The history of Jaguar - part 2
Following last month’s publication about Jaguar, we start with another famous model being the XJ-S. After a period of 13 years, 1974 saw the end of production of this world famous model.
Jaguar launched its successor, the XJ-S in 1975. Its controversial design by Jaguar’s aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer wasn’t liked by everyone in the beginning. Gone where the smooth and round lines of the E-Type, the XJ-S was different in every way and noted by its prominent rear flying buttresses.
Following the mid-1970’s oil crisis and the fact that the only available engine was the 5.3 V12, the XJ-S had a difficult start.
This all changed when a new High Efficiency 5.3 V12 was launched which made a lot of difference in fuel economy. Also, a new 3.6 six-in-line engine was launched in 1983 and 1988 finally saw the arrival of a genuine convertible model. The two seat XJ-SC Targa model never became a success but the new convertible was the model for which many customers where waiting for. In 1991 the XJ-S not only got a new name, now ‘XJS’, its styling was also changed. Looking much more clean than before, the final series of the XJS really became a future classic.
Being powered by either a fuel efficient 4.0 six-in-line or the newly developed 6.0 V12, XJS sales figures rose. Even in the final years of production and just moments away from the launch of the new XK8, customers were still in love with the looks of the XJS.
Nevertheless, after a period of 21 years the time came to move on and so it did. For the first time in Jaguar’s history, the XK8 Coupé became the first model to be powered by a totally new and state of the art 4.0 V8 engine. Developing 284 BHP and linked to a new 5-speed ZF automatic gearbox the XK8, this car had serious potential.
Following its 1996 reveal on Geneva’s Motor Show, 1998 saw the introduction of a supercharged version of the 4.0 V8. Now having 370 BHP and 525 Nm’s of torque, this new XKR could really fly. It quickly became one of the most desirable, fast and luxurious coupe and convertible models out on the market.
With only a few little changes to its design over the years and new engines for the 2003 model year, the first generation of the XK8 lasted until 2006 when the new, all-aluminum XK 4.2 took over.
In the next edition of The Local Expat, the last and 3rd episode of Jaguar’s history will be published.