XJS Model History - A Rough Guide
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XJ-S Pre HE - 1975
All of the first production cars built lacked exterior chromework and any woodwork to the interior, making them look very bland indeed. Prototype/press cars were built under the "N" registration suffix, but all cars that were made available to the public were "P" registered onwards. Power came from a 5.3 ltr V12 engine with either a manual or automatic gearbox. Very few manual cars were produced making them probably the rarest of all production XJ-S's.
XJS Celebration 4.0 1994
By 1994, the XK8 had been announced to the public, and what a beautiful car it looked. Jaguar were extremely worried about the number of XJS cars that would be in stock when the XK8 was put on sale. So the last of the XJS models were called Celebrations, alledgedly built to celebrate Jaguar's 75th birthday. All these models were fitted with 4 ltr engines (6 ltr V12's were only special order by this time), revised interiors with lots more toys, diamond cut wheels and galvanized bodywork.
XJ27 - 1965/6
Designed by Malcolm Sayer, this was the first true format of the XJ-S (pre-production name XK-F) was to take. The familiar "Flying Buttresses" were in situ as was the back end, but the rest of the car looked very bleak indeed. Note the chrome bumpers and twin headlights, which would later make an appearance on all models and US bound cars respectively. Power was either by the Daimler 2.5 V8, Jaguar 3.0 V8 or 5.3 V12 engines. We all know which one triumphed (no pun intended).
The Special Cars
During the production run of the XJS, Lynx bodyworks took on the task of converting existing customer's cars to differing body styles. There was a convertible which, to be honest was not that sytlish with the hood up, the Performer which was but looked as if it had been fitted with a body kit and the more popular but very expensive Eventer, which made the XJS into an all purpose estate car - many have asked why Jaguar never considered doing this themselves!
Jaguar Lister XJS 1980's
The first Jaguar Lister XJS's were built by the company BLE Automotive in Erdington, Birmingham in the early 1980s until the Lister brand was passed on to WP Automotive of Leatherhead . In 1991, they fitted the 7.0 L (6996 cc/427 in³) version of the Jaguar V12 engine, with a 94 mm (3.7 in) bore and 84 mm (3.3 in) stroke, into a modified Jaguar XJS, which was rebadged Lister Le Mans. This engine officially produced 407.2 kW (546 hp) and 786.37 N·m (580 lb·ft).
Bertone Ascot 1977
The Italian styling house Bertone, presented a Jaguar proposal in 1977. The Ascot was based on the Jaguar XJ-S, and borrowed heavily from the style of Bertone Ferrari-based 308GT Rainbow from the previous year. Thankfully the design was not adopted as it would not have looked out of place in the science fiction series "Space 1999"