Cheap Cat Second Chance: 1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible

You can hear the frustration in the seller’s voice coming through the words of this listing, evidently posted for a second time after the first winner failed to follow though with payment. That’s a serious frustration, especially when you think you’re about done with a car and that it’s on its way out. However, it’s rarely that easy, and this 1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible is still lingering in the seller’s garage, looking for a new home. This is a total project, but it’s also listed with no reserve and super cheap bidding at the moment. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $640 and located in Trenton, Florida.

I had an experience a few days ago where I saw a project I had shipped home for the first time. Now, I’ve pulled plenty of projects out of the much and the mud, and still managed to keep my spirits up when I started digging into it. However, this latest project – which will soon be with a new owner – just left me deflated. I looked inside at a cabin that looked worse than this and just said, “No.” It’s certainly fun to bring cars back from the brink, but everyone has their limit. This XJS will not be a simple restore in terms of the money and effort needed to fix issues like an interior that hasn’t been cleaned in decades.

And that’s tough, because a cosmetic refresh should be the more enjoyable aspect of a restoration. But Jaguars are notoriously heavy on luxury features and high-grade materials that don’t tend to get better with age and neglect. The same goes for the V12 powerplant that has over 140,000 miles but supposedly ran when parked. The seller notes the Jaguar was put into long-term storage once the automatic transmission started slipping, and never looked at again. The mechanical health is a big unknown for the next owner, but the seller notes the engine does still turn over, even if it’s not starting at the moment.

There has been some rust repair done to the driver’s side floor, and the passenger side will need doing. The listing notes that the only other evidence of rust is a tiny patch on the vehicle’s rear panel. The top is largely sound, but there are two seams that will need to be re-sewn. The A/C does not blow cold, but at least the original tool kit and tool bag are still in the trunk. Overall, if you want a cheap project, this one is likely to go for not much money at all, and I’m calling that it will hammer home for under $1K. Do you see a project worth reviving, or is it just a phenomenal parts car for an XJS lover?


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  1. Douglas Smith

    I have been a British car mechanic. a licensed car show judge and an XJS owner. I might own another XJS, but it won’t be this one. Too many potential owners don’t understand the massive needs for working space, time, skill and money. this is only a memory of an XJS.
    You can buy a very nice example for less money than it would cost to redo the mechanic, the body OR the interior. Sadly, there are not many usable parts.

    Like 6
  2. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I don’t blame the owner for being frustrated. This car made an appearance here on BF over a year ago:

    Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Why buy this when for $14,777 you could have that beauty that came on line two days ago?

  4. Bultaco

    If you could get it for, say, a grand or two, it might be worthwhile for an American drivetrain swap. If you could keep the total cost reasonable you’d end up with an attractive and reliable car.

    Like 1
  5. Mike

    Picture guide for selling your car:

    E-Bay – Clear pictures, little to no clutter, important items shown, 10+ pictures total
    Craig’s List – Stuff on car, 40%+ covered by car cover, up to 2 pics blurry, one repeat picture or pic of unnecessary item, 3-6 pictures total
    FB ad – Car 95% covered in junk or car cover, pics taken at night with flash, door opened 6 inches for interior pic, all pictures fuzzy, less than 4 pics total

    Like 2
  6. 71 MKIKV

    I just dug one out of a garage where it had been sitting since 2012.

    Body is in good shape.

    Cost me 5 grand in parts to make it roadworthy again. Just going through systems.

    if there is body work involved the 600 is too high.

    Like 1
  7. JagManBill

    Having owned a 40k mile 78 S, they are fun to drive. That said, …they are fun to drive. Working on one is one of two things – a labor of love or a really good paycheck for the shops labor. They are not cheap to maintain or fix when small problems arise and they are as frequent as the sun rise.
    My 95 S has been a lot more fun as there is less to go wrong that the computer doesn’t tell you what to fix…if I had that computer…
    Its at $2,550 now. At that price the Seller is the winner in this auction.

  8. Steve Bush Member

    Mike; you’re probably giving the sellers too much credit.

  9. Mark

    6.0 ls E bay turbo kit and a 4l80e . a new set of drag slicks and You have a fun car at the track for under 10 K

  10. mjf

    Those car are mechanical nightmares … V12 motor … Not worth the headache

    Like 1
  11. Claudio

    Way too many good choices to be stupid enough to choose this ..,

  12. Kenn

    Well Claudio, you just called the eventual buyer “stupid”. Perhaps ambitious, skilled at car restoration, willing to spend the time necessary to get the vehicle in shape to drive and enjoy would be a more courteous description. ie: don’t judge others by yourself.

    Like 1

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