Jaguar XJ-S. Reborn in the right body.

Jaguar XJ-S
Jaguar XJ-S
ER Classics Desktop 2022

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.

No convertible

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.

Comfortable Convertible

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.

Also read:
- Jaguar E-Type noses
- Jaguar Sovereign 4.0 LWB … Smooth Operator – drive with a smile
- The Jaguar Mk10: A plus size model
- The Jaguar XJ. The End of the Show
- Jaguar XJ Series 1


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  1. Beautiful cars, although I like the coupe better. Actually, I would prefer an XJ-S coupe over an E-Type. Controversial point of view, but I don't think an E-Type is that beautiful.

    Ten years ago I had the pleasure of driving a factory convertible XJ-S and traveling through England. What a majestic car! Of course with its little things, such as a beautiful, but not completely waterproof hood, which wanted some manual support when going up. Incidentally, the hood was waterproof, but the connection with the rubbers not really.

    But the V12 was glorious, smooth, quiet and even relatively economical with an average of slightly above 1:6, on long stretches of highway even 1:7. And perfectly able to hook up back to the boat in Dover with a German in an E-Type series 1 coupe in a hurry. Speeds of up to 170 were achieved and the miles were consumed without any problems and comfortably. Fantastic car.

  2. If a Jaguar V12 gets the right maintenance and on time then they are trouble-free cars, I have never seen a Jaguar V12 engine broken. Have had dozens of them serviced and for years!

  3. We built these xjs convertibles from 1984-1987 in Elburg, until jaguar itself came out with a convertible

  4. Stop it, folks. This English meathead with a little bit of sense would never have been allowed to take to the streets. Except for those with a sailing diploma, because at every turn the over-cylinder colossus fades like a drunken sailor.
    Do not touch the garage, because you can immediately proceed to debt counseling afterwards.
    You can find and drive a convertible in a Mediterranean area. Somewhere where they know neither vacuum cleaner, umbrella, mop nor salt.
    I'm afraid that after a few winters there's a little bit of rust left from this open-top Jag.
    I don't want to get involved in anything, but just buy a Toyota or something. With four normal cylinders and a decent roof over the bare chatter.

    • Boy, fell in a jar of vinegar? What an extremely acidic reaction. Most pre-2000 convertibles run like mops. That Jaguars are not high-quality cars is also a given, but that applies to more cars. Especially at that time. Despite all these comments, this XJ-S convertible is a beautiful convertible with more charisma and class than many other contemporary. And as a classic enthusiast I can enjoy that enormously. Try to look at it with different glasses, it makes the classic life a lot more fun…

    • Are you trying to be funny? That was not successful. As you may know, the north of Europe (among other things) is suitable for convertibles, much more so than the south, because it is simply too hot there. England has therefore produced many nice convertibles. The English quality is indeed not too well known, for the most part rightly so, but you should not exaggerate. This Jaguar is a great car and if you can't afford it, don't buy it. And that goes for everything.

  5. Beautiful lines, certainly Jaguar-worthy. Just like their own convertible that was introduced a little later. As Jinny pointed out, despite the generous exterior dimensions, old school Jags are quite cramped on the inside. I am definitely not a big boy with my 173 cm body length, but my XJ40 from 1988 is a lot more intimate on the inside than, for example, my Civic from 2012. Especially in terms of headroom…. yes it does have a sunroof. On the other hand, that Connolly leather, wood veneer, fold-out tables and small spotlights in the back were unique and a W126 or E32 just had a chilly atmosphere inside.

  6. Fantastic car..
    The coupe may also be there.
    That V12 produces a lot of heat by the way.
    A disadvantage, I do not fit behind the wheel….

    Where I worked in the 80s they also had the Jaguar dealership….
    i know them..

  7. Beautiful and majestic.
    In addition, the splendor of a V-12 in the forecastle. You could hardly be more regal on the road. However, current petrol prices are a major obstacle if you want to enjoy that superior V-12 😰

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