Jaguar sold the mighty XJS grand tourer from the 1976 through 1996 model years, and I’ve documented quite a few of them in their final parking spaces. For 1997, the replacement for that legendary car finally arrived, in the form of the oft-delayed XK8. Here’s one of those first-year cars, found in a self-service yard in Denver, Colorado recently.
Development of this car’s platform and general shape goes back to 1980, when endless prototypes were built and forgotten. Once Ford took over Jaguar in 1990, the abaondoned XJ41 project was revived and became the 1994 Aston Martin DB7. Fast-forward three years and you get a Jaguar-badged cousin of that car.
The 1997 XK8 could be purchased in coupe or convertible form. The top on this car has seen better days.
How much, you ask? A cool $69,900, which would be around $130,165 in 2022 dollars. If you wanted the Aston Martin DB7 Volante convertible that year, the price tag was $135,000 ($251,395 now).
As we’ve seen in this series, sophisticated European machinery requires fastidious maintenance on the dot, or you get hit with repair bills larger than the car’s value once it hits age 10 or so. Once a car like this reaches its fourth or fifth owner, the Clock of Doom starts ticking very loudly if it was ever neglected prior to that.
It appears that preparation for body and paint work took place but was never completed.
The engine is a 4.0-liter Jaguar DOHC V8 rated at 290 horsepower, same as the one in the XJ8. In 1998, a 370-horse supercharged version known as the XKR became available.
The Lincoln LS and 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird got a de-bored 3.9-liter version of this engine.
The transmission in 1997 was a mandatory five-speed ZF automatic, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you lived on. In fact, every street XK8 ever built had an automatic when it left the assembly line (though I’m sure some three-pedal swaps have been performed by now).
These cars aren’t exactly common in your local Ewe Pullet, but they are out there.
As some 24 Hours of Lemons racers in Texas discovered, you can buy a DB7 shell cheap at auction and then bolt in everything you need to make it a runner by stripping an even cheaper XK8 donor car.
A new breed of Jaguar.
Here’s the video issued to UK-market XK8 buyers.