Dash to axle ratio is one of the key design characteristics thought to telegraph luxury performance car status. That is to say, the longer the distance between the front axle and the A-pillar, the higher performance or more luxurious the car is perceived to be. So one rule of thumb is if your car has a long hood in relationship to the rest of the car, it’s going to be more highly regarded.
Jaguar has a long history of seriously long-hooded cars. Think of the Jaguar E-Type, which was the bullet-shaped sports car whose proportions make any onlooker say, “holy crap look at the length of the hood on that thing!” which is street vernacular for admiring the dash-to-axle ratio. And the E-Type was thought of, even by Enzo Ferrari himself as the most beautiful car ever made. Beautiful, graceful, performance oriented and luxurious. Even he was suckered by dash-to-axle. I get it.
The E-Type ended production in 1975 and something had to more or less had to fill its proportions. While the XJ-S (or the later editions which removed the hyphen) was no E-Type for a variety of reasons, Jaguar found a way to pass the dash-to-axle ratio baton onto their new – for 1975 – grand tourer.
To me, I have always found the XJ-S a gorgeous car. In fact looking at this one seriously makes me want to buy it. However I already have a two-seater convertible, and I would have nowhere to park it. Not to mention, my sensical upbringing tells me that something more practical for camping would be the better choice for my next vehicle. But if it’s any indication, one of my favorite Matchbox cars as a kid was a silver XJ-S, so all bets are not off yet.
Jaguar, widely known for its English hand-made car reliability – which is to say not terribly reliable at all – really maximized that reputation with the early versions of the XJ-S, having many quality control issues as well as significant body rot throughout the years. In the last few years of production the de-hyphenated series III XJS’ quality had significantly improved, particularly in 1994-1996 after Jaguar management, as well as some key aspects of the car, were overhauled by the Ford Motor Corporation a few years earlier. After 21 years and a production total of 115,413 units, and finally getting the car right, it was time for Jag to move on to produce the XK8. A fine car in its own right.
This particular 1995 XJS convertible benefits from having distilled out many of the 19 previous years of manufacturing idiosyncrasies and insufficiencies making the 1995 model at least in my mind the one to own. It has an inline “AJ6” 4.0 liter 6-cylinder engine which put out in the neighborhood of about 250 HP. It is interesting to note that the cylinders are angled at 22-degrees, similar to the 30-degree list of Chrysler’s Slant-6. While peppy, it was not nearly as thirsty as the 12-cylinder variant and put power through the rear wheels via a ZF transmission.
This white over tan 2+2 luxury grand tourer is said by the seller to be in mint condition, and has always been garaged and serviced regularly. Milage is low for its age at 54,000 and is said to be fully loaded, has a clean title, and drives great. All scheduled maintenance is said to have been performed and comes with complete records.
This is clearly a fine example of this model. With an asking price of $17,500 for this California resident, it puts you in a timeless classic with an appropriately lengthy dash to axle ratio on an economy car budget. To me, it’s an ideal car for the Palm Springs or Palm Beach lifestyle.
The seller can be contacted HERE on autotrader for more information.