1989 Jaguar XJS
Beautiful 1989 XJS with 34k original miles. If you are seriously considering an XJS, you need to take the time to read this. I have owned three XJS’s over the years. This was a California car originally. I am the second owner and I have owned the car for over 10 years. I bought the car with 31k miles on it. The XJS was pretty to look at, but the ones of this period had a number of shortcomings from the factory (Jaguar was struggling financially) and they quickly developed a reputation for chronic overheating and under hood fire events. The trick in picking the right XJS is to find a low mileage example and then “fix” the problem areas. THIS is one of those rare cars.CHRONIC OVERHEATING/FIRES - The original cooling system had a complicated, inefficient flow pattern, and simply lacked capacity. This car has been converted to a traditional “single pass” system and has had an oversized all aluminum radiator installed. This conversion kit was supplied by Bee-Cool radiators. The OEM exhaust system was also poorly designed. It had webbing in the down pipes which was intended to quiet the combustion gasses and two CATS that were actually located under the hood. These two features combined to create extremely high under hood temperatures that would damage the fuel injector hoses causing leaks that would spray a fine mist of fuel under the hood, creating an obvious fire hazard. The OEM exhaust was removed and a new custom exhaust system was added that has good flow and no internal restrictions. There are no CATS installed, but if your state requires it, they can can be easily added farther aft in the system. In the back there are low profile resonators that give the car a more aggressive exhaust note. The original resonators are like new and go with the car. They can be easily swapped in if the new owner wants the car to be quieter.MARELLI FAILURE/FIRES - new for late 1989 was a hotter, more reliable, ignition system by Marelli which incorporated electronic timing advance. It was a huge improvement over the Lucus system. Only one flaw - if the rotor was not replaced on schedule, it would eventually short out all six cylinders on the right bank. The right exhaust system would fill with raw fuel which would catch fire when the fuel came into contact with the CATS. There is a simple modification to the distributor that corrects this problem. That modification has been completed on this car. THE TRANSMISSION- a manual transmission was simply not offered for U.S. bound XJS’s back then. They came with GM TH400 3-speed automatics only. They were very tough and reliable. Unfortunately, Jaguar insisted that the XJS top speed be at least 140mph. This required a rear-end gear ratio of 2:88 to 1. It did achieve the top end speed goal, but the acceleration and driving excitement was tepid at best. Finally, Kiesler Engineering’s XJS 5-speed conversion kit answered the demand from enthusiasts! The kit includes a custom V-12 bell housing, pedal box, hydraulic clutch, driveshaft, mounts, hardware and a Tremec TKO 500 5-speed manual transmission ($7k). The system is very robust for this application, with a capacity of 500hp (the XJS makes about 300hp). These modifications/upgrades greatly increase the fun factor and ownership experience while ensuring that this original V-12 will last for years to come.The car has also received the following from me: rebuilt front and rear calipers, pads and rotors. This includes rebuilding the parking brake which requires removing the entire rear subframe. This one works perfectly. New rear springs and shocks. (The XJS tends to sag in the rear over time). Rebuilt water pump and power steering pump. New spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor, F/I harness, F/I hoses, drive belts, and cooling system hoses. A new Robbins convertible top with new padding and headliner ($4k). As me how I damaged the original one! A new A/C compressor and 134a conversion 3 years ago. 4 new redline radial tires from Diamondback tires. Okay, I know - they aren’t period correct! If you don’t like the tires or the wire wheels, a set of OEM lattice wheels and low mileage radials also go with the car.TO DO LIST: (1) - The cruise control was inop when I purchased the car and I have not looked at it. (2) - There are two very small, hard to detect door dings. (3) - The A/C system has a slow leak and requires charging every spring. It blows cold as of this writing. (4) - The paint and gloss is beautiful for a 30 year old car. Jaguar used multiple layers of clear coat even in 1989. However, there is minor road wear on the rockers behind all four wheels. (5) - The washer fluid reservoir leaks. (6) - the radio just went completely inop this spring. I haven’t had time to look at it. The radio and the speakers are original. (6) - the front fog lights are MIA. (7) - the back-up lights are inop.If an item is not listed above, it works! Please feel free to contact me anytime. Two three one, six seven zero, seven two nine nine. Thanks. Mark.