Thursday, April 14, 2011

1988 Jaguar XJS Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible

These cars are a neat little piece of Jaguar history.

The XJS was introduced in 1976. In 1983 they introduced the cabriolet. While it was an open top car, it retained a portion of the roof structure. It was really well done (and is my favorite XJS), but many people wanted a full, "real", convertible.

In 1986 Jaguar commissioned the Ohio based Hess & Eisenhardt coachbuilding company to create and build a "real" XJS convertible.

As I wrote in an earlier post, these were not quick chop jobs. Extensive work went into making these cars right. Hess & Eisenhardt did an amazing job.

The H&E Jaguars were built between 1986 and 1988. It was available by special order through Jaguar's US dealers. The exact number of cars built doesn't seem to be known, as a fire at the H&E factory destroyed most of the records. Some websites say 2000 cars were built, other say just around 900. Jaguar introduced its own convertible in 1989.

With the top up, the H&E XJS looks remarkably like the later Jaguar built convertible. With the top down it looks better, as the H&E top sits flatter on the body.

This H&E XJS looks to be in nice shape. The eBay listing has little info, other than the seller saying that the car is in "excellent physical and mechanical condition". (It's one of those "I'm selling this car for a friend" ads.) V12 Jags are finicky cars. If they've been maintained they can be reliable everyday drivers. If they haven't been, they can be an endless money pit. I would strongly advise that you look at this car in person before bidding on it.

If you're looking for an open top XJS and want a small, interesting, piece of Jaguar history, an H&E XJS would be a cool car to own.

Located in Pendleton, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always though these were better than the factory ones. Too bad they didn’t make these late in the series when the quality of Jaguar had improved. I remember see3ing one at CityLine Auto sales as a salvage around 90. It was a theft but nice. I ended up with an 89 Coupe in 95 with 44k miles on it and it had a rebuilt engine. I loved that car but was terrified something would break. Sold it at 70k miles to my mechanic who blew the engine 2 weeks later.