This identification guide has been written for the first series of Jaguar XJS coupe and cabriolet cars enhanced by Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). Specifically, this guide deals with the cars made by TWR prior to the 1988 formation of 'JaguarSport' (the joint venture between Jaguar and TWR). From the end of 1984, TWR (under the name of 'TWR JaguarSport' but prior to the joint venture), offered sporting versions of the XJS. Various bodywork, trim and engine upgrade options were available on both the 3.6 litre 6-cylinder and 5.3 litre V12 vehicles. These cars are particularly unique and rare, often misrepresented and misunderstood due to the poor record keeping for the pre-1988 cars. Further confusion is caused by the production of later XJS 'JaguarSport' cars to similar specifications.
The TWR XJS vehicles started out as a standard XJS coupes or cabriolets, and were sent by dealers or existing owners to the TWR factory for heavy modification to the customer's personal liking. There are a number of unique and important features distinguishing these from the standard XJS. This guide outlines a number of features unique to the original pre-1988 Jaguar XJS TWR vehicles.
Production numbers and markets:
- Total production:
The TWR Jaguars were available through approximately 10 dealerships across the UK, with a number of left hand drive cars delivered to Europe and the USA. Specific export numbers are not known, and several British cars have since made their way to markets such as Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, even Jaguar Heritage has stated that they are not aware of any data on the pre-88 TWR cars. This was largely due to the fact that dealers and customers could both deal with the TWR factory directly. We have, however, confirmed from an old article, that the pre-'JaguarSport' TWR factory had capacity to produce three cars per week (thanks to ‘Motorsport Magazine’, February 1984). Assuming full demand production from late 1984 – 1988, this would indicate that it is likely only several hundred were produced. This is consistent with many estimates which we have seen on Jaguar forums during our research.
- V12 6.0 litre production:
It was widely believed that only a small portion of the several hundred cars produced included the 6.0l engine upgrade. Since publising this information guide, we have been contacted by several engineers who worked in the TWR factory and have been able to share with us some of their intricate knowledge. Importantly, one of those engineers has provided a table confirming 39 vehicles that received the 6.0 litre conversion. The table includes the majority of the engine numbers for those converted V12 units. A copy of this table is provided in Section 6 of this guide - "engine and gearbox numbers".
Period of manufacture:
No specific production dates have been confirmed, however, it is generally accepted that the pre-'Jaguar-Sport' cars were produced from late 1984 through to late 1988, just after 'JaguarSport' was formed. Jaguar Sport was formed in May 1988, however, it is cited in “Sports Sponsorship and Brand Development: The Subaru and Jaguar Stories“, that production of individual vehicles (not under the 'JaguarSport' Marque) continued until late 1988, probably due to pre-existing orders with customers. It is also should be considered that pre-1984 cars may have also been received TWR upgrades, as the conversions were not necessarily limited to new vehicles from 1984 - 1988
If you have further information on the vehicles covered by this guide, please get in contact with us. This information guide has been written based on a variety of online and published sources, and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided. You should always make and rely on your own enquiries when purchasing a vehicle.
The early TWR cars had many features similar to their 1988 onward 'JaguarSport' counterparts, and many features noted here are not necessarily unique to the 1988 or earlier TWR cars (unless specified). Many XJS cars have been fitted with TWR body kits and Speedline wheels, and aftermarket kits are still available. Therefore, those exterior features must be read in context with other identification criteria to establish whether a vehicle is a genuine TWR conversion.
Early XJS TWR enhanced cars had the following interior features:
Optional woodgrain centre boss finishes were also available, with examples provided in the images. Note, the later 1988 onward Jaguarsport joint venture vehicles were fitted with steering wheels that had a slightly different design and “Sport” embossed on the centre.
Further details of the TWR interior feautures are being researched. Please contact us or comment below if you are aware of any additional unique interior features applied to TWR's early XJS cars.
There is limited information on the available paint colours for early TWR cars. Discussion we have viewed on enthusiast forums suggest that TWR used both Jaguar factory colours, as well as others (including other manufacturer colours). We have found that many Jaguar factory colours were used as the primary upper body colour on most cars (presumably un-altered from their original paint).
A common trait of the early TWR cars is their two tone bodywork. This is far more common on the early pre-JaguarSport cars than on the later models, but is not necessarily a strict identification rule, as we have seen exceptions on both sides. In addition to the lower body contrasting colour, sometimes (albeit rarely) the 'Speedline' wheels were also matched to the lower body colour.
Checking the paint code:
By checking the vehicle's build plate or paint/trim plate, you can usually confirm whether or not the upper body colour of the two tone scheme would be the original Jaguar factory colour, as TWR never removed these original tags from cars. However, TWR also made no reference to the secondary colour applied to the lower half of the vehicle (unless you have access to the original order documentation). The original Jaguar paint code can be found on the car's build plate, or may also be contained on a separate paint/trim tag. These tags are located on the inner fender/mudguard in the engine bay as shown in the images.
Main body colours seen during our research (Therefore, colours may not be limited to these):
|Colour Name||Colour Code|
Lower panel colours seen during our research:
|Colour Name||Colour Code|
|Tender Blue||V3 (Mazda colour)|
If you have any further information on early TWR paint colours, please contact us or comment below so we can update this section.
Unfortunately, the chassis number on an early TWR XJS will not determine whether it is a genuine TWR car. Further, the TWR conversion was available for older XJS models, and existing owners of pre-1984 cars may have had the conversion. That aside, we do loosely assume that a large portion of TWR cars would have been models from the 84 - 88 production year range. The chassis number applicable to the 1984 – 1988 TWR XJS is simply a standard XJS chassis number, as TWR did not alter these basic details during their modification process, nor did they apply any of their own "stampings" into the body/chassis.
The chassis number may, however, appear on original TWR documentation (if available with a car), and it can be used in determining the vehicle’s original specification prior to modification by TWR, and will importantly confirm whether the vehicle’s age / body style corresponds with the pre-1988 era.
The XJS will typically have a 17 digit chassis number. For example:
SAJJNAEW3BA###### = XJS HE V12 coupe, automatic transmission
SAJJNACC8CC###### = XJ-SC 3.6l 4VC cabriolet, manual transmission
This can be interpreted using the below table.
Chassis Number / VIN location:
The chassis number on a TWR XJS is located in several positions:
Forum discussion suggests that some cars were also fitted with TWR ID plates on the back of the doors and in the engine bay. We have not been able to verify this, and this was perhaps something that was done on later models, rather than on the early TWR cars. Please contact us or comment below if you have further information.
|Digit position||Digit meaning||Applicable code for TWR XJS|
|Digits 1 - 3||Company||SAJ = Jaguar Cars, Limited|
|Digit 4||Manufacturer||J = Jaguar|
|Digit 5||Model line||N = XJ-S|
|Digit 6||Market||A = UK/Europe market car. We understand that this code applies to all early XJS TWR cars|
|Digit 7||Body style||E = Coupe, C = XJ-SC Cabriolet|
|Digit 8||Engine type||B = 3.6 4VB, C = 3.6 4VC or 4Y, D = 3.6 4VD or 4.0 4Y, E = 3.6 4VE, K = 5.3 F, S = 6.0, V = 5.3 A, W = 5.3 B, X = 5.3 C, Y = 5.3 D, Z = 5.3|
|Digit 9||Transmission||3 = Automatic & RHD, 4 = Automatic & LHD, 7 = Manual & RHD, 8 = Manual & LHD|
|Digit 10||Model||B = HE Coupe, C = Cabriolet|
|Digit 11||Manufacture plant||C = Browns Lane UK|
|Digits 12 - 17||Unique serial #||Sequential unique serial number|
TWR offered a range of modifications to the standard XJS. We have started to develop a list of the various codes and their associated modifications here, including promotional material associated with the cars.
We have been advised of a couple of interesting points by one of our members with respect to the TWR options:
If anyone has further information or can clarify the outstanding codes, that could be greatly appreciated (please contact us or comment below):
We have now confirmed the majority of the TWR options and associated codes for the XJS. Some of these are demonstrated in an original TWR spec sheet / customer order sheet in the attached images.
|Option Code||Option Description|
|A||Low drag body kit|
|A1||Special bumper kit (For North American market)|
|B1||8" x 16" low drag Speedline alloy wheels fitted with Goodyear special N.C.T. Eagle 225/50 VR16 (front) and 245/55 VR16 (rear) tyres.|
|B2||7.5" x 15" low drag alloy wheel (sold in singles).|
|C||TWR suspension kit. (Bilstein shocks, stiffened front anti-roll bar & uprated suspension bushes).|
|D||TWR brake kit|
|E||TWR engine efficiency kit.|
|F||TWR steering wheel.|
|G1||Manual gearbox (5-speed close ratio)|
|G2||Automatic gearbox quick shift kit.|
|G3||Automatic gearshift lever (Screw on leather type as used on XJR-S)|
|H||6.1 V12 engine|
|J||Body trims black (satin black finish).|
|K||Security wheel nuts.|
|L||TWR power assisted steering valve.|
|N||Jaguarsport Badge (Stick on badge - owner could choose location)|
|TBC||Full flow exhaust and silencer system (low back pressure stainless steel exhaust system).|
Further confirmation of the originality of a TWR vehicle may be available by looking at the service books for the car. Generally, TWR converted cars were services (at least the first few times) at the TWR workshops, and would have TWR service stamps in the service schedule documentation. Original TWR letters and specification sheets (like the one shown in the images) would also confirm the vehicle’s originality, but many of these documents are misplaced and most cars we have seen for sale have not come with this documentation.
Checking the engine number on a TWR XJS will enable you to confirm that the engine is the correct type in accordance with the chassis plate and the era of TWR modification. The engine number is therefore an important indicator for a TWR converted vehicle.
3.6 litre inline-6 engine number:
The early TWR 6 cylinder XJS cars had the 3.6 litre AJ6 engine fitted. This engine had a number prefix beginning with “9DPAMA”, followed by a 6 digit unique serial number. The important part of this code is the second digit “D”, which confirms that the engine is the 3.6l, making it correct for the early era TWR cars. This number is important, as the same block was also adapted in other forms such as 4.0l, which is indicated by another engine number code.
The engine number for the 3.6l inline AJ6 engine is located next to the distributor, on the right hand side of the engine block. Examples showing this location in greater detail are provided in the images.
5.3 litre V12 engine number:
Since being provided with a list of 6.1 litre engine numbers which underwent TWR conversion (provided by a former TWR employee), it appears the TWR upgrades were done to both the HE and pre-HE V12 engine.
The HE V12 engine has a serial number beginning prefix “8S”, followed by a 5 – 6 digit unique serial number. An example of the engine number on a V12 HE block is shown in the images.
The pre-HE engine has a serial number beginning with prefix "7P", followed by a 5– 6 digit unique serial number. An exa,[;e pf yje engine number on a pre-HE V12 block is shown in the images.
The engine number for the V12 is stamped into the engine block at the rear top centre (between the V) just before the join with the transmission casing. A TWR V12 will retain the original 5.3l engine number prefix, however should also have its unique TWR engine number stamped into the rear of the casting at the rear of the V. Based on the records we have been provided with (see here), it is believed that just 39 V12 6.1 litre conversions were completed.
TWR engine settings plate:
There should also be an aluminium identification plate (on top of the intake manifold) indicating the TWR engine settings. An image has been included in the gallery Courtesy of Alistair McKay who has provided several images from his early TWR car. The image provided shows the settings for the V12 engine.
The early XJS TWR cars were potentially upgraded with the following mechanical features. The extent of the mechanical features present will be different from car to car, and depend on the requests of the initial customer, and this section simply outlines all the potential modifications available at the time. Many customers opted only for the body kit and Speedline wheels, rather than the costly engine and exhaust modifications. A fully specified TWR XJS would have added over £30,000 to the cost of the car when new.
The following sources, among input from many enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.
Kevin John Kingen
Hi, I am trying to determine if my 1988 XJS is a TWR Enhanced version. I recently had it sandblasted and painted, at which time I lost the build plate. The car has some of the features mentioned. The VIN is SAJJNAEW3BA151084 and the engine number is 8S059467HA if this helps. If it is a TWR is it possible to find out what features it should have? Many thanks, Kevin.
Just found this page tonight. I have a 1985 XJS TWR. It has many of the features shown in these pages, including the TWR steering wheel, Speedline wheels, AP Racing front brakes, vented rotor rear brakes, etc. I also have an original poster for the TWR. I have done all the repairs myself over the 19 years I have owned the car, and have many photos of it. I will upload some photos later. The car is currently on Vancouver Island. The TWR shown in Wikipedia is my car.
Global Classic Car Club
Thanks for your comment Alan, looks like a very nice car you have. Let us know if you need any assistance getting your images uploaded to the site - would be great to get your car on the register here! If you have any info you think could be added to the guide here, don't hesitate to contact us.
Global Classic Car Club
Thanks very much for your comments Ikuma, much appreciated! We will make adjustments to the guide.