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Car Tales: The New E-Type, Jaguar XJS V12

How could you replace the Jaguar E-type? ‘The most beautiful car in the world,’ as Enzo Ferrari had allegedly ordained.
Well, as the manufacturer was Jaguar, the legendary UK marque, you should have known they would put on a jolly good show.
1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 for sale
In 1968 Jaguar had introduced its XJ range – the first example of this, the XJ6, was a four-door, straight-six saloon. A high-performance version called the XJ12 was announced in July 1972, featuring a simplified grille treatment, and powered by a Jaguar 5.3 L V 12 engine. It was billed as the ‘fastest full four-seater available in the world.’

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The logical development of this was the XJ-S, revealed in 1975. The XJ-S was powered by a 5.3-liter V12 engine which could take it from 0-60mph in 7.6 sec and on to a top speed of 143mph. Despite such impressive performance the XJ-S was more of a smooth GT than an out-and-out sports car, offering the XJ12’s suspension, brakes and superb fuel-injected V12 engine in a semi-sporting 2+2 package.
1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 side view
This big XJ-S sold well and nearly 15,000 of the first generation were built until the Series II was introduced in 1981.
Once it was up and running the XJS V12 model went from strength to strength.
Not only would it last an extraordinary 21 years in production, but it would also become a defining icon of the 1980s, before also powering into the next decade.
And with time this refined automobile has become a truly great classic car, especially when you come across a Convertible version, one of which we now have at Beverly Hills Car Club, a 1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 with only 21,347 miles on the odometer.
It is finished in its factory color scheme Glacier White (NDP), complemented with a Barley (AFW) interior. Equipped with an automatic transmission, V12 engine, power steering, front-wheel disc brakes, dual exhaust outlets, chrome bumpers with rubber guards, Cibie-branded headlights, convertible soft top, boot cover, heated glass rear window, rear quarter windows, 3-spoke steering wheel, aluminum door sill plates, BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires, alloy wheels, and a full-size spare tire fitted in the trunk.
Additional convenience features include air conditioning, speed control, power windows, dual-side rearview mirrors, sun visors, chrome-plated luggage retention rail, an armrest center console, glove box, AM/FM radio, and a cigar lighter with an ashtray. This example comes with a clean CARFAX report. It is a well-priced fuel-injected XJS V12 that is offered with low mileage as well as being mechanically sound.
1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 rear view
The XJ-S Convertible was not unveiled until 1985, ten years after the first XJ12 models had appeared. The Convertible offered the imperious XJ12’s suspension, brakes and majestic fuel-injected V12 engine in its semi-sporting 2+2 package.
There was no doubt about its ability, but aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer’s long-flanked styling took a while to be accepted.
1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 interior
It was Sayer, who died in 1970 but had been the man behind the curves of the beautiful, alluring E-type and the D-Type racer (a stunning machine that won the Le Mans 24-hour race three times in a row in the 1950s), who was the motoring aerodynamic pioneer behind the Jaguar XJS’s flying buttresses.
Malcolm Sayer was a fine and imaginative mathematician and expert in aerodynamics who worked during and immediately after World War II in the aircraft industry for de Havilland and the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Bringing to Jaguar these skills as well as lightweight aircraft construction methods, he also imparted to Jaguar a sublime sense of style. Although as far as Sayer was concerned the beauty of his cars was a product of a strictly rational and scientific design process.
His scientific methods were so intense that few, if any, of his colleagues ever quite understood them. While he was teaching at the University of Baghdad shortly after the end of World War 2, he had reportedly met a German professor. The German academic taught Sayer a system of designing shapes mathematically – as though they had computers in their heads.
Physically Sayer was a giant of a man, but although witty – he was a gifted cartoonist – and an entertaining father to his three children, he was shy and reserved. An amateur musician and keen watercolorist, Malcolm Sayer was a special sort of artist – a man who created art through engineering, and with the aid of logbooks and slide rules, and science.
1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible V12 engine
Former chief test engineer Norman Dewis recalled: ‘He would have a foolscap sheet the full length of his wall. All across that sheet were colored curves and lines. Every six inches were vertical lines with figures. I used to say to him “I can’t even see a car”.’
Perhaps Norman Dewis couldn’t see the car because it was so fast, the XJ-S, that it simply hurtled past him in a cloud of dust – the perfect replacement for the Jaguar E-Type.
Happy New Year!
-Alex Manos, Owner
Jaguar XJS buyer Alex Manos

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