2 October 2015

Pro Street XJS - Fat Cat, No Rat

The Jaguar XJS; at one time a car reviled by motoring enthusiasts purely because it was so different to the E-Type it replaced, so misunderstood because it was a grand tourer instead of a sinewy sports car, and so neglected by Jaguar at one point, it's initially a surprise that it lasted 20 years in production. But the 1980's saw Jaguar develop the car to ts full potential; first with changes to the V12 engine to make it more fuel efficient (well more efficient for a 12 mpg V12, anyway), then a brand new 6-cylinder engine (the AJ6, only the third engine ever designed by the company), and then cabriolet and convertible versions. In fact, when the XJS ended production in 1996, it went out with its head held high and with a tear in the eye of said motoring enthusiasts deriding it 20 years previous. Don't that beat all? Maybe not, but this 1983 example might. You don't need good ol' uncle Amazo to tell you that this cat has been eating it's Whiskas on a regular basis; or to be exact, a diet of American mouse...
The mouse in question is a small block Chevy; a 350ci with a 383ci 'stroker' kit, which would make it pretty meaty on its own. but the stroker crankshaft runs 8:1 compression pistons to enable that 15% overdriven B&M 8-71 blower to do its thang. Twin Holley 750cfm carburettors suck premium pump petrol, no doubt at a rate that would make the original V12 nod in approval, while an MSD 6AL distributor and electronic ignition light 'em up, with Corvette exhaust manifolds with 2 1/2 dual exhaust dumping 'em out. A 'built TH350 with 2800rpm stall converter and unknown shift kit transmit the big cat's urge to a narrowed Ford 9 inch rear end with 3:50 gears and an LSD - fairly mild, but sensible for regular street driving. Coilovers and a ladder bar setup keep the axle in suspense, while at at the front, its pretty much as Browns Lane intended; not a bad thing, considering that what resided in the engine bay before necessitated power rack & pinion steering and disc brakes. Weld Pro Street wheels sit in Mickey Thompson front and rear tyres; 6x15 inch front, 18x15 inch rear.
An owner of a standard XJS would largely feel right at home in the interior; I say largely, as although the standard dashboard and seats have been retained (and retimmed in tweed), the  B&M tach and ancillary gauges would start to raise suspicion. The illusion would then be completely broken as soon as they turned round to reverse back; those huge carpeted tubs and 15 gallon fuel cell weren't no optional extras from new, while the lack of a roll cage seems surprise, given the car's potential.
The car went for just under $13k (about £8k)on eBay recently; with a few little glitched to fix to get it up to full roadworthy spec, methinks someone purr-loined a bargain.

- Amazosan

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