Leather and polished wood interior, 

 Seats 4, but 2 is best for ultimate comfort – rear seat travel for adults is best limited to short distances.

Air conditioning – cooling function not currently working, but excellent heater…

 Radio and “old school” cassette player

Technical Stuff

Engine: Jaguar V12 5.3 litre, fuel injected petrol, 266 hp (198 kW)

Transmission: Automatic GM 400 3 speed, rear wheel drive, limited slip differential

Braking: Power assisted 4 wheel discs

Dimensions: Length – 4.8m  Width –  1.8m   Height – 1.3m

Weight: Unladen 1800 Kg



Driving “The Big Cat”

When you hire our classic Jaguar XJ-S, the first thing you notice is how low you are when sitting in the driving seat – modern cars and RUVs seem to tower over you.

Then, on first starting the engine, how quiet it is, and as you move away its hard to imagine the complexity of those 12 pistons firing right in front of you – it seems so effortless. Suddenly you are at the speed limit and all is still smooth and quiet.

For such a large car of almost 2 tons, its agility is surprising. The suspension feels firm, yet the ride is very refined. The steering is light, yet precise and positive. So it is just as much at home pressing on across country, as it is cruising down the autoroute to the Riviera.

This car does not drive like a 35 year old vehicle with a design that goes back nearly 50 years, even though the large thin steering wheel and spindly chrome gear shift look and feel old world indeed. 


A Bit of History

The XJs was Jaguar’s replacement for the famous and much admired E Type sports car. Design started in the late 1960’s, and the new XJS was released in September 1975. Although the initial response to the new car was muted – it was not at all like an E-Type and the styling was an acquired taste – the XJS went on to become Jaguar’s longest running model, selling  more than 115,000 units until it was discontinued in 1996. In 1981 the V12 was redesigned to improve fuel efficiency and also increase power. This became known as the High Efficiency V12, and cars fitted with the new engine were renamed the XJ-S HE.


Our  Jaguar XJ-S,   “The Big Cat”, was sold new in Britain in 1985, hence the speedometer is still in miles per hour. It was imported into New Zealand in 1996 and was in Christchurch for a short period, before coming to the Wairarapa in 1997. While the body has had a respray at some stage, the interior remains original and in very good condition, given the relatively high mileage covered and the passage of 35 years. Classic  Rides purchased the car in 2018.


What the motoring press said back then:

Motor Magazine (1981):   “the finest means yet devised in which to travel by road.”

Autocar: “Overall, the Jaguar XJ-S is superb… We envy those who can find a place for this most covetable car.”

Motor Sport: “Firing up the fuel-injected V12 is a matter for continuing pleasure…..     Really, it feels like some sort of electric turbine!”

And how about  this!  –  a TV commercial from 1984