RE: Jaguar XJ-S: Spotted

Sunday 4th February

Jaguar XJ-S: Spotted

How about a gold standard Jag XJ-S that differs from the rest? This one requires manual labour...



Manual XJ-Ss made up less than eight per cent of total production. So, by that token, does it make it worthy of Spotted material? We like to highlight the rare and unusual in our classifieds, and a Jaguar that forces you to change your own gears is as unheard of as a Jaguar owner having to pay for their own dinner.

The XJ-S was already 10 years old by the time this example was built, and it was more of a car for the head of a company - or a BL executive picking from the company car scheme. It came with a thirsty V12, which was definitely the perfect engine to have off the back of an oil crisis. Jaguar also needed to put some development miles on its new AJ6 straight-six engine before it went into full-scale production in the XJ40. So, some bright spark at Jaguar thought that it would be a good idea to put it in the XJ-S.


And to be fair, the 3.6 engine is lighter than the 5.3, which meant that the six-cylinder car was less nose heavy. It also meant that Jag could reduce both the spring and anti-roll bar rates at the front, and that no doubt brought benefits to ride comfort - a Jaguar hallmark. The manual version would make more use of the engine's power. This meant that performance figures not a million miles away from the V12: 7.4sec to 60mph compared with 6.5 of the bigger engine.

The trouble is, the manual isn't as good as it could be. The shift action - when it was new - was reported in the 21st April 1984 road test of Autocar to be 'notchy, heavy, and certainly baulky if hurried'. So, it isn't really an everyday car, but if you are spending £20k on a low-mileage example, I don't think you would be.

And if you compare it with contemporary rivals, the XJ-S stacked up rather well. If you wanted a Porsche, you would need the four-cylinder 944 and that had a lower top speed. Audi had the Quattro, but that was a £1,154 more expensive and wasn't as powerful. The closest rival was the BMW 635CSi with its silky straight-six engine, comfortable ride, strong performance and much better Getrag gearbox. Trouble is, it cost a not inconsiderable amount of money back then - nearly £25k! The XJ-S, by comparison, was a bargain.


So, while the manual XJ-S might not be the best version to have, it doesn't stop it from being an interesting classic. I mean, we still like Austin-Healeys and AC Cobras despite them being a little difficult to drive. No, this is a rather nice, unusual XJ-S in an excellent colour that really stands out. Plus, there's even air conditioning to prevent you building up a sweat while changing your own gears.


SPECIFICATION - 1985 JAGUAR XJ-S 3.6

Engine: 3,590cc, straight-six
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 228@5,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 240@4,000rpm
MPG: 17.6
CO2: Gases out the paupers
First registered: 1985
Recorded mileage: 26,000
Price new: £19,248
Yours for: £19,999

See the original advert here.

Author
Discussion

Hugh Jarse

Original Poster:

3,081 posts

140 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Chap has one at work, looks wonderful.
A rare thing, unique styling that has never been copied.

richs2891

710 posts

188 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
My dad had a manual XJS - the V12 version, an old T reg one so 1978 or 1979. Bought from new and it was terrible by today standard, but mostly clouded by BL attitude to cars.
On delivery 3 matching wheel badges and 1 odd one. Passenger window had the electric window motor missing. Week later window wiper burnt out. 8 weeks for replacement parts. BL attitude was tough - thats what it is.
The actual car - when it was going was Ok but lots of electrical issues. Various engine issues, It had 2 gearbox rebuilds in the time we had it, might have been the driving style - not sure. Its long since rusted away

TR4man

2,965 posts

109 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I'd love an XJS but one of the later 4.0 litre models. I starting looking for one a couple of years ago when I sold my Stag but realised that one wouldn't fit in my single garage - for a 2+2 they are big cars!


JohnG1

2,999 posts

140 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
"The closest rival was the BMW 635CSi with its silky straight-six engine, comfortable ride, strong performance and much better Getrag gearbox."

Didn't the XJS manual use a Getrag gearbox? Was there a different, better Getrag box used by BMW versus Jaguar?

dantournay

304 posts

143 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
TR4man said:
I'd love an XJS but one of the later 4.0 litre models. I starting looking for one a couple of years ago when I sold my Stag but realised that one wouldn't fit in my single garage - for a 2+2 they are big cars!
They're not a great deal larger than a modern family car now but they are small on the inside and the back seats are for no one over 10 years old. That said I've found mine, which I use as my daily, surprising practical though as it has a cavernous boot.
l've managed to cart the wife, 2 small kids, a six man tent and our camping stuff for a week without too much fuss a couple of years ago.
It stood out a bit on the campsite among the sea of silver Zafiras and Picassos


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Twoshoe

420 posts

119 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
dantournay said:
It stood out a bit on the campsite among the sea of silver Zafiras and Picassos
I bet it did - made me laugh! Great looking car too btw.

Loyly

16,299 posts

94 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
An interesting car. My barber had a succession of these at one point, including IIRC a manual V12. They were dirt cheap around the turn of the millennium but there were plenty for sale and it wasn't a 'classic' then either - so the prices were realistic rather than sensational.

Jaguar steve

5,139 posts

145 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
JohnG1 said:
"The closest rival was the BMW 635CSi with its silky straight-six engine, comfortable ride, strong performance and much better Getrag gearbox."

Didn't the XJS manual use a Getrag gearbox? Was there a different, better Getrag box used by BMW versus Jaguar?
There were a few different rated versions of the Getrag 5 speed gearbox. The version in the 3.6 XJS was the 265 and the 4.0 had the 290 but it's not said which model BMW is being used as a comparison or how it might be better.

It's a agricultural baulky beast of a 'box and all the manual XJS and XJ cars of that era fitted with them had a clutch so heavy it would quickly reduce your left leg to quivering jelly in stop start traffic.

The manuals offered a dramatic improvement in both economy and performance over the standard ZF 4 speed autos but but you paid for that with a significant loss of refinement at higher RPM.

vixen1700

10,307 posts

205 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Had a 3.6 and absolutely loved it, it drove and sounded like a proper Jag.

Had a 4.0 about ten years later and it was awful, drove like an ocean liner and reeked of the golf club. frown

klunkT5

394 posts

53 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
JohnG1 said:
"The closest rival was the BMW 635CSi with its silky straight-six engine, comfortable ride, strong performance and much better Getrag gearbox."

Didn't the XJS manual use a Getrag gearbox? Was there a different, better Getrag box used by BMW versus Jaguar?
AFAIK 3.6 XJS used the Getrag 265

EDIT: Sorry just seen Steves response.

Edited by klunkT5 on Monday 5th February 11:20

unsprung

2,518 posts

59 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
buttress-olicious


shouldbworking

4,247 posts

147 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Drove a V12 once that had the auto gearbox swapped out for a manual off a supra iirc. Absolutely transformed the car into an absolute hooligan mobile.

But it was a bit rough round the edges, so I went and got an auto, which looked stunning but was in fact an absolute dog.

samoht

774 posts

81 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
unsprung said:
buttress-olicious
Yes, although those are flying buttresses, like on a Ferrari 599 - the Jag's are just buttresses.


Edited by samoht on Sunday 4th February 20:02

akirk

2,611 posts

49 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
£20k for a 3.6 manual! even at that mileage, that is a steep price and it is £1k less on ebay anyway smile

Plug Life

909 posts

26 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
It's butt-uglier than the Bangle-butted BMWs which is quite a feat.

Mr Tidy

6,720 posts

62 months

Monday 5th February
quotequote all
I think they have aged well!

I really didn't like them back in the day, but I suppose I was hoping for an E-Type replacement - and they definitely weren't that!

I remember a wild ride in a V12 owned by a former school-mate back in the early 90s - despite the weight it had some grunt.

And more recently thanks to a mate I now know someone who has raced a manual V12 in the JDC series - but it is waiting for an engine rebuild just now. rolleyes

But when it was running it was a fantastic car.

For some reason I quite fancy a 4.0 litre manual - maybe because I grew up admiring E-Types, MK2s and S-Types but have never owned a Jaguar yet. laugh


cml

667 posts

197 months

Monday 5th February
quotequote all
Jaguar steve said:
It's a agricultural baulky beast of a 'box and all the manual XJS and XJ cars of that era fitted with them had a clutch so heavy it would quickly reduce your left leg to quivering jelly in stop start traffic.

The manuals offered a dramatic improvement in both economy and performance over the standard ZF 4 speed autos but but you paid for that with a significant loss of refinement at higher RPM.
Spot on. Leg will indeed wobble, It is long, heavy, rear drive car and not as sporty as it looks - basically it will let go rather suddenly if you are too abrupt, and you probably won't catch it. The steering is too light and isolating too. Best bit - you can pop it into 5th at 20mph or even less and slowly wind it up. Then drop two gears to overtake, wooosh - engine focus is all mid-range torque. Cabin is offers fantastic view through a shallow windscreen over an acre of bonnet. Snug indeed. Has oodles of presence and despite being ancient, doesn't look it. Class and a real mile-eater. Although the gold paint, frankly, looks ironically gauche now.

I miss mine a lot.

Lotusgone

99 posts

62 months

Monday 5th February
quotequote all
Years ago, I tried a 3.6 manual and thought it was great, in fact thought of little else for a couple of days. Then went back to the seller to check through the history - which was two MOT certs. Head ruled heart and I walked away.

Later ran a 4.0 auto Celebration - which was lovely, but never quite as exciting as the manual. They're now worth about three times what I sold it for (as per an Octane classified). Dammit.

only1ian

547 posts

129 months

Monday 5th February
quotequote all
dantournay said:
TR4man said:
I'd love an XJS but one of the later 4.0 litre models. I starting looking for one a couple of years ago when I sold my Stag but realised that one wouldn't fit in my single garage - for a 2+2 they are big cars!
They're not a great deal larger than a modern family car now but they are small on the inside and the back seats are for no one over 10 years old. That said I've found mine, which I use as my daily, surprising practical though as it has a cavernous boot.
l've managed to cart the wife, 2 small kids, a six man tent and our camping stuff for a week without too much fuss a couple of years ago.
It stood out a bit on the campsite among the sea of silver Zafiras and Picassos

Do you have to take family camping holidays to afford the fuel and running costs?

dantournay

304 posts

143 months

Wednesday 21st February
quotequote all
No, I took them camping because they love it.
Running costs are reasonable and compare to the modern Jags & Audis I've had as there's no depreciation.
It's just been a case of getting things done when needed, it does enjoy the juice though. I worked out once that it was averaging about 20mpg.