speaking circuit at XJS anonymous and save others from the dilemma of thinking they will be the master of a cheap XJS. And with the prices still climbing, all XJS cars will eventually be high dollar including the rust buckets and wrecks, however, these cars will only become more valuable if supply suddenly becomes very low. But for now, there are still many great examples so there is no need to seek out the deal of the century. Do your homework and buy a good well-documented car you can enjoy from day one or very soon after.



  • I just picked up a 1982 Jaguar XJS HE V12 for $200. It’s got an electrical problem so I’m going to totally rewire the engines electrical. Got it in a little town in Oregon from a man that called me to come get a non running car. Showed up and found this hidden gem. Paid the man and left. I’m am beyond elated.

  • Took the plunge. ’94 4.0 6 cyl. convertible, black on black. The more I look, the more confused I become. Has the wrong wheels and a leaper on the bonnet. And, pinstripes up high on the body. Attempting to determine what “Sabine” looked like when new. She runs strong and shows well, otherwise. Except for some minor cosmetics and a couple of electrical issues. Any help?

    David Raatz
  • I was able to secure a well maintained 93 convertible with all documentation for $4700.00. 6 years ago. It’s been garaged ever since, and driven sparingly which bothers me a little. 93 was a low production convertible, so I’m happy.

  • I just bought one for $500. He wanted $800, but when he realized I was thinking about buying it, he saw it as his chance to get rid of it. It’s a 1992 model with the inboard brakes on the rear end. It starts, and runs fine, even after sitting for months. Trouble: brakes; pedal to the floor. Leak? Maybe. I am a Jaguar veteran, and have tackled much bigger problems over the years. But that was then, and this is now. Yes, I will try to fix the brakes first, but beyond that, it must fight for it’s life. Someone might need that lovely engine to replace a dead one, or the GM transmission that works. All body panels are in great shape, but the clearcoat is gone from about half the car. I know what some of you are thinking, but this one deserves a chance for a second life. If it can start, stop and go down the road with reliability, what is wrong with driving it?

    Ronald Stephenson

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