This Viper-Powered Jaguar is a Combination of Brawn and Beauty

Cars that can rip your face off are rarely this elegant.

byJoe D'Allegro|
Jaguar News photo


Celebrate the special relationship between the U.S. and Great Britain with this Dodge Viper-powered Jaguar XJ-S Cabriolet. The black 1989 Jaguar was gifted years ago with a V10 crate motor, a manual transmission, and reasonably subtle alloy wheels by Hesco, a performance shop in Birmingham, Ala.

Tom Mack Classics in Charlotte, N.C., has the listing, and Proxibid is handling an online auction of this unique ride through the end of the week.

The Jag's new(er) engine isn't as silken smooth as the 5.3-liter V12 it originally came with. But, the Viper mill reportedly packs 500-plus horsepower, making it far more powerful. The V12 XJ-S had 295 horsepower from the factory in European trim, but Americans lost 22 ponies due to emissions equipment. The simple and robust Viper mill should be substantially easier to live with, as well. Big Jaguar engines from the '80s (and '70s) were not known for reliability.

The XJ-S (designated without the hyphen as XJS from 1991 on) is Jaguar's longest-running model. It enjoyed a 22-year production run from 1975 to 1996. The luxurious grand tourer stretched nearly 16 feet long and was less sporty than the car it replaced, Jaguar's iconic E-Type. The new car was decently quick though, able to exceed 140 miles per hour and accelerating to 60 in less than 8 seconds. Offered in coupe, targa, convertible, and even shooting-brake form, more than 115,000 were produced.

That relatively high production number makes this particular engine swap amusing, rather than sacrilegious. These Jags simply aren't that rare. How the swap will affect the selling price is unknown, but it'd be surprising if it doesn't exceed the $13,300 the NADA Guides say an average 1989 XJ-S convertible goes for.

Read commentary on the sale at Bring a Trailer.

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