Two for One: Jaguar XJS Coupe & Convertible

Finding a pair of projects is usually cause for alarm, as sellers tend not to let good cars go cheaply. But in this instance, I think there’s some fair value to be gained by taking on this Jaguar XJS convertible and coupe, as the seller makes a strong case for the desirable parts they came from the factory with. Find the pair here on eBay with a $500 opening bid. 

First up is the red convertible. This example is said to have suffered from a small fire under the hood. It is one of the 1988 model year’s “Limited Edition” models, which may have some value to a collector. The engine fire resulted in the Jag being slapped with a “Rebuilder” title, so future resale potential is limited. Still, the body is nice and the engine is said to just need a harness to run reliably.

The coupe is definitely the more appealing of the pair, and I dig the Euro-spec glass headlights seen here. The body looks decent and the seller says both cars have minimal rust. The coupe’s main ailment is also harness related, and the seller claims to have a new one that needs to be wired in. This car also has a rebuilt transmission and only 57,000 miles. To me, this one has strong potential as a SBC swap candidate.

This is the interior of the coupe, but the convertible also looks quite decent. The seller points out that the rear ends and transmissions are quite desirable, and the original 12-cylinder motors sometimes have second lives as boat engines (I won’t blame you if the thought of a boat anchor entered your train of thought). Depending on the reserve, both of these could be reborn with V8 power, or parted out to the highest bidder. What would you do with this pair of XJSs?


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  1. Van

    I’m not sure if using the term limited addition means anything on an XJS, unless it is a Lister or wakinshaw. I do like the convertible, so maybe put the best parts on it and build a TWR restomod from the coup.

  2. Dan

    Best solution is to restore them both, and then lose money.

  3. Coventrycat

    Most people sell them in pairs because no one wants to keeps a parts car.

  4. Jay M

    Small engine fire?
    That’s like someone being a little bit pregnant.
    Or a mild case of Herpes…

  5. Maestro1 Member

    Boy this is tough but I would buy the cars, fix the convertible, put V-8 engines in them and rely on someone like John’s Jaguars in Texas for advice and parts. If you love these cars you’ll have a great time.

  6. Alan

    Wire harness fire,,, great, 2 must be better. Will the English ever learn to simplify wiring?

  7. Harry

    That convertible is not made by Jaguar, it is Lynx-convertible. It is rare, but not factory-made. What is with you Americans and those V8 engines?

    • Chas Gould

      It is not all of us Americans! These SBC swap advocates drive me just as crazy as they drive you. Sure the original Jaguar 12 cylinder is temperamental and needs proper care and feeding, but what a delightful engine it is when it is properly sorted. The installation of a SBC ruins the whole car for me, charm, character, value and performance as it throws the balance of the chassis all out of whack. The conversion is not easy and the reason why they are easier to maintain is because the SBC engine is a sterile, overpowered lump that has no character other than raw horsepower, no finesse, no personality.
      People that do not understand the character and purpose of these cars just crave to throw something familiar into them out of fear, instead of trying to learn about something unfamiliar. I can assure you that sorting a decent original Jaguar engine is less work that the SBC conversion, and an SBC conversion will not make the wiring harness issues any easier to solve!

    • GOPAR

      Well, Harry, we like the power, the torque, the sound, the reliability, the parts availability, the simplicity, etc., etc. That’s why we Americans like those V8 engines. Why, just today I took my 65 Plymouth Belvedere 383 4-speed out for a rowdy little drive and experienced neither an engine compartment fire nor a transmission failure.

    • HeadMaster1

      Harry, think of an American V8 as an old Triumph 1200…..It can fit in anything, cost nothing, and can be fixed with a hammer……Big difference is that the V8 sounds wonderful and can be as powerful as your wallet desires :-)

    • Steve

      This appears to be a convertible made by Hess & Eisenhardt under contract from Jaguar. I believe that the Lynx was a 3-door shooting brake (love those curious English terms!).

    • Kevin

      I hear ya Harry. I worked at a JAG YOU ARE franchise back in the day, just like any car on the road they had their problems from time to time, but that was it there were never any major recurring issues. When one came in with some fault that we hadn’t come across before it got repaired and that was it, job done. We didn’t highlight that issue because we never saw that fault again. Like the one I read about on here one time. Every time he operated the electric windows the engine cutout? As much as I try to visualise the circuit diagram I cannot see that ever happening, however stranger things. My point is, it’s just something that happened to that particular car they didn’t all have that problem, get it sorted and move on. Jaguars are complex vehicles and if you don’t have the correct diagnostic equipment you should leave well alone. Who in their right mind would want to remove the V12 and replace it with some prehistoric V8 they found in a scrap yard? Here endeth the rant.

  8. David Miraglia

    As they used to say about the XJS. It’s an animal to maintain. But still like them after all these years.

  9. Jonathan Q Higgins

    When they came out they said you had to buy a pair as one was always in the shop

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Ah, the old “12/12 Warranty”. 12 feet or 12 seconds….whichever comes first!

  10. Francisco

    Three way Lucas light switch: off, dim, flicker.

  11. Christin Lagerquist

    I can understand the whole engine fire thing I picked up a low milage 84 xjs HE from a lien sale for $700 the stack of repair bills for over $6000 without including the recent paint job. The previous owner had died while the car was in the shop. I figured I could drive the car the 100 miles home from where I bought it well at 80 miles the radiator bypass hose popped no biggie $10 worth of hose from Napa fixed that and an hour later I was back on the road but then it didn’t like climbing a grade I think the temp gauge wasn’t working so I pulled over at the first rest stop and came back with a trailer 20 miles from home well when I tried to start the car the fuel injector started spraying a stream of fuel on to the distributor I stopped trying to start the car at that point but the pin hole leak in the fuel line didn’t stop spraying until all the pressure in the fuel system was gone. Who does this stuff a rubber hose off the metal fuel rail? Apparently the British do and that’s why they don’t make cars anymore. I bought a corvette motor and transmission and fixed the nice jag for less than$1000 and now it’s reliable and dependable. I now understand why everyone pulled those motors and put in small block Chevy’s. The 12cyl is a great motor but all the things that make it work are a nightmare to deal with British electrical has got to be the worst

  12. SAM61

    I think this generation of Jags have great bad ass stance and presence.

    I totally agree with the sbc swap, crate motor, any vette LT or even a Briggs and Stratton mower motor.

    You’ll have more time to drive and money to spend on paint and leather.

    A friend of mine owned a triple black convertble with wire knockoffs….stunning car.

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