Jaguar coupes exude class, style and menace, characteristics only magnified with the roof off. Convertible Jaguars can be an affordable classic and lucrative investment.
XJ-S Convertible (1983-1996)
The XJ-S had bad luck from the start – the design wasn’t the instant classic the E-Type was, while infamous BL quality plagued reliability and the convertible took eight years to be released, losing vital American-market sales. Even with a US-friendly rollover bar the XJ-SC was stunning but deleting rear seats to accommodate the roof – its Mercedes SL and Triumph Stag rivals offered space for four – harmed sales. Undercutting the SL by 20% pricewise helped the Jag sell, but it still only managed a tenth of the SL’s numbers. That said, the XJ-SC still outsold the Stag considerably.
The XJ-S’ unreliable reputation preceded it and values plummeted to half within three years of new. Rust, mechanical failures and notorious electrics all contributed to expensive upkeep. By the 90s, the XJ-SC being less beautiful and less loved than the E-Type Roadster, despite relative youth, values fell to £5000. Convertibles have always held value better (around 50% over coupes). Furthermore, post-1987 3.6 litre manual cars represent the most sporting of the range and have a certain appeal while the cheapest have long been the thirstier V12 cars. Regardless, tidy ragtops remained £3000-£6000 throughout the 2000s. Despite slight appreciation, values remain uncertain today, owing to a lingering reputation for unreliability as well as divisive looks. The best convertibles are £10,000-12,000, noticeably more than coupes. Values have climbed only a little in five years, so buy to enjoy.
XK8 X100 Convertible (1996-2006)
The XK8 helped save Jaguar – the X100 shared elements of the XJS platform with Aston’s DB7 and was a cost-effective project for the Coventry based firm. Gone were XJS angles, replaced by gorgeous curves. The convertible – which Jaguar had the sense to offer at launch – only made things better. Dynamically capable for sure, but this stunning convertible cat was the ideal European-cruiser. In typical Jag fashion, it undercut rivals financially – while the droptop was 15% more than the coupe it was £8,000 less than Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet and even less than the dated Mercedes R129 SL.
Jags rarely hold value, the thirsty V8 cabrio no exception. A car that was £55,000 new was £5000 within sixteen years. For comparison, equivalent 911s remained triple that, the reliability and additional prestige likely contributing. In the early recession years following 2007, the XK8 became less attractive. 20mpg and pricey maintenance, combined with unreliable and complex electronics kept values suppressed at £3000-6000. Convertibles are typically 10-15% extra, but even the best XK8 convertible has remained £7000-9000 for half a decade, even the supercharged XKR around £12,000. The once gorgeous looks were dating and plenty of choice on the market keep it a cheap modern classic.
XK X150 Convertible (2006-2014)
The X150 XK was the start of “New Jaguar”, walnut dashboards and leather armchairs replaced with ambient lighting, carbon trim and sports seats, more so when facelifted. The all-aluminium coupe featured the venerable V8 and was particularly intoxicating in the convertible – an experience £20,000 cheaper than the Aston Vantage. Unlike its forebears, the X150 offered almost useable back seats, boot space for golf clubs and a price tag some £10,000 less than the 911 convertible. Indeed, demand was so high that values held for three years after launch.
The looks, drive and class kept prices high, the jack-of-all-trades X150 convertible retained two thirds of its £60,000 list price eight years on. Later came the supercharged XKR and hardcore XKR-S models, furthering performance that was recognised by the market. The launch of the F-Type in 2013 made the XK look dated, however, prompting a value decline. By 2014, an X150 convertible was achievable under £30,000, prices tumbling since. Today, a good XK convertible can be had for £20,000, but the extra looks and cool factor mean that’s around 25% more than equivalent coupes. X150s are plentiful and in a state of not classic, not modern at present, meaning there may yet be more depreciation to come.