It was 1975 when Jaguar replaced the legendary E-Type with the Jaguar XJ-S. A beautiful car that has been gaining popularity especially in recent years. I am standing on a quay in Enkhuizen for a photo shoot with a beautiful bronze Convertible, which according to the first owner was born in the wrong body.
This is in fact a Convertible from Hess & Eisenhardt. This car was delivered new in 1986 as a bronze 5,3 litre, V12 strong… Coupe! Jaguar did deliver an XJ-SC, but that was a Targa or Baur-like convertible version with fixed rear windows and a fixed roll bar. Not the most beautiful creation, but if one was willing to open the wallet a bit further, the British brand called in the bodybuilder Hess & Eisenhardt in Ohio, US. Here they sawed off the roof of a brand new Jaguar XJ-S Coupe and then turned it into a dazzling Convertible.
The love for the beauty of these Jaguars meant that the coachbuilder did everything possible to make the Convertible even more beautiful than the already beautiful original. For example, they placed two separate petrol tanks to make the extra thin linen hood completely disappear in the body. Years later, Jaguar did not take this effort, so that the hood of their own-built Convertibles came to lie on top of the body. The radical change from Coupe to Convertible also called for extra reinforcement behind the front seats and weights were placed behind the headlights to prevent resonance. In 1986, after 893 transformed versions of the Jaguar XJ-S, the cooperation with Jaguar came to an end because the factory burned down. In view of the great interest in this version, Jaguar then decided to produce Convertibles itself.
The owner of this example had owned it for almost 10 years when we photographed the car. A real enthusiast who always points out something special to me: "Look! See those gas lines? They are therefore armored. Otherwise they clap, because of the great pressure. ” In the meantime, he uses a dust cloth to close the hood and open the doors. “And here, a windshield. Have it custom made. So there is only one of them! In the world!" He talks about the restoration process and about the beautiful rides on the clock. He points out where his Chihuahua used to be and how cleverly he was able to secure it to a steel rail so that it wouldn't blow away. Melancholy, he gazes over the IJsselmeer, thinking back to those beautiful experiences in this Jaguar XJ-S.
I am especially enchanted by the beautiful lines of this car. The colour, the wheels, the Nardi steering wheel, the spoke rims. And that V12 engine looks fan-tas-tic. What a crowd under that long hood! The Jaguar XJ-S has been awarded so much that this car has been regarded as increasingly valuable in recent years. Not because of the euros, but simply because it is worth restoring, preserving and cherishing. Because of the design and technique. But I'm especially happy that they are still affordable. At least now people still drive 'normally' with this powerful, comfortable Convertible.