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Due to such luminaries as the XK120, E-Type and XJ6 as well as the five Le Mans victories, it’s understandable why many consider the 1950s and 1960s to be Jaguar’s golden era. Yet in my view the company’s best decade is a completely different time for several reasons: the 1980s.
We sample a lockdown project which got out of hand to produce a better-than-new XJS WORDS PAUL WAGER PHOTOGRAPHY PAUL WALTON Detail ManBetter than new – nut and bolt XJS restoration Unbelievable attention to detail has produced a 1994 Jaguar XJS Coupe 6.0-litre V12 which is quite possibly better than new. You could perhaps forgive the confusion.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Paul’s 2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 having been compared to not one or two but three rivals. Although the 18th century French philosopher and mathematician, the Marquis de Condorcet, once advised to, “Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another,” I still find pitching my XK8 against rivals from the same era to be a fascinating experience.
You can send the hate mail to the usual address, but I’ll come right out with it and admit that despite being an XJ-S fan I’ve often found the V12 cars rather underwhelming in standard form. The late 6.0-litre is a formidable beast but given its complexity and additional capacity I’ve frequently found myself wondering if the 5.3-litre offers a great leap over the late six-cylinder cars. Until now, that is.
The Jaguar XJ-S picked up where the Jaguar E-type (XKE) left off, but the new car was never supposed to be a replacement for the old. Whereas the E-type was launched as a sports car and it morphed into a GT, the XJ-S was conceived and developed as a cruiser. It was never meant to be sporting as such, although with a 5.3-litre V12 in the nose, the XJ-S was never going to be short of performance.