1997 Jaguar XK8 Convertible


  • Low mileage
  • 290bhp V8 engine
  • Large history file
  • Desirable colour combination


The Jaguar XJ-S was a tough act to follow. Itself replacing the iconic E-Type, it had to be good and it really was – its 21-year production run was proof positive that Jaguar buyers knew what they wanted from a sports car and were reasonably resistant to change. So, much like the legacy it sought to continue, the XK8 of 1996 also had to very good indeed… and, again, it really was. 

Taking the shiny new 4.0-litre 32-valve AJ-V8 engine, the Coventry engineers packaged it within a tastefully simple and refined silhouette which has aged wonderfully, and still looks modern today in spite of the passage of decades. With clever technology like the optional CATS adaptive suspension and the light-sensitive headlights, it was a forward-thinking model with a spec sheet brimming with luxurious toys. 

Being a 1997 car, this XK8 is from the first official model-year – and it’s a truly alluring spec, finished in Antigua Pearl Metallic paint with tasteful Magnolia hide. The low mileage of just 74,000 averages out to under 3,000 miles a year throughout its life, and it’s evident from the history file that it’s always been carefully and correctly maintained. 

Thousands have been spent in recent years to rectify some common XK8 issues, and consequently this car is mechanically tip-top and ready to enjoy.

The quintessential grand tourer for the 1990s, the XK8 offered plentiful power, agile handling, and comfortable touring credentials in spades – just like the XJ-S and E-Type that came before it.


  • Substantial history file
  • Four former keepers
  • Original service book present
  • Numerous invoices for parts and servicing
  • MOT expired in March 2023

There’s a pleasingly large history file with this car. The V5 shows just 4 former keepers, and the original service book is here, showing stamps from the same main dealer every year for the first thirteen years of its life.

There are a lot of receipts on file, and some from recent years show us that the Jaguar has been treated to new brake pads, wheel bearings, water pump plus tensioner and idler, steering arms, and alternator.

In 2019 the transmission was overhauled with a new clutch and torque converter at a cost of £1,800. It’s clear from this sheaf of paperwork that the car is a dependable example that’s been properly looked after.

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  • Harman Kardon audio
  • Magnolia leather upholstery in very good order for its age
  • Fly-off handbrake

XK8s come equipped with an impressive level of toys and tricks, and you’ll find all sorts of logically-ordered buttons to entertain you here. This car benefits from the Harman Kardon audio option, the radio-cassette mated to a CD-changer in the boot and powerful factory-fit speakers. 

The instrumentation all works as it should, as does all the interior lighting, and the wood trim on the dash is in very good condition. The electric windows work correctly, and the front seats tilt forward properly to allow access to the rear; the rear bench is very tidy and appears hardly to have been used. 

The Magnolia leather has aged remarkably well – it’s often the case that this light shade gets easily marked and stained, but it’s all very clean and satisfying here. The carpets are complete and original, the fly-off handbrake works correctly, and there are no undue squeaks or rattles in the cabin.

Inside the boot, the carpets are in good condition and beneath the floor resides the original space-saver spare wheel.


  • The electric roof works on the button, raising, lowering and latching as it should
  • Antigua Pearl Metallic paintwork in good overall condition
  • OEM alloys wheels in good overall condition

The design of the XK8 has mellowed wonderfully, feeling at once classic and contemporary; it allows its slinky curves to speak for themselves rather than relying on showy embellishments like spoilers and splitters, and it’s all the more elegant for it.

The car wears a rare and glorious colour choice, Antigua Pearl Metallic, and the body is generally in tidy condition. There are a few cosmetic blemishes to be aware of: both rear arches have a little surface corrosion, there’s a dent on the passenger door, and the top of the rear bumper is cracked. 

On the whole, however, the car presents very well – the light lenses and window glass are all good, the soft-top roof is in great order with no damage to the window, and the alloy wheels are decent – there’s a smattering of kerbing to the lips, but it’d be an easy refurb to sort.


  • AJV8 engine
  • Fully electronic 5-speed ZF auto
  • Said to be running and driving well

The AJ-V8 engine is a motor renowned for its big-lunged swells of torque; rather than shouting and gargling like a Detroit V8, this is a creamy-smooth unit of supreme refinement. For this model, Jaguar developed a cutting-edge low-volume cooling system which allows for a rapid warm-up from cold, and the transmission is a fully electronic 5-speed ZF auto. The perfect combination for effortless cruising.

With a low mileage recorded, it’s fair to say that this large-displacement engine is in fine fettle; the manner in which it behaves keenly suggests that this is a car which has been looked after. It starts happily on the first turn of the key, idles evenly and quickly comes up to temperature as an XK8 should; it pulls strongly through the gears, and the auto ’box shifts sweetly and smoothly.

No problems are reported with the suspension or brakes, the car driving just as you’d hope a Jaguar to.


With the thick end of 290bhp, 155mph, 0-62mph in sub-6.5s… and all wrapped up in sumptuous luxury, with deeply-stuffed seats trimmed in supple leather, and a Jekyll-and-Hyde chassis honed for delightful comfort as well as eager handling. 

These are well-built and dependable machines, exploiting the quality mass-production tolerances of the Ford influence of the era, with all the power you need (and more), and truly impressive levels of equipment. Class oozes from its every pore and there’s very little that can match it.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1997
  • Make Jaguar
  • Model XK8
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 74,056 Miles
  • Engine size 3980
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Castle Cary
  • Location Somerset
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
2 bids
  • graham_•••• £1,600 24/09/23
  • Perry C•••• £1,500 20/09/23

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