Stunning 1990 model Jaguar Sport “TWR” XJS V12 Convertible For Sale

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XJS Convertible
Item Location: 
Worcestershire Nr M5, United Kingdom
Drive Side: 
Right-hand drive
Interior/Comfort Options: 
Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Electric heated seats, Leather Seats, Power-assisted Steering (PAS), Power Windows, Tilt Steering Wheel
Engine Size: 
Safety Features: 
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)
MOT Expiry: 

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Description Stunning 1990 model Jaguar Sport “TWR” XJS V12 Convertible

Reluctant and Unexpected sale (This was a car I was
going to keep!)
Stunning 1990 model JaguarSport “TWR” XJS
If your looking for an absolutely
superb original XJS Convertible, (rather than a collection of rust with a
respray) then read on (warning its very long) otherwise I suggest you just add
it to your watch list and save the time.
OH one comment to save the
questions, I have the Registration Number (B16 VXJ) “BIG V XJ” on retention with the intention of putting it on if the
car goes for the right price.
Quick Overview
Ok to save you reading for
ages if not seriously interested.
Stunning XJS V12
convertible, Absolutely NO Rot, Original Westminster blue paint, mechanically very
good, Factory replacement engine less than 60K, Original Hood, Interior refurbished
with new carpets and all original leather restored, all electrics working, not
a concours 10 but very close in my opinion, and way better than most that I
have seen. Looking for best offer around mid teens, may consider smaller (i.e.
shorter “main reason for having to sell”) unfinished classic project in px, but
not looking for a box of bits or a welding project!
Any questions give me a call
on 01684 593460, but I’ll be a bit annoyed if the answer is below and you just
couldn’t be bothered to read.
/exit here for the non serious
OK if your still here your
in for a long read (maybe get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine before
starting), and also there are many many pictures of all the areas you should be
interested in at
which will keep you occupied for a fair while.
Firstly in my opinion (and a
few others) this is probably now one of the best unrestored XJS Convertibles
around, and about as close as your likely to get to finding out what is was
like to sit in a brand new XJS.
If you know exactly what to
look for in an XJS then what follows and all the pictures should answer most of
your questions. If you don’t then they should help you know what and where to
look for when buying one.
I have owned and restored my
own classic cars for 40 years, and I guess like many I always had the desire at
sometime to get a convertible E-Type, however a couple of years ago I realised
that even the worst basket case was fetching more than I would be able to
afford, and whilst the E-Type is gorgeous to look at, its not exactly the most
refined of drives. So I decided that if I wanted a Grand Tourer Classic that
the convertible XJS was next in line in the desirable stakes, and way better as
a driver. Had to be a convertible as if you’re going to the effort of keeping a
classic for those special days, you may as well really enjoy motoring as it
should be!
So I set about looking for
the right car, which took longer and proved more difficult than I thought it
would be. OK I’m a bit picky and whilst I don’t mind putting a lot of work into
my cars, I wasn’t looking for a complete rebuild/restoration job, or something
that already had a tarty respray so that it looked good, but might reveal a
bunch of unknown horrors in the future. 
I was looking for something complete, original, rot free (not an XJS
strong point) and preferably pre facelift as some of the spares for the
facelift (91 on) are either unobtainable or eye watering expensive (just go try
and buy something like a rear light lens for a facelift and you will see what I
mean). At least the pre facelift convertible shares most common parts with the
less desirable coupe of which there are many hundreds in the specialist
breakers (and more being added all the time) so most XJS spares are actually
not expensive.
Apart from the rubbish I was
surprised how few and far between good convertibles were, I guess people with
good ones could already see that they were starting to appreciate quite fast
and having already found one were holding on to it. But it wasn’t until I
looked at the “Howmanyleft” resource that I found out the main reason, Right
Hand Drive versions are already scarcer than E-Types (of which at Jan 2015
there were about 6000 licenced or SORN’d in the UK), by comparison for the 5.3
XJS at the same date there were only 1500 SORN’d and 511 Licenced, and as that
also includes the far more numerous Coupe there is a very small gene pool of RHD XJS convertibles out there.
Anyway eventually an acquaintance
spotted a possible. I almost didn’t go for it, it had a few more miles on it than
I might of liked “121K”, but was far less concerned when I found out it had a documented
Factory Replacement engine at 61K (due to a servicing error “more on that
below”) so a V12 engine with only 60K miles is good for at least another
100K.  It had a couple more previous
keepers than ideal “6” but when I found out the last two had been a father who
owned and obviously cherished it between 
mid 1997 and early 2014 “17 years”, his son who had it registered for 6
months whilst it appears unfortunately disposing of the estate, and finally the
dealer? who had recently bought it from the estate. So a car with not many real
owners and one solid one right at the critical time in a cars life looking
after it and putting on less than 4k miles in those 17 years. The other reason
I almost didn’t get it “Those TWR
Jaguarsport Panels”.   It’s not that I
don’t like them (well to be honest the bright silver they were in was a bit off
putting, made it look like a large tart in a mini skirt), I was just frightened
about what might be under them, and as the “dealer” didn’t know, but said it
appeared solid everywhere else, but anyway as everything else I could inspect looked
good I took a chance and bought it.
What have we got?
With the car and a huge pile
of documentation back at home, time to find out.
The Cars history.
Fortunately the car came
with all original handbooks, service record, and a load of past MOT data and various correspondence and invoices back to the mid 90’s, and
of course the DVLA these days are also helpful in supplying copies of their
records back to first registration.
The car was supplied by
Hadley Green Garage in Essex and first registered as G800 UVS on 23/10/89. The car was supplied to a company, the first
registered keeper being the company secretary. 
At this time the car had the registration number SS 152 transferred to
it. Over the next 3 years the car was serviced by Hadley Green at 705, 7176,
12053, 17119 and 21951 miles.
In August 1992 the SS 152
plate was transferred and the replacement mark G588 GFX was issued. It appears that the car was part exchanged at Hexagon
Higate, who serviced the car at 27408 in Feb 93, which is the date of transfer
to the second registered keeper who lived in Teddington, who retained the car
until October 93.
The car was then registered
to a third keeper a company director in York on 23/10/93 @ 33353 miles (from this point on there is copious repair/receipt
history for the car) It was serviced by Appleyard Rippon at 43710 17/2/94 and
50679 12/5/94.  Shortly after this from
October 94 there is a huge amount of correspondence between the Keeper,
Appleyards, Jaguar Cars, Independent Engineers and Invoices for over £7,000
plus a bunch of solicitor references.  It
appears that the engine has seized at 61K miles due to a coolant loss. Picking
through the paperwork I think the keeper blamed Appleyard’s for bad workmanship
or some such, with the counter claim that the keeper should have kept an eye on
the temperature gauge. Anyway the issue was settled (if not amicably) with the
car being fitted with a factory replacement engine and just about every cooling
system, air con, and a host of other parts, the Invoices from Appleyards on
24/11/94 run to four A4 pages for eye watering amounts.  From the paperwork I’m not sure who finally
paid who what or when, but at 61k miles the car had new engine and cooling
From that point onwards the
keeper switched dealers and  used SM
Auto’s in Pickering to service the car at 71129 17/2/95, 79025 24/5/95, 89419
3/10/95, 97119 ?/?/? and 103063 14/2/96.
So after 3 years “up north”
in September 96 the car returned south to its forth keeper in Orpington,  At this point the car had a Clifford  FALCON II remote alarm fitted, and was MOT’d at 116469 on 20/3/97.
In June 97, the car was
fettled by Station Garage Great Missenden at 117827 miles, and sold to whom I
regard as the cars Guardian Angel a Mr Stilwell in Croydon who remained the
keeper for the next 17 years until 2014, who from the MOT record seems to have put on an average few hundred miles a year. The
rest they say is recent history.
Cars Condition on Arrival
Very very straight, original
Westminster Blue paintwork, TWR panels had
obviously been blown over in silver at some point in-situ. Interior woodwork
original and in stunning condition, leather complete, a few scratches and scuff
marks and had odd patches of recolouring to hide marks etc. Carpets worn about
the right amount for age/mileage but looking a bit scruffy and tired, and in
that awful Jaguar Sand colour that should have been called Dirty Mud as they
stain and mark every time you get in and out.  Hood & Trim as good as it gets. All in
all, not bad.
Pretty is one thing,
mechanical condition is far more important. Fortunately at my age one has
collected acquaintances, and one just happens to be an ex Jaguar senior
engineer from the correct period, who now owns a local garage. So around there
and get it up on the ramps for a master class in XJS engineering. Lets just say
he was impressed by the condition and said he had never seen such a solid XJS.
Much debate if it had had a new front subframe at some point as it was so good,
but conclusion from condition of everything else and the factory stickers still
on it was that it was original.  Car had
obviously been undersealed from new, which was still in good condition, and yes
it had obviously spent most of its life cosseted in the dry. Everywhere there
should be rust on an XJS this age it was solid. Front brakes sticking and
pulling, rears exceptionally good with almost new pads (a 2011 MOT fail on rear brakes and pads seems to indicate that they were replaced
then). Steve was suspicious of front top wishbone bushes saying that they are
nearly always shot as most MOT stations
didn’t have a clue how to test them (he was correct). But anyway conclusion was
I should be very happy as it was better than any he had seen.
What to do?
I always find the difficult
decision with a car is what to do, how far to go. Did I just fix the obvious,
use it and slowly correct things, or did I go to town and get it exactly as I
wanted it.  A few things led to the
latter. I hated the Bright Silver of the TWR panels, and I also wanted to find out what was underneath them, the
slightly tatty mud carpets spoiled the ambiance, and there were the usual odd
switches and electrical things on a Jaguar of that age that didn’t work
properly.  Replacing the carpets would
mean a complete interior strip, but how far to go with the paintwork. Round to
the bodyshop I have always used to see what we had. Yes TWR panels had been blown over in Silver and not that well as the paint
wasn’t really keyed. The Westminster Blue on the other hand was exceptionally
good!  The conclusion was that this was
the original paint job, it had never had any repairs or sections resprayed and
apart from a few micro pin pricks in the lacquer and couple of tiny spots that
had been carefully sorted in the past, that is was absolutely sound. Their
advice was sort the Silver properly, but leave the Westminster Blue alone as a
few days prep, compounding and polishing would have it looking stunning, and a
classic car resprayed with a modern low bake always has that mutton dressed as
lamb look.  So it was agreed that the
interior would be stripped, TWR panels
removed and car and panels returned to have the silver stripped and resprayed.
Underneath those Panels
It was with  a bit of trepidation the panels were removed
as they covered the places that XJS’s can really rot, but as the panels came
off (not an easy job as Jaguar loved using mild steel fixings in places exposed
to the wet!) the more delighted I was, great paint and  zero rot and only the smallest traces of
surface rust in a few odd places. You will find a folder “Underneath the
covers” of pictures of what was exposed at
What we did discover was that the TWR panels had originally been in Westminster Blue from new (the silver was
a later aberration), and that the car showed no traces of ever having been
fitted with chrome bumpers. It’s a bit difficult with an XJS from this period
to know if it’s a genuine Jaguarsport/TWR model from the factory, or if things were retro fitted afterwards. Also
this is exactly the time that instead of building the cars in the factory and
then sending them to TWR to be stripped and enhanced, many of the Jaguarsport
options were added in the factory. From the revealed evidence under the panels
and a few of the other Jaguarsport features the conclusion is that this car was
fitted with the panels in Westminster Blue from new.  Anyway if you want to know what’s under the
panels now take a look at the photos and be assured that any minor blemish you
see was corrected before the panels went back, (including the bits of silver
overspray, which whilst nobody unless you were running them over would ever
have seen, annoyed me!, hate people doing a sloppy job).
The rest of the strip down.
As the carpets were going to
be changed, I decided that a Royal Blue would go well with the Westminster Blue
and Cream/Magnolia leather. But anyway if your going for a carpet colour change
it’s a complete interior strip, and if most of the interior was coming out we
may as well take it all out and refurbish all the trim at the same time.  Again at
 you will find a folder of photo’s of
what we found as we stripped everything off. Some of them you won’t recognise
unless you really know an XJS inside out, and are all the obscure places that
we expected to find rust and rot but didn’t (except on the smallest scale
possible). One has to remember that in the 80’s Jaguar’s approach to rust
prevention was to try and sell as many as possible to dry states in the USA, rather than waste any paint spraying into cavities
in the body shell. So it was again an appreciation of how well this car had
been cared for in its life that everything was so good. Even the front
footwells had their original sound deadening strips and mats, which being Jaguar
they decided that foam based items would be a great idea to have in a wet feet
area to promote corrosion as fast as possible. Most of the marks you see on the
front floor pans (apart from areas where they couldn’t even be bothered to
spray top coat over the light blue primer, those boys were good eh!) are
actually glue marks.  Anyway as you can
see from the pictures what we found inside B posts, floor cavities, wing
cavities, door cavities, under the acres of glued carpet and underfelt was all
amazingly good, with the odd sign especially inside the wheel arch splash covers
that someone had been in there before to help keep the rust moth away. Needless
to say in most of these areas all we had to do was clean out 25 years
accumulated dust, and give the odd patch of surface rust a coat of Vactan.  Enjoy the pictures if you want to get up-close
but not dirty with an XJS.  
Off to the paint shop
The TWR panels were all good no cracks or crazing, with just a few scuff marks
on the lower front valance. They obviously had a number of minor scrapes and
scuffs from 25 years next to the road, but would clean up nicely. The question
was what colour?
I did consider returning it
all to Westminster Blue, but decided not for two reasons; 1 it might make the
whole car look too fat and thick in a solid colour, and 2 given that the bottom
half of the sides also had to be sprayed, there was no way that the colour
match with the original Westminster Blue above would look correct. So in the
end wishing to keep the effect but tone it down, I opted for a correct 1990
Jaguar colour of Savoy Grey. That way it could always have been ordered with
that colour combination at the time, and it can be rematched in the future if
Also decided to have the set
of 5 Speedline wheels refurbished, and have them colour matched in Savoy Grey
as well.
And yes the original
Westminster Blue, with a fair amount of effort came up looking wonderful and
deep with a mirror like finish, you can see your face in them, or rather you
could see mine in one of the pictures if it wasn’t obscured by the camera. If
being very picky there is the odd blemish in the paint (which I will personally
show you when you view, as you probably won’t spot them) but way way less than
people mean when they say “age related”
I think the overall effect
has been whilst still impressive head on, has been to tone down the bling
effect and give it a rather cultured suave gentleman’s express look.  Certainly it has been fun a couple of times
on the Motorway when testing to come up behind someone, see them look in their
mirror and then quickly move over!
Having decided on Royal Blue
for the carpets, where to source them? 
Now don’t get me wrong I’m sure there are excellent coach trimmers in
the UK who would have done a stunning job, but the only companies I could find
advertising “Full” XJS carpets sets either didn’t do “every single” piece, were
very slow sending any samples, were quoting very long lead times, and it was
especially disappointing that as the Convertible has a lot of carpet sections
with cut and bonded felt backing, they suggested that if I wanted felt backing
they could supply a roll of felt and I could sort it myself. Also the carpet
samples felt a bit cheap and flimsy.  A
friend recommended a company in Belgium that specialises in classic car carpets. I contacted
them, Yes they had done XJS Coupes, but not a Convertible, could I email some
pictures. Gave me a quote within two days and sent superb carpet samples same
day.  Would they do all the correct
bonded felt backings?  Yes. Would I like
proper Jaguar Heel Mat? Yes well they are included.  Just to make sure everything would be perfect
we agreed that I would send all the original carpets, even the bits you can’t
see behind the hood lining and inside the cubby box.  3 weeks later a huge box arrived of all the
old carpets and all the new ones perfect in every detail. Still a huge amount
of work refitting a complete carpet set which includes completely disassembling
the cubby box behind the seats to do it, but I think the overall effect was
worth it, it now does feel luxurious sat in there.
Interior Trim
The magnolia trim in an XJS
is a mixture of Vinyl and Leather, i.e. if they could get away with it they
went Vinyl, but anywhere you were likely to stroke/touch they did in Leather,
and actually very good leather.  Fortunately
the leather in the car was complete with no rips or tears and no broken
stitching, but as with any 25 year old car it was dry, had ingrained dirt, was
a bit creased and had the odd scuff mark. The worst part was that someone in
the recent past (I have my suspicions) had tried to hide some of the dirt and
creases by dabbing it with one of the proprietary leather restorers. The main
problems with these are that they are never the correct colour (regardless of
what the manufacturer claims) and all you end up doing is trapping the
ingrained dirt between the old leather finish and the new colour, so whilst
maybe in pictures taken from a few meters away everything looks good, when you
get up close it tends to look horrible.  All
the Vinyl was relatively easy to clean and fortunately living near Malvern I
have an acquaintance who restores Morgan interiors, and got him to come and
take a look and advise the correct course of action.  He pronounced that the original leather was
good and suitable for restoration, but that it was a lot of work to do it
properly and would be expensive if I sent it out, but that if I was prepared to
do all the donkey work he would assist for a quid pro quo exchange of
services.  A small leather sample was
taken and sent of to the leather finish manufacturers, he said always send a
sample and pay the extra for colour matching as even though year on year Jaguar
used the same colour code, the shade did change, and the formula the
manufacturers had may well be a good match for another Jaguars Magnolia AEM, it might not be for another. In fact being a picky sod when he did the
first test piece with the supplied finish, he rejected it and we returned it
requesting an adjustment, which was quickly done, and the second sample came
out as close to identical as you can get.
Ok the donkey worked turned
out to be a lot more than I had anticipated as he insisted every single piece
of trim had to have everything stripped off it, i.e. every handle and piece of
trim on the doorcards had to be removed 
(as the carpet finishers on these were also to be replaced it served a
dual purpose) and the seats had to be split taken apart and every external
piece of hardware removed, before he would “start” to remove all the layers of colour,
grime and original colour finish as he insisted that we basically needed to get
back to the naked leather before a good finish can be rebuilt. I say “start”
because as you guessed after giving me a master class in the subject I was left
to do all the hard dirty work, with a promise that he would be back in a week
or so when I had finished.
I must say I was a bit
despondent (not to say knackered) by the time I had finished, I had dozens of
pieces of trim and seat all looking a yucky grey/beige and wasn’t sure how they
would ever look good again.
Anyway it was pronounced
that I had done a good job, and I could watch and learn as the transformation
took place. Basically the work area was turned into a production line with
every piece of trim on trestles at working height, so that rather like painting
the forth road bridge starting at one end and applying layers of softeners and
bonders by the time the last piece was done, the first was ready for the next
application. Five or Six layers went on in this process, and whilst the leather
still looked a yucky colour it was fairly magical to see almost all the creases
and scuff marks lift out.  I was
surprised by the next step “sandpaper” 
well 1200 grit wet and dry as all the leather was very lightly finished.
After this came a lot of dusting and cleaning before it was declared that it
was time for the colour application.
I was delighted as the
colour went on and the pieces leapt back into life, six coats later and it was
pronounced that the colour was good!  and
it was, although rather matt. Then it was time for the sealer/finish, it was
explained that the colour has very little wear resistance and that it is the
clear sealer/finish layers that provide all the protection to the colour and
the leather and also determine if the finish is matt, semi matt, satin or
gloss. Five coats later and we had dozens of pieces of stunning looking trim
ready to re-assemble. But No, I was told to leave it for a week without touching
it and just let everything cure thoroughly, and then a final protection cream
had to be applied before the pieces could be handled and reassembled.
So if you go to a professional
coach trimmer or restorer for a quote and think its expensive, for a good job
just think of the hours involved. 
Finally every piece was
reassembled and the car retrimmed with the new carpets and all the renovated
Again there are a folder of
photos “interior” at
that show the interior going back in. 
And I hope you think that it does look good.
Convertible Top/Hood
Not a lot to say about this
(thank god you say), Ah but you don’t get off that lightly!
I’m fairly convinced that
the hood is the original Jaguar item, mainly from the hood lining (see below).  It’s watertight, the colour is good, and no
it hasn’t had any fancy hood treatments just a wash and vacuum. Also there
aren’t any crease marks or fading in it so I’m fairly certain that it spent most of its
garaged life with the hood up. The Hood cover is again the original Jaguar
item, and almost like new, I suspect it has had little or no use.  There is one small finger nail sized abrasion
right on the edge by the nearside quarter light, its nowhere critical to water
tightness, and has been repaired fairly well. My suspicion is that on lowering
or raising at some point it got trapped due to a seized or sheared hood linkage
pivot (I found one that had been replaced and two more than needed replacing).  Anyway the power hood works perfectly now, and
the mark is so minor and only visible with the hood up that I was certainly
going to live with it.
The reason that I’m certain
it’s the original hood is from the hood lining. The original hood linings are
in a velvety/felt grey/beige fabric not very substantial and prone to picking
up lots of stains, watermarks, & mould from getting damp, etc, As a result
in many examples they have ripped or are sagging.  In this example it was good, solid, not
ripped but as they are very difficult to clean (they hang like a tent inside
the hood frame) it was 25 years grubby with odd water marks, mould spore stains
etc. etc.  Kind of like a top side
version of the Mud carpets, serviceable but spoilt the ambience.
What to do?  A new hood lining isn’t expensive £150, but
and it’s a “big but” to replace, the complete hood assembly has to be removed
from the car, the outer hood completely removed from the hood frame finally the
hood lining removed from the frame, and then the whole process reversed. Apart
from being a very skilled job and mega expensive, its almost certain that the
outer hood and all the linings inside that will be damaged in the process, to
replace a £150 lining Jaguar engineered a very expensive project.
OK in the end I cheated.
After vacuuming, cleaning, and using every magic potion out there that is
supposed to remove water marks and mould stains from fabric (which of course
they don’t) we had a clean but still grubby grey patchy looking hood lining. It
was suggested that I tried a Fabricote spray fabric dye, so as I was between
the rock of not liking what I had, and the very hard place of spending a
considerable amount of money replacing it, it was worth a shot. At this point
we had all the interior out so had good access to the hood lining in its hung
state, so with a large amount of masking we could try it. But what colour?
fabric dye is bit like using a highlighter pen, if you use a dark one over
light colour type it obscures it, but use a light one over dark text and the
text still shows through. So we had to go darker, black seemed a bit extreme,
so I opted for a Royal Blue to co-ordinate with the carpets.   It worked, well what I would describe as 90%
worked, the hood lining in now a nice deep blue, and all the stains and
watermarks have gone, however the nap of the velvety/felt material picks up
different amounts of dye, so the finish up-close looks a bit more like crushed
velvet but crisper.  Its not bad, it
looks 10 times better than it did, feels right when your sat in the car with
the hood up, and its entirely presentable as you can see in the pictures with
the hood down before the cover is on, the cover of course hides it completely,
but I point out it ain’t perfect.
The only other thing I did
on the hood, was have the rear glass window professionally refitted. We noticed
that after the hood was raised or lowered the decorative rubber trim came
loose, and on investigation it turned out that the original bonding of the
glass into the frame had given up along the bottom edge allowing the glass to
flex in the frame and push out the decorative strip.  So it was removed cleaned and professionally
resealed and carries a 2 year warranty! I suspect like the hood itself its
actually good for another 25 years.
Engine & Engine Bay
The engine was running very sweetly,
and the engine bay was presentable and slightly awe inspiring when you first open
the bonnet and study the injected V12. Apart from probably an odd clean as it
had only done 4K in 17 years nobody I think had been messing under the bonnet.
Engines are my love and I hate working on unclean engines, all sorts gets
hidden in dark places, and in that engine bay deep in the V and down the sides
its dark. Also prompted by tales from my Jaguar expert of his times in the
field where many a full Jaguar Dealer Service only resulted in 8 or 9 of the 12
plugs being changed, for my own peace of mind and future enjoyment I wanted to
get down in that V and replace all the plugs, leads and distributor cap and
also check out the wiring harness down in the V where it is prone to heat
exhaustion. I have read one or two humorous threads where people have described
the V on the Injected V12 as the “valley of death”.   I was forearmed and had expert advice on
getting down into that V to change ALL the plugs and leads, and I found out why the quoted Jaguar time just
for the plugs meant that many times they probably all weren’t changed. If you
were rushing and didn’t bother to do a clean up whilst down there (which you
should as all sorts of accumulated crap will drop straight down the almost
vertical plug holes, which also have a special machined bowl around them to
collect even more crap and feed it straight down the hole when a plug is
removed) then I think you might change the plugs in half a day if you had some
special tools and had practise, otherwise I recon a full day. If your going to
clean up properly down there, and do the leads and distributor cap, then set
aside a full weekend. For the plugs alone you need to slacken of drive belts
move the air conditioning compressor, remove the cruise control, remove the
throttle capstan, and then remove the plugs, which as you may find described on
the web is quite frightening as they sort of weld themselves in and require a
huge amount of force to crack them loose (given that correct re-installation
requires only a max 8 lbs torque) trying to apply what feels like a 100lbs to
free them with the double jointed linkages that are still required on some even
with all the gubbins removed is a bit nerve wracking.
All the plugs at least
turned out to be the same make/model, which at least indicates they were last
changed as a full set. They were a nice colour indicating that the fuelling
mixtures have been good, but the gaps had opened up to about 40 thou from the
recommended 25, indicating that they had been in there for some time. All plugs
changed, new distributor cap and the careful job of weaving 14 new different HT
leads back into the V.  The wiring
harness in the V (and there is a lot of it) was inspected and any necessary
cover chaffing repaired.
Mechanically the other
things that needed doing, were replacing the air filters, replacing the
throttle linkage bushes (which as predicted to me were missing, as the rubber hardens,
they split and drop out) which of course then necessitates correctly resetting
the throttle linkage rods and microswitches as everything is now back where it
should be.  The final mechanical job
apart from an oil and filter change, was to check all the vacuum lines (there
are dozens of them) for cracks or loose connections. The vacuum lines are
critical for a whole bunch of things especially the idle and acceleration
mixtures, there is even one that runs the whole length of the car from the
manifold to the main ECU in the boot. Whilst with a few exceptions the car will
start and run with a whole host of bad vacuum connections, it really only purrs
when the myriad of inputs are all working correctly. It turned out that the
main cause of the cruise control not working was a split vacuum pipe to the
bellows in the V. The Oil cooler on an XJS is yet another piece of superb Jaguar
engineering, It is a very efficient item with beautifully fine fin work,
however they stuck it right where it picks up every bit of road spray and dust,
and that fin work is so fine that it gets easily clogged by dust. From the
paperwork I know that this cooler was replaced at 117k but only 4K miles later
is was heavily clogged. So I think a good maintenance tip for any XJS owner
that may save future expense, would be whenever you get the chance have the oil
cooler radiator washed through, a 10 min low pressure wash in situ soon had it
clean with daylight showing through all the fins.
With air boxes out it makes
it much easier to see and clean the interior wings, and also inspect the place
where virtually every XJS rusts, on the inner arch below the top damper mount.
It’s a carefully designed piece of Jaguar engineering, a double skin of mild
steel (presumably with no corrosion inhibitor applied between them) that can absorbed
air and moisture from inside the outer wheel arch, but presents virtually no
way to inspect or treat subsequently. In the “engine bay” photos at
you can see what I found. A bit of surface rust and few tiny corrosion holes,
this has been treated and also some Vactan (about the only liquid enough rust
killer and inhibitor) has been run down between the panels. For an XJS its very
good, and with the same care should be good for at least another 25 years.
The Air-conditioning wasn’t
working, or rather it was one of those common conditions, everything was
working there just wasn’t any cooling. The normal fix on older cars is to get
it recharged use it for the few summer months and then repeat the exercise the
following year. However the E12 gas used in these older systems is now frowned
upon, not used and I don’t think even available.  Anyway Steve said convert to modern E135 gas
plus an additional lubricant to help the old  components, and to change the
Scrubber/Silencer in the circuit (that long fat tube in front of the top of the
radiator, not many cars apart from Jags were fitted with Scrubbers). Apparently
the Scrubber traps years of water sludge and crap in the system, which a
recharge with E135 can release and send all the crap back around the system
causing damage. So for the minimal cost of a new Scrubber, just change it at
least once when recharging an unknown condition old system.  The old E12 fittings were upgraded to E135
fittings to make future maintenance easy, and even the usually forgotten inline
filter in the expansion valve (a pig to change) was replaced. The Air Conditioning
is now working perfectly, which is good as an often missed feature of the XJS
is that the Aircon is also used to cool the fuel returning to the catch tank in
the boot, and with very high under bonnet temperatures in the summer (well on
V12 anytime of the year) without it working its not uncommon for the
recirculating fuel to start vaporising.
Electrically (the weakest
link in an XJS) the main job is to inspect and repair any abraded loom
coverings, and carefully clean every electrical connector. The 1980’s designed
connectors are not the most air and watertight and after 25 years most have
layers of corrosion internally on the pins. This corrosion can either lead to
complete failures, or more subtly incorrect resistances being measured on
circuits, leading either to bad instrument readings or incorrect data being fed
to the ECU’s affecting fuelling, starting etc. 
  Having done it I think I can
recommend that as your working around an XJS if you come across a connector,
disconnect and clean all the pins, they virtually all have some corrosion, and
it was amazing the number of odd electrical problems that just went away purely
from doing this.
Apart from this, in the
engine bay all that needed doing was cleaning a few years accumulated dust and
grime, and also replace a plethora of original Jaguar mild steel fixing that
had attracted surface rust and spoilt the look, and replace the Gas Bonnet
Is it a tricked up everything
polished & painted show engine bay? 
No. But is it nice and clean, and importantly you can see everything and
do any routine inspection maintenance without getting covered in grime or oil.
I probably do it a discredit as it does look rather good with the bonnet up,
and I certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed to open the bonnet for anybody anywhere.
Well we were sorting the
Interior, the Paintwork and the Engine bay, what did we have underneath where
all the horrors normally lurk. Well as you have seen from some of the shots beneath
the TWR panels everything was surprisingly good. It had
certainly been undersealed from new and the underseal was still in good
condition, all the normal failure points like the jacking points, trailing arms
and mountings were all rock solid. The lower sill seams were all solid (a few
bits of surface rust but no rot). The rear subframe was solid, and the front
subframe as mentioned previously was exceptionally sound, lots of surface rust
on the bottom of the subframe next to the road, but again nothing rotten.  Inside the wheel arches and inside their
splash panels the underseal was good (dirty but good) with nothing more than
the odd bit of surface rust. All that really needed doing was to give
everything a good clean, a lick of Vactan on the surface rust, and a tiny bit
of touching up here and there. Again there is a folder of photos at
 called “underside” that will give you a
reasonable tour underneath, some are “as found” and some are as it went back
Mechanically there were no
apparent oil leaks; a rear damper was obviously a recent replacement. The twin
exhausts are solid, and I think the centre and rear boxes have been recently replaced.
The front suspension and brakes did need some work. I like cars to go quickly,
but I prefer it if they stop even better. Whilst the Discs and pads were serviceable,
the front braking performance was a bit weak, pulled to one side or the other
and we were certain that one of more of the calliper pistons were seized. So no
messing about just fit new callipers, discs and pads, job done. Whilst the
brakes were off time to look at the suspension. 
Top and bottom ball joints were good, bottom bushes were good and had
been replaced at some time. Roll/Torsion bar bushes were very sloppy and were
replaced, and Top Wishbone bushes (as Steve had predicted) were totally shot.
Fortunately no damage to the Arms or Fulcrum Pins but the bushes had to be
replaced. A bit of a pig of a job as Jaguar with great design forethought had
swept the inner arch in and placed the brake pipe connections through it right
behind the rear bush, preventing the rear arm and bush being removed without
unbolting the Fulcrum arm. Oh and of course apart from making the Nuts
virtually inaccessible, the Fulcrum arm is critical in setting the camber and
castor angles and is very carefully shimmed in the factory with a number of
different sized spacers in a place where you cant see them, so you have to be
very careful removing the fulcrum arm so that only one bolt at a time is
removed so that the washers/spacers can be collected and correctly position
marked for reassembly. Otherwise you would just get a pile of washers fall on
the ground and have no idea which side they came from. It makes you wonder how
many XJS are running around with incorrectly set camber/castor geometry. Maybe
not that many, if like this one where the suspicion is that these were the
original bushes, and that it had sailed through MOT’s for probably a decade without it being detected. The saving grace was
probably that it had only done 4k in the last 17 years and they hadn’t been
exposed to much abuse, thus saving the Wishbones and Fulcrum Arms.
Anyway Brakes now spot on and
bring her to rest quickly and in a straight line. And whilst I never drove it
much before starting work, I also think the wishbone bush replacement has removed
a slight judder and odd tracking behaviour at the front as she now tracks
straight and true.
That was about it
underneath. A bit strange for me as I normally recon to spend way more time on
mechanical issues than things like interior trim, but this one was just so
solid and had been kept properly that there wasn’t much to do.
Ok as you can tell we are
getting to the end of the story! And really this time not much to say. Original
carpets had a couple of mud stains, none of that nasty scruffy fluffy pulls
that most have in the nylon loop carpet. From the looks of it it has never had
much use. Floor was absolutely solid, the well under the spare wheel and
battery had a few traces of surface rust (that I treated) probably only from
condensation, this car hadn’t ever sat with a well full of water rusting out as
so many have. And no nasty smells of petrol in the boot after it has been
closed. Really all I had to do was give it a clean, fit a new battery as XJS’s
are very dependent on electrics, and even a slightly poor battery will cause
you a world of grief. Strange that right from the first production XJS’s back
in 1975 it was recognised they were fitted with an undersized battery, and they
just carried on adding more and more demands on it without increasing the
size.  Fortunately if it’s going to start
a V12 nearly always fires in about a quarter turn of the engine. If it doesn’t,
don’t keep cranking it over as it probably won’t start until you fix the
problem, and if you have over cranked it, and then sort the problem you will
find that there is not much left to try again. Oh the boot also had new Gas
Struts fitted.
General Electrical
Virtually every electrical
connection has been cleaned, obviously the odd dodgy switch has had to be
changed but all electrics tested and now working correctly, including all the
warning lights that work when they should, and don’t come on when they
shouldn’t! The headlight reflectors are also very good, and it has new Headlamp
and Windscreen Wiper blades, and the heated washer jets are all working. It has
the original Kenwood Radio, CD Multichanger and Cassette which is working
perfectly and still has its original manual. It has a neat cavity in the top of
the central arm rest (which I haven’t seen before) that is perfect for putting
your smart phone in, and would be an ideal and simple spot to install a USB charging point.
A very straight almost
original V12 XJS convertible, with the rare Jaguarsport/TWR body panels and wheels, New MOT (Aug 15), set of 5 almost new correct Pirelli P600’s with just a couple
of hundred miles use. Whole car in I think superb condition and drives
beautifully, should give many years of mechanical trouble free enjoyment, and
doesn’t need anything doing to it. Agreed
value classic insurance is approx £100 p.a.
Why am I selling it after all this work?
The main reason is that due
to a change of plans I’m about to loose the use of a neighbours large dry
storage area that I have had the luxury of keeping toys in for a decade. And
whilst I have my own workshop and out buildings, I’m having to do a major
downsize and none of them are quite big enough to take the length of the XJS. Keeping
it outside even with a cover, exposed to the elements it is going to
deteriorate. So as living not quite in the middle of nowhere there is little or
no chance of finding any suitable local secure dry storage before winter comes.
So I’m probably being sensible selling her whilst she is pristine and letting
someone fully enjoy and care for it.
Viewing / Questions
The car is available for
viewing most days/evenings and is located in Worcestershire about 5 miles from
the M5/M50 Junction 8.  Any questions
please call Alan on 01684 593460 or
email via the website.
I may have the car at
Warwick Castle on the 6th September for the 2015 “Jaguars at the
Castle event” so give me a call if you would definitely like to view the car
Looking for sensible offers in
the mid teens, best offer in writing (I’m not going to haggle on the phone) above
my minimum by 30th September (or before) will secure the car.   I will
require a 10% deposit within 48 hours of accepting a bid to hold.  You would be foolish to make an offer without
viewing the car and falling in love with it, but if you do and come and inspect
after paying the deposit, and think I have miss-described the car, I won’t
haggle but I’ll refund the deposit minus any selling fee’s.   

Reviews and comments for Stunning 1990 model Jaguar Sport “TWR” XJS V12 Convertible



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