THE XJ-S WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY BE JAGUAR'S LONGEST RUNNING production car ever. It improved with age between 1975 and 1996 to the point where original examples of the first and last variants in particular are very highly collectable.
There were two major players in making the XJ-S the success it became after what was a hesitant start in life - Sir John Egan, Jaguar's then CEO and rescuer, plus Tom Walkinshaw who put it on the map as a winning race car though his TWR team. TWR created 'TWR Sport' in 1984 to produce modified versions of the XJ-S. Designated XJR-S, the cars benefited from the racing experience in European Touring Cars, featuring improved aerodynamics; up-rated suspension and brakes; tuned engine and other detail changes. The success of TWR Sport led to the formalising of a joint venture in 1988 called 'JaguarSport'. TWR and Jaguar Cars were equal partners in the new JaguarSport venture, and created special versions of production cars, the XJ-S in particular in the vein of Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's 'M' models.
A JaguarSport XJR-S was highly prized from the outset. Few were built, but with the TWR name attached to the machines their status went through the roof. Befitting the XJ-S grand touring luxury image, all XJR-S models had automatic transmissions, and retained all the walnut veneer a forest could muster.
Each XJR-S variation had a special body kit and unique wheel design, as well as blackedout sport bumpers front and rear. The first official XJR-S had the 5.3 litre HE (High Efficiency) V12 engine. Jaguar swapped it for the 6.0 litre V12 in 1989, as did JaguarSport. With a different engine management system and increased capacity, the XJR-S now had claimed an increase in top speed too, a whopping 254 kph or 158 mph.
We have been fortunate to have access to the official JaguarSport and Jaguar Cars production data, and between 1988 and 1989 326 XJR-Ss were manufactured with the 5.3 litre engine. After September 1989 the change was made to the 6.0 litre engine with a TWR's race-type Zytek engine management system installed. This was different from the standard 6.0 litre engine. The XJR-S stayed in the line-up until 1993 with 837 Coupés created. Of the 6.0 litre Coupés, just 87 were manufactured in 1989, 122 in 1990, 65 in 1991, 249 for 1992 and just 23 in the final year - the car in question is one of those 23!
But what else is there about the XJR-S featured here?
There is very little doubt it is the finest most original XJR-S in existence - and a very rare Faceliftsix litre version to boot! It was sold new to a canny, very private Japanese enthusiast who included it in his fabulous collection of rare exotic machinery. Over 23 years it has been driven less than 7500 kilometres! It is now in Australia having been pried out of Japan by Jordan Roddy. The first owner told Jordan it was very difficult to sell because he prized it like one of his children. It was built to personal specifications by JaguarSport in Bloxham.
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