There were various models of the Jaguar XJS launched during the 21 years it was in production. In fact from 1975 to 4th April 1996 it underwent various transformations, including a complete facelift towards the final years.
These days collectively these Jaguar cars are referred to by the generic XJS. However while it works fine when spoken, when written down it can cause some confusion. The reason is that the model was badged the XJ-S at the time of its lauch in September 1975. This was to denote that it was the Sport model of the XJ range. It wasn’t rebadged as the XJS until 1991 when the Facelift was launched.
In general terms the Jagaur XJS models fall into two groups, Pre-Facelift model ranges and Facelift models ranges, with the Pre-Facelift model range being split into Pre-HE and HE models.
1975 <----- XJ-S Pre-HE -----> 1981 <----- XJ-S H£ -----> 1991 <----- XJS -----> 1996
Jaguar Jaguar XJ-S was launched in September 1975 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Germany
Regrettably the XJ-S was, for the frist 7 years, only availabe as a Coupe. The popular Jaguar E-type, which it had replaced had been avaialbe in both Convertibles and Coupes models. This XJ-S decision was rumoured to have been due to concern that Convertibles were to be banned in some US states. No doubt there was particular concern that this would include California.
Ironically any concerns that there was to be a US ban on Convertibles turned out to be unfounded.
Finally Jaguar decided to build an XJS Soft Top Model. The Jaguar XJ-SC Cabriolet was launched on 28th June 1982, alongside the release of the new 3.6 version of the XJ-S Coupe.
Cabriolet not Convertible
The XJ-SC model wasn’t a full Convertible, but rather a Targa Topped Cabriolet model with a roll bar and a fold down hood for the rear. The Cabriolet was not purpose built as such, but was rather a Jaguar factory conversion of a newly built XJ-S Coupe car without it’s roof and with the rear buttresses cut off to make way for the Targa arrangement and folding hood.
Tickford built XJ-SC Cabriolet
Initially the Cabriolet conversions were undertaken by Tickford. The almost complete XJ-S Coupe (without it’s actual roof having been fitted) was taken from Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich site, which previously had been the Fisher Plant site of the Pressed Steel Company, to Tickford’s premises. Here the buttresses were cut off and further modification work undertaken which included under body strengthening, installing the roll bar over the driver and passenger area and modifying/replacing the rear wing panels. Once this work was complete the near Cabriolet was then returned to Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich Body Shop for final finishing work.
Jaguar built XJ-SC Cabriolet
The multi-site method of construction undertaken in conjunction with Tickford was not efficient and after about 100 XJ-SC Cabriolets were built (exact number unknown) the end-to-end Cabriolet production was brought in-house at Jaguar.
The two Targa Panels over the driver and passenger area could be removed either one at a time or both together. The car was actually supplied with a special bag to store the 2 Targa Panels safely in the boot when not in use.
The rear of the XJ-SC Cabriolet’s cabin area had a fabric hood that could be manually folded down. This wasn’t in any way dependent on whether the Targa Panels were in place of not. The hood needs to be folded down correctly otherwise the Tonneau cover will not fit. In fact this is the subject of another article – found Here
The Jaguar XJ-SC Cabriolet model also an accessory, which was a hard-top section for the rear of the car. This came complete with heated glass rewr window, unlike the canvas hood which had a plastic rear window. This enabled the owner to remove the fabric roof and replace it with a hard top, which facilitated all year round use of the car by effectively converting it into an enclosed Coupe model. However the transition between having the car with its fabric hood and having it with the hard top wasn’t exactly quick. It involves getting some tools out and removing the hood’s brackets (either side of the car) along with the starbolts all around the base of the hood (where the hood fitted to the car’s bodywork along the lines of the boot).
Ultimately a total of 5,013 XJ-SC Cabriolets were produced when production finished in April 1988.
The Jaguar XJ-SC Cabriolet had two engine size options, either the 3.6 litre straight-six or 5.3 litre V12 versions. The V12s were only available as Automatics, though the 3.6 were available with 5 speed Manual or Automatics Gearboxes. The car was available in left and right hand drive combinations, with the majority of left hand drive models being the 5.3 Automatic – see statistic section at the bottom of this page.
Article written by : Laurence Jones