Grandparents’ Jag: 1987 Jaguar XJ-SC

Jaguar built around 5,000 of these unusual convertible/targa-style XJS coupes with V12 power, and this example is supposedly exiting long-term family ownership for the first time since new. These are far less commonly seen than the hardtops and traditional convertibles, and the interesting roof design may help make up for its legendary reputation for eye-watering mechanic bills. Find this XJ-SC here on eBay with a $9,300 Buy-It-Now. 

Bidding opens at $4,300 with a reserve, and as of this writing, there are no bites yet. The asking price is simply too high, even with the rarity figured in. These XJS cars are known for racking up serious maintenance bills, to the point many committed owners choose to just swap in a SBC. This example is listed by the presumed grandson of the original owners who have kept the car in California since new. To that end, it is said to be rust-free.

The XJ-SC featured a two-section roof, with the area over the cabin and the back glass capable of being transformed into open-air environments. It reminds me of BMW’s classic Baur cabriolets, particularly the E21 3-Series. The B-pillar is fixed and the silhouette of a roof remains with the aforementioned sections stripped away. A targa-style bar remains while the rear passenger windows are fixed. It’s a surprisingly sporting look for such an old-money coupe.

The V12 can be a cause for panic and second mortgages, but these cars do behave nicely when maintained. The endless electrical and vacuum lines will test even the most seasoned mechanic, but the seller claims his track record of recent maintenance – upwards of $13K alone on the suspension – should make this Jag a reliable driver. The roof panels have also been reupholstered, so at least some money has been spent on this one-family owned XJ-SC.


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  1. Steve R

    This is its third time being listed on eBay and has yet to receive a single bid.

    The license plates are new, probably issued within the last year or two. If interested, I’d ask to speak to some of the family members to get an oral history, I’d also want to look at any reciepts. Sellers often lie about long term family history, the person that flipped my mothers Honda Accord did and does so every time he lists a car on eBay.

    Steve R

    • George

      Somone lie on eBay???Nooo.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Try, try and try again. Ended: Dec 26, 2017 , 6:30PM
      Starting bid:US $4,000.00
      [ 0 bids ] And relisted again for buy it now at 9K. Still no topless photos. A nice looking Cat, but what I have learned here over the years is that these are a real pile.

      • Darel

        …says someone who’s obviously never owned or worked on one…

        Just once, I’d like to see an ad for an XJ-S that isn’t peppered by ignorant re-posts of uninformed crap read elsewhere on the internet.

        Like 1
    • Matt

      Here’s a heads up for you. Yes it was listed a couple times on ebay, as it was the first time being listed for sale and didn’t know how to use ebay for auto listings. The plates are from 2010ish because the car had personalized plates of my grandma’s name. I am the owner and my grandma has passed. This car has NO RUST as it was garaged in Palm Desert for most of it’s history.
      The repair prices are high because I didn’t wrench on the car myself. Inboard rear brakes, suspension, rag top, dash lighting, and other minor things were redone
      I did receive a couple of bids that I thought were too low at the time and pulled the listing, as it wasn’t worth my time.
      However, my schedule has cleared for the moment and I have time to facilitate a transaction, so it has been relisted on Craigslist.

      … and the engine is in Great condition. I also have the original sticker from the Dealer.

      If you have any questions, as opposed to cynical speculation, I’d be happy to help out.

      Like 1
    • Matt

      the 13k in repairs is total repairs not just suspension. I didn’t realize the typo in the original ebay add. That would worry me too. Isn’t transparency a good thing?

      I’m the owner, if you have questions as opposed to reckless write-ups. Ask.

      Like 1
  2. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    What’s spark plug set labor pay ? 8 hrs ? I’m out.

    • Darel

      It takes maybe 2 hours to change plugs, less if the factory tool for getting to #1 is still present in the toolkit. You just unbolt the A/C compressor and move it up out of the way.

      And why does anyone PAY someone to change spark plugs on a classic car? Why are you in this hobby then? Get your manicured nails dirty!

      These cars are far from the nightmare the internet would have you believe.

  3. 8banger dave Member

    8 hours? Holey-shamolie!

    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      If I remember the last 2 is the money, Dave.

  4. JB Dunne

    Only about 5k XJ-SC worldwide, most non v12. US export: 500 of the v12 in ’87, 815 or so in ’88. Rare car in the USA! I have one of the first ’87s. Orig 1 family owner W/45k miles.

  5. Pete

    I wonder if anyone has managed to figure out how to strip off all that extra hoses and vacuum lines on these engines so they could really run better. If that is the case then it might be fun to drop the engine in a later model jag Vert. Then you would have something really fun.

  6. Del

    Needs a Museum 🤣

  7. andrew bland

    I have a convertible v12 and it all comes down to maintenance. These are reliable cars and actually not too hard to work on. You need patience and diagnostics are more difficult than on modern cars. The connectors can be a bit tricky as they are rather old fashioned. As long as you fix things as they need attention they are reliable. Get a good manual and read carefully beforehand. The engine is tough and reliable and the tranny is from the General and legendary. By the way I really cannot warm up to the Targa style roof. I actually like the coupe best although I have a convertible.

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