XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

Jaguar XJS: ‘A rare combination of style, substance and speed’

As part of a new series of blog posts, we will be inviting a number of XJS owners and Jaguar enthusiasts to contribute to our blog, telling us exactly why they love the XJS.

We spoke to loyal KWE customer, Doug Wilson, about why he’s fond of his XJS, and what makes it better than the modern vehicles in his garage.

About Doug

Born in Lanark, Scotland

Occupation: Company Director, Power Utility Company

Interests: Music, guitar playing and collecting, whisky collecting and drinking, shooting, reading, sports and international travel

What’s in your garage?

Doug's V12 XJS

Doug’s V12 XJS

My wife drives a Land Rover Defender. I use a Mercedes GL350 AMG Sport Bluetech as my daily driver. My V12 Jaguar XJS Coupe (1989) is my classic car choice and I also run a modern sports car. For the last ten years or so this has always been a Mercedes SL500 or new SL 400 variant. However, I have recently traded-in my SL400 for a new Mercedes AMG GTS which is due to arrive in April of this year.

What makes the XJS special to you?

The XJS for me is a very rare combination of style, substance and speed. Delivering on the trilogy with aplomb. An XJS stands out from the crowd in a subtle and classy way, it can be elegant, sporty or rakish – it just depends what mood you are in.

Why did you choose the XJS over other models?

Most people drool over the E-Type and yes, it is a beautiful car to ‘look’ at but from a practical perspective it is cramped and drives like a camel with a sore hoof. The XJS just strikes a chord with me on so many levels. The flying buttresses are divine, the long side profile cool and sophisticated and peering over the long bonnet from behind the wheel is as close as we mere mortals get to piloting our own spitfire.

Doug's Jaguar XJS outside hotel at Lake Lugano, Switzerland

Doug’s Jaguar XJS outside hotel at Lake Lugano, Switzerland

It is a vehicle that delivers on all its promises and more. If there is a better GT of this vintage I have yet to drive it. Inside the cabin you have all the mod-cons, way ahead of its time, great comfort (amazing seats) and the feeling that you are wafting on your very own personal magic carpet.

The engine and gearbox combinations vary from year to year but I like the Borg Warner 3 speed and the 5.3 V12. Okay, from 0-60 it is not as fast as modern GTs but from 60-100 and 100 on up the engine is a sheer delight. You will not burn people off at the lights (well not everybody), but you will catch and fly past them effortlessly in an unhurried and serene manner. You need to try very hard to get an XJS flustered; it has impeccable manners and breeding.

Getting used to a three speed, long geared, automatic box takes a while, but when you master the art of downshift and understand the range of each gear, it is a very relaxing way to drive.

I spent a few months looking for the right car to buy and probably overpaid slightly for the correct provenance and history – one of my better decisions. It was a one-owner car with a genuine 24K miles on the clock. The gentleman who owned the car drove a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow during the week and had the XJS to take him to his golf club at the weekends. A very civilised way to live!

The car was unmolested or modified and came with a history file that would have choked a horse as well as all the original manuals, keys and tools etc. It was obvious that the car had been loved and the original leather was virtually unblemished. I loved the colour too, Arctic Blue with a Saville Grey leather interior. These were the good points.

The drawbacks were that age had taken its toll on the suspension, brakes and steering. It was like driving a burst couch with only a vague idea of where the steering was pointed or would take you. Hence my search for a firm that could modernise and improve the weak points while still retaining and improving on what Jaguar had intended. Enter KWE.

What kind of reception do you receive when driving your XJS?

I’ve been fortunate to own and drive a selection of lovely and desirable modern cars. However, never have I owned a car that people liked to talk about more than the XJS. Younger people want to know what it is. Many people want to talk about the one they had or the car that a friend or boss had that they admired. It is impossible to fill the car up with fuel without having some sort of conversation about the vehicle.

Want an XJS for yourself? Find out more about our full range of services and engineering expertise.

1:59 pm KWE Cars


  1. February 15, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I wholeheartedly concur with Doug’s assessment and comments on the XJS. My experience has been the same here in Canada with my 1989 XJS V12 convertible, once brought up to date it’s a dream to drive with lines that one doesn’t tire of.

  2. Chris Willis-
    February 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    I’ve yet to take on the 12 cyl but I will say my 94 s convertable is a wonderful , affordable and so far dependable car .
    My collection includes a 89 SL, wonderful cars Mercedes. An e- type , a 86 jaguar xj6 , big Healey , 2 Cadillac Eldorados etc.
    But as a nice weather cruiser none beat the xjs ….comfortable , sporty enough , beautiful in and out and I swear the stereo is just as good top up or top down . Undervalued , thankfully , sports/ collector car. Highly recommended.

  3. Chris Knowles-
    February 17, 2016 at 9:58 am

    No argument from us Chris!

  4. Simon Wagstaffe-
    April 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve had my XJS V12 Convertable since 2009
    Chris did a great job on suspension, steering and brakes. I have since had it converted to LPG and the car is magnificent. My Company car was stolen recently and I was forced to cover @ 10k business miles in my Jag in the middle of Winter and when my new car arrived I had to be dragged out of the Jag kicking and complaining! Surely a testament to the skills at KWE and the design and capability of the XJS

  5. Chris Knowles-
    April 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for your kind words Simon. Very glad to hear your XJS is more desirable than a modern company car – no surprise to us of course. Chris.

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