Princess Diana Jaguar XJ-SC to star at London Classic Car Show
The one-off Jaguar XJ-SC cabriolet tailor-made for Diana, Princess of Wales is to be showcased by the XJS Club at the 2018 London Classic Car Show
A unique, tailor-made Jaguar XJ-S for Princess Diana, featuring rear seats for young Prince William and Harry, will be on display with the XJS Club at the 2018 London Classic Car Show during February 15-18.
Appearing alongside a host of other automotive icons showcasing the heydays of motoring, most of the vehicles on show will have their own stories to tell – although we doubt they hold the royal connection and intrigue offered up by this big cat.
Fashioned for Diana and capable of 150mph, dating back to 1983 this famous XJ-SC was not only one of the most photographed cars of its era, but also completely bespoke to the Princess’ own specification.
A total of 5,012 XJ-S cabriolets were built in Coventry between 1983 and 1988, all hedonistic two-seaters – except this one. E763 KYX – Diana’s stately XJ-SC – was installed with exclusive rear seats, ensuring that Princes William and Harry could accompany their mother and her bodyguard. It has been claimed and generally accepted that the Princess of Wales enjoyed the pleasure of driving her one-off Jaguar so much, that her bodyguard was rarely seen behind the wheel – relegated to the front passenger seat.
Additionally, the 5.3-litre V12 powered cabriolet dons an individually made, and permanently fixed, rear hard top to ensure the two Princes wouldn’t strike their heads on the solid targa roof bar.
Unlike any other XJ-S, the once royal roadster is tailored with personalised leather and Harris Tweed seat trims, chosen personally by Princess Diana. The exterior bodywork came with four round headlamps, an oddity in the UK but similar to those seen on the US export models. Finished in British Racing Green to match husband Prince Charles’ Aston Martin Vantage, acquired at the same time, the pairing of car and driver was the best advert in Jaguar's history.
Regularly used and seen splashed across the tabloids, the Princess enjoyed use of the majestic prowler from 1987 to 1991. Once the two Princes had outgrown the special rear seats, Diana sold the XJ-SC to the Jaguar Heritage Trust; an educational charity established to preserve the legacy of Jaguar for the nation. This was also in exchange for a contribution to one of her own charitable causes.
Replaced by a Mercedes 500SL the following year, this move proved to be a controversial decision, down to the ideal that no member of the Royal Family had purchased a foreign car in living memory – despite the fact they are German. As a leased vehicle, viewed as something of an indignity within the Royal Family, Diana couldn't take the heat and handed her Mercedes back within a year.
‘The London Classic Car Show is littered with cars boasting their own remarkable histories,’ said Bas Bungish, event director.
‘There are F1 single-seaters raced in period by world champions such as Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher and getaway cars involved in staking out The Great Train Robbery. Princess Diana’s very own Jaguar is another of these evocative exhibits which will certainly conjure up many fond recollections among our visitors who really appreciate nostalgia.
‘Seeing the two Princes today, it’s hard to remember that they were once a pair of little boys strapped into those special passenger seats behind their mother. How time flies!’
Exhibited at ExCel by the XJS Club, one of an unprecedented number of enthusiastic clubs putting on dedicated displays, the tailor-briefed Jaguar is set to attract serious attention.
Classic car collectors, experts, owners and enthusiasts can take advantage of serious discounts by booking in advance through the London Classic Car Show official website.
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