Old Dude’s Car: 1988 Jaguar XJ/SC

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Sometimes, the best part about a listing of a car for sale is the seller’s personality peaking through. In this case, he is not a fan of text messages because he is an “old dude” and “hates text messages”, a sentiment that I can respect even as a “somewhat young dude.” Anyhow, he has a rare Jaguar XJ/SC up for grabs here on craigslist as part of a wind-down of a collection he no longer has room for. 

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The seller is right to point out the cleverness of this packaging. You can either use these Jags as a conventional targa roof car; leave it in place to mimic a hardtop coupe; or utilize the soft-top feature behind the B-pillar to fold the roof into the trunk and have an open air experience behind your ears. Remove the targa top for maximum convertible-“ness.”

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This Jaguar did see some use in its day, collecting over 85,000 miles. Still, the interior is holding up well and I don’t see any cause for alarm aside from the driver’s seat beginning to deteriorate a bit; perhaps the foam needs replacing. As it seems like this owner is quite passionate about Jags of this era, I’d cautiously assume it was maintained correctly while in his care.

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This XJ-SC was produced in the short window of time Jaguar offered the unique model with a V12. While everyone likes the sound and looks of a 12-cylinder, these can be nightmares to maintain even under the best circumstances. This is a neat piece of Jaguar history, but a thorough investigation into the maintenance history is a must. I didn’t see a price listed, so a phone call (remember, no text messages) is needed for more information.

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Comments

  1. Tirefriar

    No mention of the the price but judging from the ad reference, the seller is looking for $9500. According to Hagerty #3 cars are in good driving condition so I’d assume that being the case here and if so, it’s a very fair price for a limited production European GT.

    The red flag for me is that the seller is letting it go as he has no space to work on it… The V12 engines are good engines and will run fine with proper maintainence. The problem is they require a LOT of maintenance which gets rather pricey. I worked at a Jag dealership years ago and even managed to own one. The joke with the V12 was that if it didn’t have oil spots under the motor, it’s because there isn’t any oil in the engine…

  2. dj

    Very nice looking example of the XJSC. I’ve owned several of these cars and they are great automobiles. They do tend to be tempermental and each has it’s own quirks. As Tirefriar stated, they require maintenance and it’s costly if you cannot do it yourself. I always thought the joke about oil spots was with Land Rovers. Or at least all the ones I’ve had. LOL

  3. Capt Doug

    An interesting car and uncommon Jaguar model variation that I have never seen before. I did not find a telephone # to call in the ad – so ‘old dude’ should have no worries about texting. It is a month old ad – I wonder if it was sold.

    • Jumping g

      If you hit reply on the top left corner the phone number is there.

      • Capt Doug

        @ Jumping g
        Thanks – appreciate your help

  4. alan

    A Jaguar Baur cabriolet.

  5. S Ryan

    Oil comment is great. I have also gone by the blue puff of smoke at start up to know it still had oil in. Pretty universal on old cars.

  6. Ikey Heyman

    JAG = Just Another Grand

    • Oingo

      you have my vote for the win today.

  7. Bruce Best

    My parents owned an 73 chrome bumped XJ-12 which had the same engine and we only had one part every give us a problem. If you look close there is a rubber water line about 2″ long between the cylinder banks and when it breaks because nobody will replace it unless they really have to you will have at least a 3 hour job getting it out because almost everything is in the way.

    Not difficult but horribly time consuming. A friend of mine has one in a V-12 that he massaged with a higher compression pistons and rods as well as webber carbs and proper intakes and he was easily getting 400 to 450 horsepower. The original engine is very under stressed and is capable of producing enough power to scare you.

    The earlier comments are very accurate, maintain it properly and you will have a very reliable and somewhat thirsty car that is turbine smooth.

  8. duke

    the euro cars offered a manual transmission as well—the 6 cylinder was more reliable-however if you were to keep up with the regular maintenance of the double 6 these engines are just amazing

  9. Conor Neupert

    Hi. Guys. I actually saw this car a few months ago. I believe the mans name was Greg and he was probably late 60s or 70s. He had a collection of cars that he was trying to sell. 3 1986, I believe, jaguar saloons and a 1979 mercedes Benz 280se coupe that I went to go see. He was telling me how he has never owned a new car in his life and was trying to sell all of his cars so he could but a brand spanking new one. He had the cars listed for around 2 months and sold all three (2 jags and a mercedes) for around 3500. He also had an early 90s explorer and another truck I can’t recall. He said that the first thing he does with these English (Lucas Electric) cars is replace the electrics which are well known to not be reliable and replace them with new electrics. And said that after that the cars are great and reliable. The guy had a great sense of humor with makes it hard to tell if he is being sly or telling you how it is. He lives 1 hr out of Boise in a small single story house with a large driveway and a 2 car carport and a 2 car garage that he used as a shop.

    Hope it helps

    Conor

  10. the gezzer

    Old car dudes rule! (And young car dudes too)

  11. bob

    as a friend of mine that owned one told me-great car, if you want one you have to buy two- one is always in the shop.

  12. Dennis M

    I had a 1985 XJS-HE, followed by a 1990 “Special Edition”, both standard coupe bodies. Delightful high speed tourers and a joy to drive. No car I ever drove would settle down and feel so solid as you as the speedo rolled past 100 and kept on climbing!

    Between the two of them I probably drove a V12 XJS as a daily driver for 10 years. Never a mechanical issue with lighter of them!

  13. JD

    XJ_SC is a rare cat! Something like 500 produced in 1987 and 1000 in 1988.
    I have a 1987 with 45k orig. miles! Insane smooth GT car!

  14. Zaphod

    I’ve worked on Jags for over 30 years. The V12 is the most trouble free engine they produced. I’ve had them start and run perfectly from 20 years of storage. They are not finicky, tempremental or fragile. Mercedes engineers claimed it was the best engine designed in the 20 the century. Simple, robust, powerful.
    The XJS/C is a horror. Low production was due to no one wanting it. The problem was not mechanical it was the lousy “targa” top that leaked and squeaked. No rear seat, plus no trunk with the top down. You can get a coupe for $2500 and have a great car, or a convertible and have the sun. An XJS/C is a sorry beast.

  15. Eric Dashman

    I have to agree with Zaphod. The XJS/C is not highly valued. I’ve seen several in my area of NC that were offered for $2500 or less. I don’t think that they’re as attractive either the convertible or the coupe. I had the opportunity to buy one for less than a grand a couple of years ago from a guy living in the mountains north of Charlotte. He had 6 or 7 XJS models, all in various states of disrepair/parts removal and I bought a bunch of stuff from at great prices. He was a very nice guy kind of down on his luck a bit and about a year ago I saw a CL ad trying to sell a bunch of XJS kit/cars/etc. and I’m pretty sure it was him doing so. His phone number no longer works.
    I have a 1990 XJS convertible with about 78K on it that I bought from a guy in Wake Forest 4 years ago. BRG with biscuit interior and top. He bought it for his wife (a Mormon and he a Catholic). She decided that she couldn’t get to heaven if she wasn’t married to a Mormon, divorced him and moved back to Utah…at least that’s his story, and he sold me the car for $4K (after a year of ads that started at $5K firm). The positive comments about the V12 engine are spot on. It’s incredibly smooth and I’ve had no problems with it to speak of. Of course, it drips a bit of oil…that’s a genetic problem, as well as with the rear main seal. At speed it handles like a dream. Thirsty….my trucks drink less than the XJS (premium gas too). There are lots of annoying little problems with it, and some larger ones too. I had to rebuild the steering rack and power steering pump. I failed and sent it to Maval Manufacturing in Ohio (they had very graciously advised me on the process after I bought the kit from Welsh) and after replacing the hoses as well, it’s been perfect. The quarter window motors worked intermittently and I eventually had to replace the brushes on them to get them to work consistently. Radiator leaked and needed repair. Still have to get the cruise control to work and am taking to a specialist to get it properly aligned after the steering rack and neoprene bushing replacements. I love driving it and while it’s not and is never going to be perfect, I’m keeping it. I’d like to get an XK8 to go with it in the garage….there’s one in Winston-Salem that has me drooling :-)

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