By Shaun Lumley
Introduced in September 1975 the Jaguar XJS was intended to be a direct replacement for the E-type. Plans for this model began long before it's actual introduction. A memo from Malcolm Sayer, the legendary Jaguar aerodynamicist, to Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, in September 1968 described the new vehicle. The note outlined an automobile that should be a low, wide and high speed car matching the design of those created by Italian manufacturers, even if it meant sacrificing silence, ease of entry and interior space.
The body design for this car was by Lyons and Sayer, with extensive wind tunnel testing carried out to perfect the car's aerodynamics. Utilizing the already proven mechanics of the XJ sedan minimized development costs. The front suspension of the XJS used a fully independent semi trailing wishbone and coil spring set-up. The rear suspension was also independent with lower traverse wishbones and the half shafts acting as the upper links. Twin rear springs and shock absorbers were also incorporated into the rear suspension design. To stop the car British Leyland fitted power assisted disc Brakes - vented rotors with 4-piston calipers on the front and on the rear solid rotors with 2-piston calipers. The steering system was a power assisted rack and pinion with 3 rotations required to turn lock to lock. The car was equipped with 15-inch wheels and the original tires were 205/70VR15. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the car was the motor. The XJS used an aluminum overhead cam V12. The 326 cubic inch engine used a Bosch-Lucas electronic manifold fuel injection system, which produced 285-horsepower at 5800 rpm. When coupled with the handling characteristics and comfort of the advanced suspension, performance was said to equal that of the E-type.