A beautiful 1992 Jaguar XJS Elegante owned by Serge Benoit
We have all heard about Serge Benoit… or should we say, we have all “heard” Serge Benoit. Serge has been our “French Voice” at our August Antique & Classic Car Meet for many years. He and Gael Boardman keep the show rolling on the public address system at the 60 year old car event.
Serge lives along the Richelieu River in Sabrevois, Quebec surrounded by, what appears to be, over 1700 square miles of farm land, extending from our border to the St Lawrence River. The vision we Vermonters have is that just a few miles north is Montreal, when all the time there is this beautiful farm land laid out like you would see in our Midwest.
Serge spent over 30 years working for Canadair and Bombardier, both companies very familiar to all of us. He presently works part time for a bus company called “Trans Dev” who operates busses throughout Serge’s area including Montreal, both school busses and transit busses. Serge drives them all. The balance of the time Serge operates the company, he started seventeen years ago called “Eval SB”. If you have your eye on an old car, or even a not-so-old vehicle, you can hire Serge’s company to find if the purchase would be a good idea…or a bad one. His company evaluates 100 to 150 vehicles each year.
Now to the XJS Jaguar that Serge owns. Serge found the car at an estate sale last November and is the third owner. Other than some brake work, the car was ready to head down the highway….or autoroute, so they say up his way. Jaguar made about 115,000 XJS models between 1975 and 1996 with V12 engines in most of them. The “purists”, so Serge calls them, were protesting the car should also have the 3.6-litre Jaguar AJ6 straight-six engine under the hood. The protest worked and 500 XJSs were built with the six cylinder engine.
Serge’s Jag is called the Jaguar XJS Classic and between 1992 and 1996 they made about 8800 2-door coupes and 19,000 2-door convertibles. Transmission choices were the 5-speed automatics (Serge’s car) or the 4-speed manuals.
Jaguar was founded in 1922 and was transformed a number of times with different companies in England, until 1990, when the Ford Motor Company bought Jaguar. Eighteen years later, in 2008, an Indian company by the name of Tata purchased Jaguar and retains ownership today. All Jaguar cars are, however, still built in England.
Sir William Lyons (1901 – 1985), known as “Mr. Jaguar”, was with fellow motorcycle enthusiast William Walmsley, the co-founder in 1922 of the Swallow Sidecar Company, which became Jaguar Cars Limited after the Second World War. Serge said the XJS Jaguar was Mr. Lion’s last “build approval”
Performance wise, the XJS top speed is 150 MPH with a 0 to 60 of 6 seconds. The six cylinder, 24 valve engine produces 240 HP and the V12 engine puts out close to 300 HP. A little, like what Shelby did to Fords, a performance company by the name of “Lister” was asked to make the XJS perform, straight-up, with a Ferrari…..and they did it. They transformed 90 XJSs into 200mph-plus supercars. At over 600 horse power….we all should have one!
In the meantime, Serge’s car is a Grand Touring Jaguar that replaced the beautiful, legionary XKE……and does a great job carrying on the tradition.