You don’t have to be a crazy cat person to appreciate today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Jag XJS, but being a bowtie bro might just help. That’s because this stately coupe gets its motivation from a Corvette driveline. Let’s see if that and its price makes this Jag a purrrrr-fect deal.
How many miles is too many miles? With 185K on its clock yesterday’s otherwise tasty 1998 Volvo S70 T5 raised questions of its continued longevity. In the end, enough of you felt there was enough life left in the sweet Swede to justify its price and it drove off with a laudable 59% Nice Price win.
Along with scones, driving on the wrong side of the road, and Ian Flemming’s James Bond, there’s nothing quite so intrinsically British as a Jaguar automobile. Well, maybe Jags and Dr. Who. Yes, definitely Jags and Dr. Who. It’s strange then that the good Doctor wouldn’t actually travel in a Jag, choosing instead to use his Tardis. That’s because Dr. Who’s Tardis is small outside and huge inside while many Jags—like the XJS—cast shadows bigger than their relatively diminutive insides might let on.
This 1990 Jaguar XJS casts such a shadow. It alsoexudes a presence, albeit one that’s remarkably different from pretty much all other cars the Coventry-based company has produced before or since. That being said, the XJS was the marque’s longest-running model, with production stretching from 1976 to 1996. It even lived longer than that as its replacement, the XK8, rolled on a derivative platform.
That XK8 was Jaguar’s first V8 since the 1969 Daimler 250, while the XJS made do with straight six or V12 power over the course of its life. This one tries to re-write that history by adopting a Chevy LT1 V8 out of a 1995 Corvette. It also gets the 4L60E four-speed automatic from the ‘Vette to keep the LT1 company. Both of those have a reported 64K on them.
What does that mean? Well, the Chevy mill was factory rated at 300-bhp at 5,000 rpm and 340 lb-ft of torque at 4,000. Compare that to the 260-horses and 278 lb-ft of the smaller but smoother Jag V12 proffered. Winner, winner, chicken dinner, right?
Well, counter that with the fact that the SOHC Jag V12 tips the scales somewhere in the neighborhood of 650 pounds while the iron block LT1 weighs in at a hefty 750. Aluminum is a hell of a drug.
Okay, so the Chevy mill is beefier in both power and weight, which is kind of a draw. It also should be a hell of a lot more reliable than the Jag engine, and can be fixed at your local Pep Boys.
The installation looks reasonably tidy, and perhaps more importantly, to have been done some time ago. Nicely, the A/C is working and a pair of additional gauges have been placed in the veddy British dash to help keep tabs on things. The GM slusher even works through the impossibly twee T-handle gear selector.
The rest of the interior looks pretty good for 144,000 miles, but the same can’t be said for the bodywork. There are some dents and scratches and some rust through in places here. None of it is bad enough to scare you off, but keep in mind that at some point this Jag is going to need a new skin.
There’s new front suspension bushings and rear brake pads (inboard brakes on these damn things), and a 17 gallon fuel cell in the boot, to boot. Factory alloys hold the whole thing up, and it comes with both a clean title and a current PA Inspection.
Now, I’ve driven a lot of these, in both 6 and 12-cylinder form, and I can aver that, while they’re not my favorite cars, they do impress. This one brings both the Jaguar presence and potentially less of a likelihood of sitting in your driveway owing to some impossible to track down engine issue. For that the seller is asking $4,800.
What do you think, does this V8 XJS look like it could command such a price? Or, is this one cat that you wouldn’t let out of the bag?
H/T to Ben Shoer for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.