1986 Jaguar XJ-S
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $36,015 (In 1986: average car: $9,255; average household income: $22,500; cost of a house: $89,430; gallon of gas: 89 cents)
Number made: 4,885 coupes; 24,464 total Jaguar production, 1986
Engine, etc.: V-12; 5.3L, 326 cu. in.; 262 hp.; fuel injection; automatic; 3,975 lbs.; wheelbase: 102 in.
The luxury grand tourer was produced by Jaguar from 1975 to 1996.
The XJ-S replaced the E-type or XK-E. The last XJ-S was produced in April, 1996 after a production run of 115,413 over its 21-year production life. It was replaced by the XK-8.
The XJ-S’s specifications compared favorably to Italian luxury sport cars from Lamborghini and Ferrari (which were up to 90% more expensive). It could reach 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, had a top speed of 143 mph, and had the first modern twelve-cylinder engine available in the U. S.
The car was launched in the wake of the 1970’s fuel crisis and the market for the car was small. Its styling was also criticized; especially the pillars behind the windows which were thought to reduce visibility.
In 1981 it received a more powerful engine, 295 hp, and had exterior and interior changes. The newer more fuel efficient engine gave the XJ-S a new lease on life after years of slumping sales. A new combustion chamber design enabled the high compression engine to run on a leaner fuel mixture which gave more power but reduced fuel usage by up to 20%. The interior was also redesigned with a new veneered dash of burr elm and simplified instrumentation. Revised bumpers and mirrors gave the outside a new look. John Egan was in charge of Jaguar and was committed to improving quality with a new slogan: “The Legend Grows”. Sales increased sharply in 1982 with some 3,000 XJ-S’s delivered.
In 1982 the new XJ-S won first and second at Silverstone, a British racing circuit.
Handling and ride qualities were a key part of the Jaguar driving experience and had the right balance for comfort and handling. The XJ-S with its sports suspension, wider wheels and lower profile did have a stiffer ride. Brakes were adequate for such a heavy car but special care was urged on long downhill drives.
Although the XJ-S isn’t the maintenance nightmare some claim it to be, there were several special considerations to keeping it in running condition. Its engine was reliable but was a big engine installed in a fairly small engine bay. Heat could become trapped under the hood and cause damage, a problem which could be alleviated by not shutting the car down immediately after a hard run. Models made after 1989 featured a separate distributor coil for each bank of pistons. If one bank failed, the engine would lose power but continue to run smoothly. However, if the driver didn’t stop immediately, the fuel injection system kept sending fuel to the dead bank and the unburned fuel could set the catalytic converter on fire. Replacement of the distributor cap and rotor during periodic inspections helped avoid this problem.
After several changes in ownership and a return to independence, it was sold to Ford in 1999 but never made a profit while owned by Ford. In 2008 Ford sold its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors of India. After company restructuring in 2013, it became Jaguar Land Rover Limited
http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/default.aspx?carID=12206&i=2#menu (Specifications; costs)
See also: http://www.jag-lovers.org/brochures/rangeusa886.html (1986 brochure which includes the XJ-S) (Site says it is moving but brochure still available at this link as of 2.2.23)