Junkyard Find: 1987 Jaguar XJ-S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 jaguar xj s

Wait, straight, unrusted XJ-Ss get crushed? Yes, indeed, I see solid examples of Jaguar’s V12 statusmobile at self-service junkyards all the time. This car listed at $39,700 when new ( nearly 80 grand in 2012 dollars), but couldn’t even fetch above scrap value at an auction today.

That’s why we see quite a few XJ-Ss in LeMons racing, and why we always believe the car was built under the required $500 budget.

The idea of getting a cheap XJ-S runner and driving in V12 luxury for a while always has great appeal, but dealing with any mechanical problem tends to be expensive, time-consuming, or both.

So, it’s 1987. You can get a base 911 coupe for $38,500, a Corvette coupe for $27,999, or an XJ-S for $39,700. Without knowing that the Porsche and Chevy would hold on to a double-digit percentage of their initial value while the Jaguar would be worth 1% as much in 25 years, would you still have bought the Jag? Hell, even buying one XJ-S worth of new ’87 Chevettes (i.e., seven Chevettes), you’d have held on to more of your investment today (scrap value of a Chevette is about $250 nowadays).

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  • Thats one fast cat Thats one fast cat on Apr 10, 2012

    I know they are POS (I have had several Jags from the 70's and 80's) but man do I want one. That kitty clearly didn't lead a good life -- here is one (in the same colour!) that must have died in a garage! http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/WE-FINANCE-1987-Jaguar-XJS-Convertible-38K-PwrTop-V12-CLEAN-CARFAX-PowerWindows-/270951146670?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3f15f264ae#ht_16331wt_1010

  • Carfriend313 Carfriend313 on Jun 09, 2012

    My father bought one of these brand new in about 1995 or 1996 and his biggest regret is selling it. It never had a problem of any kind, returned mpg in the 20s (it was the 4.0 straight six) and it was comfortable and nice to drive. As well as (in my opinion, at least) beautiful.

    • Sigivald Sigivald on Apr 21, 2015

      My impression is that the six was a *much* more reliable engine than the twelve. (In fact, I've never heard of that not being true of any twelve, ever. Though naturally a modern V12 is probably going to be more reliable than anything from the 80s or earlier. No idea why this is the case; a V10 seems to be something companies can make more than adequately reliably. Dodge and Ford have both done it; Ford's made *millions* of Triton V10s, which are no worse than the Triton V8s, to my knowledge*. * Which is to say "flawed", but for reasons unrelated to cylinder count. And perfectly good if you rebuilt it to fix the oiling problems ... I'm a little bitter about the 3V 5.4 in my truck.)