BF Exclusive: 1986 Jaguar XJS

1986 Jaguar XJS

From Hal S – I was the proud owner of a 1956 Thunderbird, a 1966 Thunderbird, and my Brand-X car daily driver. Now, that was too many cars for one man to drive at any given time so I decided to put the old ’66 up for sale. After a few disastrous offers, I finally received a trade offer… my ’66 Thunderbird for a 1986 Jaguar XJS. Having never owned or driven a British car, much less a classic, I was intrigued enough to do the trade. The Jag was in eastern Washington State and I told the seller that I was not about to drive up there just to look at a car, but agreed to meet at the California-Oregon border…

Clean Interior

So, that’s how I acquired a big Jaguar that I really have no use for. It won’t fit in my 2-car garage with the baby TBird and my Brand-X, and I won’t leave it out in the weather, so now the Jag and the baby TBird have become good friends in the nice warm garage all winter while Brand-X bears the brunt of the weather in the driveway. When I acquired the Jag, I was told that it was put in storage every winter and only driven in the summer time. I guess it thinks it’s a convertible and doesn’t like the rain?

Clean V12

I refuse to give up my baby Thunderbird, and I also don’t want to sell my late model daily driver, so the Jaguar has to find a new home. It’s a 1986 Jaguar XJS, 2-door coupe (standard U.S. left-hand drive), all white paint in excellent condition. It has a 5.3L V-12 engine, automatic transmission, power seats & windows, AM/FM/Cassette radio, A/C, beautiful leather interior with wood dash and door appointments. The odometer and the CarFax show an honest 80,000+ miles. In addition to the CarFax Report, I have the NICB Report, NMVTIS History Report, InstaVIN Report and AutoCheck Report of 11/15 available for the buyer.


It is a beautiful car inside and out. No rust or body dings. Only the finish on the wood glove compartment door needs attention. Yes, it gets good average 1986 gas mileage and runs great – with that big engine just loafing along with power to spare. I am a private party, not a dealer. The California title is clear and current. Hagerty Insurance gives it’s value at $9,100 so I’d like to get something close to that. I just drove it on a 250 mile trip and it ran like a scalded ape the whole way! The car is located in Citrus Heights, California and you can contact Hal via email here if you’re interested.

Thanks for listing this with us Hal! We hope it goes to a good home and doesn’t miss the T-Bird too much. If you have a classic car that you are thinking about selling, please consider listing it with us!


  1. The Walrus

    Good luck. These are tough to sell. Had an ’83 XJS that I received through a trade for ’85 Shelby Charger (circa 1995). At the time I thought I was killing it! The Jag had a top book in OCPG of 25K! And the Charger was a 10 year old used car worth seemingly nothing. Worst trade I ever made. Basically gave the Jag away after dumping thousands into it. When it ran it was amazing. It just didn’t run often enough to be viable. Still love these though. So wide. So low. Nothing else that hasn’t been altered like them. Would probably make the same mistake again…

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  2. Jonathan

    What on Earth is a Brand-X?

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  3. John skeadas

    Good luck, but I agree with the previous comment. The 66 was relatively valueless as is the xjs. The 5.3 is prone vacuum and electronic glitches. I doubt the ac or cruise work. But further disaster are those non factory fender trim pieces. In addition to being ugly, they trap water and disguise the presence of rust. It’s a 3k dollar car if you can find a beginner! Cheers, John

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    • Stephen

      I just sold my 89 for $6500 in amazing condition with only 50k on it. The fender trim pieces are factory options, mine had them too.

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  4. dj

    This car will never get that. There was an 86 with 50k miles on ebay for $1500. These cars are great but they have problems to address. And if you can’t do them yourself, you’re out a boat load of money. I’ve had 3 and loved every one of them. Even when 2 of them caught on fire because of the short fuel injector hoses coming to pieces. I’d have another one but it would be the later one with the 4.0 inline six.

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  5. Fred W.

    Jonathan, I think “Brand X” is his nondescript modern daily driver. You know, the one that looks like every other car on the road from 50 feet. Aerodynamic, highly efficient, super reliable, and unlike a classic, without a soul.

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  6. Rando

    Those are beautiful cars. Good luck selling it. One of my favorite designs.

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  7. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Hal, from the comments I already see coming in, You will likely get more discouraging comments on your Jag. You will see them selling for low dollars as “dj” states above. However, keep your chin up, roll up your sleeves, and proceed to work your sale. Your Jag does look like a very clean example, and it probably is a really good car. I have been in that same position a number of times and its not always pleasant. Just remember that your T-Bird wasn’t producing much sales activity either. However, Don’t let the negative comments discourage you. When someone does come along and offer you cash, be ready to move quickly! In the mean time, just enjoy the ride -as I am sure it is a nice one.

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    • dj

      I have to agree. I’m not being harsh, just realistic. I like these cars but they don’t sell for much. My dad bought a 1994 2+2 Convertible with 50k miles for $5k last summer in mint condition. Hal, when someone comes along interested with cash in their pocket, you might need to jump on the offer.

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  8. Tony S

    Back away, turn around, and run as fast as you can.

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  9. Van

    I think the XJS convertible is ageing well.
    When new many didn’t like the style.
    I would like to hear from someone with positive things to say.
    I’d really like to know about performance enhancements for the XJS?
    Has anyone installed an XKR engine?

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  10. charlie Member

    The bottom of their market, if you can hold for ten or more years, there will be even fewer around, and if you weekly drive it, not in the rain, and garage it out of the sun, you should have a toy to enjoy and eventually get your money back.

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    • hhaleblian

      I won’t live that long for Charlie’s scenerio

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  11. Black Cat

    Okay, I’ll be the encouraging voice of dissent, here, Hal.

    V12 XJS values are finally rising. The vintage you have is actually pretty good, having addressed the issues of the early cars (e.g fuel injection hoses). I drove many of these in sequence, for several years, piling on 30-50k mikes a year, and never had one leave me stranded. Yes, they’re high-maintenance primarily because the high under bonnet temps require proactive replacement of soft items (hoses) that get cooked. But the rewards are great: as you found, they are quintessential GT’s that will gobble up a continent and leave you smiling at the end of the journey.

    While the I6 sold very well, it did so on the illusion that the convertible had useful rear seats (in reality, they just let the buyer rationalize an irrational purchase). And while the I6 is less demanding in maintenance, it just isn’t in the same league.

    The fender lip trims are an unfortunate appendage to this car, and were all too commonly fitted to these cars. Our wedding car, way back when, was my white V12 XJS for which I sentimentally kept a note of the VIN. A few years ago, I checked the old girl in Carfax, and she was still in current use and had covered close to 250,000 miles: not bad for a car that gets too little respect. Given more space and fewer other collectible cars (the stable already has two Jags), I’d be taking a closer look at this one, this weekend! As others suggested, be patient and you’ll find the right home for her. You might even try one of the auctions that focus on European cars, set a decent reserve to avoid giving her away, and you might do very well. The discerning collectors know that these have bottomed, and are now on the way up.

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  12. Pappy

    Good luck Hal, just sold mine (1984) last month to a guy in Germany for $4500. It was identical to yours in exterior and interior color, excellent condition with only 39k actual miles. Ran perfect and brand new rubber. Took me six months to find a buyer. It was a beautiful car. Hope you fare better than I did.

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  13. JoeV

    All i can say is good luck ! Had one of those english camaro’s, ,Thing caught on fire in the driveway first nite i got it home, Thank goodness (i thought at the time) the next door guy was cutting his grass and we got it out, Repaired the wiring,week later trans went out,replaced the trans, couple weeks went by and about the time i was starting to trust it, it dropped a valve.
    MONEY PIT !!!!!

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  14. charlie Member

    Same could be said about some people, beautiful, a great ride, but expensive to keep.

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  15. Ron Wheeler

    Want to be happy the rest of your life, marry a ugly wife.
    Same with the 86 Jag. Have a 86 and 83 HP.
    Can always drop a stroked, big cam 350 in one. Have the engine sitting in my garage.I read a story where a guy put on 2 super chargers, one for each bank.
    My 83 might get the 350, the 86 is to nice.

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