‘It’s superbly engineered, sensationally quick, very refined and magnificent to drive – a combination of qualities that no other car we’ve driven can match at that price’ – Motor Magazine.
The Jaguar XJS was born in 1975 after 10 years in development, the car being in the main the work of Malcolm Sayer with input from Sir William Lyons (nothing like having your boss looking over your shoulder).
Although it's assumed the Jaguar XJ-S was conceived as a successor to the E-type, it was actually intended to be very different from the outset. It would be comfortable and luxurious, less of a sports car and more of a sports tourer. Externally the key styling features were the (highly controversial at the time) flying buttresses, sweeping from the top of the rear roofline down to the rear of the wings. These helped give what was quite a large car an excellent drag coefficient - actually better than the curvey and relatively petite E-type – and helped the Jag to a top speed of 150mph, passing 60mph in 7.5 seconds on the way.
Now, as is often the case, those controversial looks have mellowed considerably and the XJS is fast emmerging from the shadows as a desirable, rapid and attractive modern classic.
The XJ-S's engine was a fuel-injected version of the E-type's 5.3 litre V12. However, it was thirsty so in 1981 the HE engine varient was introduced - with a modified cylinder head design and a better ignition system, fuel consumption was improved by over 20%. Transmission was the robust and smooth GM400 3-speed auto. The V12 auto remained in production for all 21 years of the model's life.
This particular example is an HE, dating from 1985, which was the year that the current owner first fell in love with the car and bought it new from the showroom of Guy Salmon in Thames Ditton. It’s rare indeed to find one owner cars of this vintage, let alone examples that have been so cherished and pampered over their 30-odd years.
On taking delivery in August (the original bill of sale comes with the car), the owner set about enjoying his new pride and joy but, being a professional pilot he was also clearly a stickler for things being done ‘right’ and made sure that the car was regularly serviced by Guy Salmon – no less than 21 times in the next 14 years. By 1999 the original service book (also included in the sale, naturally) had been filled with stamps and at that time the car had covered a total of 81,000 miles.
At this point the owner stopped flying and his usage of the Jag decreased dramatically; from 1999 to the present day he has covered a mere 5,000 miles, but this hasn’t affected his fastidious service schedule, with C215 PPE receiving a further 8 pampering sessions over this period.
By now you will not be at all surprised to hear that the car comes with a comprehensive file of bills and MOT's, along with all instruction books and the original tool roll. The mileage is currently standing at just 86,691 – a remarkable total representing an average of about 2,700 a year, and last week the car sailed through an MOT with no advisories.
A beige vinyl covering was applied to the roof by Guy Salmon when new and this suits the car well, with the original sunroof being retained. An upgraded stereo, radio and four speaker system with CD mutltichanger has also been installed. Other updates include central locking for the boot.
The owner tells us that about 20 years ago rust behind the rear wheel arches was cut out & new metal was let in to replace the affected area. The car was then resprayed in the same colour, but in harder wearing acrylic paint. In terms of more recent work, the car has just had its air conditioning system totally overhauled and the radiator has been replaced.
Today, the car is resplendent its beautiful period colour of ‘Silversand Metallic’, the virtually flawless paintwork being complemented by gorgeous cream Doeskin hide throughout.
Sitting on good tyres with refurbished alloy wheels, all the chrome work and glasswear on the car is good (although there is a slight ding in the front bumper on the N/S – please see our photos), so the overall cosmetic impression made is very good indeed.
In terms of other faults that we could find, there are a couple of very small indentations to the bodywork on the nearside, a tiny chip on the edge of the boot lid and a small amount of bubbling on the rear quarter bumper cover & flying buttress. Lastly the bonnet gas struts need replacing.
The car started immediately during our visit, settling down to an even idle with no rattles, smoke or any signs of oil leaks underneath. Whilst we were unable to complete a full test drive (the car is currently SORNed), the XJS is clearly devoid of any obvious mechanical malardy, and the owner tells us that she drives just like new – as one might perhaps expect.
C215 PPE is currently in dry storage, being maintained by a classic car specialist in West Sussex where it can be viewed at any point over the auction period - in addition to this the owner will of course be happy to answer all enquiries and questions. Inevitably, after 30 years of sole ownership the car is offered for sale with some reluctance, but the time has come for a new custodian who will hopefully lavish the same level of care on this very special Jag over the next 30-odd years.
Registration Number: C215 PPE
Chassis Number: SAJJNAEW3BC124697
Engine Number: 88036442HB