15 Years in the Barn: 1987 Jaguar XJS Convertible

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It’s a shame the Jaguar XJS has such a lousy reputation for reliability. To me, this is one of the more attractive models they made, especially in recent memory, and you could even get it equipped with a V12. Of course, buying a Jaguar with a V12 meant you were either a certified mechanic or friendly with someone that had a small block Chevy waiting to be dropped in. I’m not sure what the future holds for this barn find convertible, but it’s been sitting for 15 years in Florida and obviously is a major undertaking for even a marque expert. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,000 or trade for guns, a side-by-side, or four-wheelers.

The asking price is fairly ambitious, especially considering how many XJSs sell for peanuts even in running, driving condition. Yes, the convertibles are more desirable, but the only drop-top model I see commanding a price like this even if found in basketcase condition is the classic E-Type. Or perhaps the rare targa-topped XJS, but even that car hasn’t exactly ascended the collector car values chart due to being more obsure than truly rare. While a perfectly preserved or nice driver-quality XJS convertible can go for reasonable money, the prices fall off a cliff when discovered in barn find condition like this.

Of course, it’s always thrilling to tell someone you found a Jaguar convertible in the barn, forgotten for the last 15 years. But then reality sets in, and you see the state of affairs everywhere else that isn’t just some exterior surface you can blow the dust off of. The interior of this Jaguar is exactly as you’d expect for a forgotten Florida car, with leather seats blown apart, dirty console, filthy carpets, and likely perished wood trim. I mention Florida as a distinguishing quality as it’s likely a drop-top in the Sunshine State was already looking fairly tired inside before it went into its 15 years sleep.

It’s hard to tell for sure, but the Jaguar appears to wear pewter paint with a tan top, or the paint may be a dark tan. Two factory colors that come to mind are “Oyster” and “Platinum”, either of which would be a fairly rare shade of paint considering most XJSs seem to be red, white, or black. The Jaguar does retain its factory wheels, and overall, it does appear to remain in factory condition (insert your jokes here about how well these cars ran when the left the factory.) Given the seller seems open to trades for a variety of items that range from guns to ATVs, I’m guessing he doesn’t have high hopes for seeing his full asking price in return for this forgotten XJS convertible.

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  1. jwzg

    An old British car is a lifestyle…not necessarily an investment. GLWTS

    Like 16
    • Blyndgesser

      It’s also not necessarily transportation….

      Like 26
      • Jwzg

        British humor at its best!

        Like 4
  2. Steve R

    Why would anyone waste their time with this car when running, driving examples can be found for the same amount of money. As it sits a more realistic price would be $1,000.

    Steve R

    Like 20
  3. Old Skool Johnny

    I brought a red ’89 1/2 back to life. It was a challenge, and fun to do. Wife loved driving it. Parts we’re expensive, but could be purchased on eBay for a more reasonable price. Mine had a bad radiator, really poor design. The Brits really skimped on wiring too, gauge of wires used we’re unusually undersized. I would do another one, if the price we’re right, just as a hobby fun thing to do. On line, you can find help from a downloadable source called “Experience in a Book”. Super fantastic help at getting your project done.

    Like 1
  4. junkmanMember

    Unfortunately these cars are an electrical nightmare, coupled with 15 year old fuel and mold, not going anywhere good. Best thing for this old girl would be a full Chevy drive train, and an after market wiring harness to make the top and windows work. Or, why bother???

    Like 11
  5. Kevin McArdle

    Save yourself and buy a beautiful condition XK8 for 5k

    Like 9
    • Charles Sawka

      They at least already have Ford drive trains.

      Like 6
  6. skibum2

    so many comments, and all so true.. plastic fitting on fuel line results in engine fire,, beware

    Like 2
  7. Steven Dempsey

    I had one. Got lucky. A tree fell on it.

    Like 11
  8. Phil

    This is a rare car – but that doesn’t make it valuable. As a matter of fact, it makes it hard to get parts for it. It’s a Jaguar Hess & Eisenhardt convertible – converted in Ohio, somewhat sanctioned by Jaguar at the time. There are many parts that are unique to this conversion, and they’re hard to get. It’s impressive that this one is as solid as it is, but it will take a lot of money to bring it back to it’s glory – if the parts to do that can be found. With this low mileage it would bring about $20k on BaT – they can be searched there – but it’s likely to take several years, and many $$ to get it back in good seleable condition.

    Like 1

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