Concepts and Prototypes : Daimler XJ-S

A brief look at what might have been…

FOLLOWING the introduction of the HE version of Jaguar’s V12 engine in the early 1980s, sales of the XJS were riding high, in relative terms at least. This led Jaguar management to wonder whether any extra potential could be wrung from a Daimler version of the car.

And so it was that this prototype model (which apparently still resides with Jaguar) was prepared, with traditional Daimler fluting applied to the front grille and bootlid escutcheon plate, and wheels borrowed from the contemporary Daimler saloons. But the biggest difference, of course, was the removal of the XJS’s hallmark flying buttresses, making this effectively a fixed-head version of the XJS-C – similar in concept to the fixed-head coupe offered by Banham Conversions.

In the end the car never saw the light of day, as it was decided that the Daimler marque should be restricted to saloons and limousines. Perhaps memories of Daimler’s last coupé offering, the awkwardly-styled SP250 (1959-64), also played a part in that decision…

Echoes of the past…

The story of the Daimler XJS recalls the fate of another car that might have become a Daimler coupé. The Ogle SX250, which made its debut at the 1962 London Motor Show, had been produced as a private commission, but the fact that it was based on Daimler’s SP250 led to speculation that it would become that car’s replacement.

However, that option was ruled out by parent company Jaguar, who had other ideas for the Daimler marque. Thus, the SP250 was never replaced, while the Ogle SX250 went on to become the Reliant Scimitar…

Keith Adams


  1. Back in the eighties when I was still at school, one of the girls in my class’ Dad was a big fan on the XJS and had two of them. One was a standard car but the other was very unusual. It seemed to have a slightly stretched wheelbase over standard, and a strange notchback shape. The rear window was near vertical and the roof was vinyl covered, it was also a C prefix reg.  The Dad reckoned the car was a one off and he planned to hang onto it as it would be worth something some time in the future. For some reason I’ve been thinking about that car recently and what happened to it. No idea if it was a Jag built car or an aftermarket special either. Any ideas?

  2. It sounds loike the LWB version of the Guy Salmon XJS did the front have a shrunken XJ-6 like grill and a naf-o’matic Leaper nailed to the bonnet with 4 round headlights?

  3. This looks like a very desirable car and better looking than the Jaguar version, though I was always a big fan.

  4. Whether the ageing XJS should have been launched as a Daimler is a moot point, however, I can’t help thinking that they missed a trick by not revising the roofline as per this prototype.

    That said, in the 90s they did successfully rehash the XJS with larger plastic bumpers and elegant alloys- an object lesson in how to refresh a tired design.

  5. I prefer this Daimler version without the flying buttresses. The Jaguar XJS was never a favourite looker of mine though.

  6. It could have done well, but could have harmed sales of the Jaguar version, so was never produced. However, the early eighties were an optimistic time for Jaguar Daimler, with rising sales, better quality and a good range of cars, and I’m not surprised they thought about making a Daimler XJS. OTOH I wonder what a Daimler Limousine with the V12 would have been like, a real flying machine with wedding car styling.

  7. Some years ago I purchased from Durham a maroon coloured 1988 xjs convertible straight six manual the front and rear wings are flaird of steel the exsisting wings are still underneath, its got wide wheels and spacers, no bumpers front or back twin headlights, I,am in the process of restoring it and would love to have some history about it,

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