According to Wikipedia, a Grand Tourer can be defined as: “a performance and luxury automobile capable of high speed or spirited long-distance driving. The most common format is a two-door coupé with either a two-seat or a 2+2 arrangement”.
The term derives from the Italian ‘gran turismo’, and is a tribute to the tradition of the grand tour, which sees GTs of various marques and models embarking on long-distance, high-speed journeys in both style and comfort.
But which car is the ideal Grand Tourer?
According to author Sam Dawson, “the ideal [Grand Tourer] is a car with the ability to cross a continent at speed and in comfort, yet provide driving thrills when demanded”, and it should exhibit the following:
- The GT should have been devised by its designers specifically as a Grand Tourer
- It should be able to transport at least two in comfort with their luggage and have room to spare
- The engine should cope with cruising comfortably at the upper limits on all continental roads without drawbacks or loss of useable power.
- The design, both inside and out, should be geared toward complete control by the driver
- Its chassis and suspension provide suitable handling and road holding on all routes during travels.
There are arguably many example GT models that exhibit the above criteria, for instance the Porsche 928, Aston Martin DB7 and so on. But, we wholeheartedly believe that there is a stand out contender – the Jaguar XJS.
The Jaguar XJS comes of age
As the XJS comes up to its 40th birthday, we believe the vehicle embodies everything that is great about a GT model. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the XJS was a hit on the roads, and was the car that all aspiring businessmen and women wanted. It was elegant, stylish and stood out on the roads. Today is no different, as the XJS is experiencing a resurgence of sorts, in line with its increasing value and investment potential.
You may think we’re being biased, but recently Harry Metcalfe drove an exquisite 1980 V12 XJS from the UK over 1,000 miles to Monaco, for the cover story of October’s Octane Magazine.
Harry is highly complementary of the XJS, highlighting its excellent driving performance and longevity. By Harry’s reckoning, his early XJS was every bit as good as the Porsche 928 and other front-engined GTs of the era, and would have been more fondly remembered if it hadn’t had to live in the shadow of the E-Type that came before. See the full video below:
Celebrate 40 years of the XJS
If you’re looking for a Grand Tourer of your own, speak to one of our expert engineers. With years of experience restoring classic cars back to their former glory, we offer invaluable advice and guidance on how to get the most out of your investment. Give us a call on 01635 30030.
Going on a grand tour somewhere nice this bank holiday weekend? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @KWECars or ‘like’ us on Facebook.