Jaguar’s first response to demands for an open-top XJ-S was somewhat conservative in engineering terms. The XJ-S had not been designed with an open version in mind, so a Targa-style arrangement was adopted, which retained a substantial roll hoop in the interests of maintaining rigidity in the absence of a fixed roof. Two removable roof panels were stored in the boot, and the Cabriolet did away with the Coupé’s two occasional rear seats in favour of a pair of luggage lockers topped by a parcel shelf. Essentially an exercise in niche marketing to test public reaction, the XJ-S Cabriolet’s production was entrusted to outside specialist contractors, with bodyshells being transported back and forth across the Midlands before returning to the Brown’s Lane factory prior to final despatch.
Having demonstrated that there was indeed sufficient demand to justify production of an open XJ-S, Jaguar grasped the nettle and proceeded to develop a conventional full convertible. For the latter they turned for assistance to coachbuilders Karmann in Osnabruck, a firm with considerable expertise in the manufacture of open cars. As well as developing the host of new panels and associated tooling required, Karmann also designed the hood, which was electro-hydraulically operated and featured a full lining and glass rear window complete with heating element.
Unlike many examples, this superbly solid XJS is said never to have seen rain or damp weather in its many years on the road. As a result it finds itself now in excellent rust-free condition, presented in a lovely shade of deep red with a charcoal interior. XJS Convertibles are the ultimate fast summer touring cars – what better way to travel through the country, even the continent!