1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible V12


  • A well-presented open top V12 roadster
  • Only 55,033 miles from new
  • Impressive history and maintenance file

The Appeal

The XJ-S, particularly in convertible form, has acquired a status akin to a fine wine. it can safely be said that all wine gets better with age, and the XJ-S could easy reflect that statement. That’s not to suggest that the car was a bad car in the first place, particularly when the mid-1980s saw a marked improvement in quality and production efficiency, but one felt it should have been an open-top roadster from the very start. Originally launched in 1975 as a fixed-head coupe, the high-efficiency V12 engines were rolled out at the start of the 1980s, with the first full-length convertibles finally arriving in 1988. 

Met with welcome arms, the open-top roadster did much to raise the profile of the XJ-S. Almost a new car, much of the changes were under the skin with a new front subframe, reinforcement transmission tunnel, bulkheads and rear floor to help reduce scuttle shake. Despite becoming the most expensive Jaguar at the time, over 13,000 V12 XJ-S’ were sold over its four-year lifespan and soon established itself as one of the world's finest long-distance cruisers.

This elegant 1989 V12 convertible is finished in black with a magnolia leather interior and has a documented mileage of just 55,033. Originally sold to a customer in Jersey, it was imported back into the UK in 2000, with just 37,030 miles and has been used gently ever since. It comes with an impressive array of invoices reaching back to 1996 and has seen a significant amount of spending over the years. This solid and original example has an MOT to February 2024 and has service stamps up to 53,493 miles. 

The History and Paperwork

  • Ordered new via a Jersey-based design consultancy in September 1989
  • Imported into the UK in 2000 with an MOT mileage reading of 37,070
  • Import document included 
  • Jaguar heritage certificate
  • 7 service stamps up to 53,493 miles
  • Appears to have been used very lightly since 2013, with not much more than 1000 miles added
  • Invoices back to 1996 suggesting regular maintenance and upkeep 
  • Retains most of the MOTs from 2000 
  • £4,000 spent over the last 5 years
  • UK V5c present
  • Car vertical report from 2023
  • MOT to February 2024
  • Loss of storage forces the sale

The Interior

  • The Magnolia leather cabin is in great shape
  • Front leather seats have age-related creases but do have intact piping and are free of any distracting damage
  • Carpets intact with some minor marks but all bone dry
  • The dashboard is free from cracks, the veneer facia is in good condition with some peeling around the centre vent
  • Centre console leather and veneer intact 
  • Switchgear and controls are in decent visual order with some minor wear
  • Binnacle intact with legible dials
  • Panasonic CD Stereo installed
  • Steering wheel and gear-lever in good condition
  • Rear cabin storage is in decent order, with no signs of water ingress  
  • Late 90s Invoices back up renovation work on the interior
  • This includes the headlining which is in presentable condition with mild marks
  • The door cards are in excellent shape
  • The boot carpet is in a tidy state with no signs of water ingress or heavy use

The Exterior 

  • Inner wings are solid, with no notable issues spotted on the suspension turrets or jacking points
  • The body is free of significant corrosion, with no issues noted on the wheel arch lips or wings
  • The panel fit is true throughout, all fitting flushly with even panel gaps
  • The car appears to be free from panel dents or scuffs
  • All doors open and close with ease, all sporting decent rubber seals
  • The paint has a decent lustre, with some age-related paint swirling as it catches the sunlight 
  • A few more obvious signs of minor paint peel are demonstrated around the nearside door handle, scuttle and the rear badges
  • No significant paint chips 
  • The chrome trim is in good shape, with no significant damage noted
  • Front bumpers are in excellent shape and are documented as being replaced in 2003
  • The rear bumper has mild age-related damage but is free of scuffs
  • The glass is commensurate with the age of the car, all free of chips or unsightly damage
  • The electric windows operate with no issues
  • The windscreen and rear glass seals are in decent shape, but the driver's side rubber trim shows more wear 
  • The lights and lenses are all intact
  • Added Jaguar emblems fitted on boot and bonnet
  • Soft top in excellent condition, with minimal marks or signs of outdoor storage
  • Roof raises and lowers without any issues and their electric motors function without straining
  • 16" lattice-style alloys alloys show age-related pitting but display well enough
  • Pirelli P-600 tyres on the rear are over 15 years old but retain a legal tread
  • New Continental tyres upfront 

The Mechanics 

  • 5.3-litre V12 engine fires up without any hesitation
  • Engine neatly presented with intact hoses and ancillaries 
  • Some metal engine components show signs of age
  • No warning lights flagged up on the dashboard when running
  • Engine idles smoothly with no undulations
  • Exhausts in good shape with no blowing
  • The owner has not reported any issues with oil pressure or engine temperature 
  • Said to drive very well and is entirely roadworthy
  • The gearbox selects ratios without issues
  • Said to brake evenly with no drama
  • Mild signs of age were noted on some suspension components 
  • Much of the invoices document mechanical work carried out over the last 27 years 
  • Up to 2017, the invoices tally up to around £5,000 covering electrical, steering, suspension, cooling and engine work
  • Invoices since 2018 include further engine, brake, ABS sensors and electrical work
  • Very recent invoices cover:
    • A new Bosch Hydraulic Accumulator unit 
    • Idle control valve 
    • PAS work and steering rack bushes
    • A minor electric overhaul 
    • All 4 wheels have seen professional re-alignment
  • An electric cut-off switch has been installed in the boot
  • Tool kit and full-sized matching spare wheel fitted


The adage "the best things come to those who wait" is often true, and those who waited for the XJ-S convertible, which debuted 13 years after the original coupe, would have been rewarded. As one of the more valued XJ-S’ of the era, its also helped by its low mileage and evidence of mechanical spending. 

This remarkably solid example with a very impressive interior is only part of the appeal of this open-topped sleek and eye-catching car. Its refined old-school character and durable V12 engines are very much rooted in the realms of the golden age of motoring, and the XJ-S is a perfect reminder of that era of decadence.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1989
  • Make Jaguar
  • Model XJS
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 55,033 Miles
  • Engine size
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Bourne End
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
4 bids from 3 bidders
  • fft £5,000 22/09/23
  • PaulDav•••• £3,500 21/09/23
  • val-bat•••• £3,100 21/09/23
  • PaulDav•••• £3,000 21/09/23

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