1981 Jaguar XJ 5.3l V12 Series 3

MODELXJ 5.3 litre V12 Series 3

1981 Jaguar XJ 5.3l V12 Series 3

  • Registered 23 February 1981
  • Two former owners
  • Celebrity ownership
  • Current, third owner from 24th May 1985
  • Dry stored in central London since 8 February 2009
  • Deceased estate
  • Non-runner
  • Please scroll down the page past the video to see the bidding and to read a full description for this lot

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  • Registered 23 February 1981
  • Two former owners
  • Celebrity ownership
  • Current, third owner from 24th May 1985
  • Dry stored in central London since 8 February 2009
  • Deceased estate
  • Non-runner

The Series 3 XJ was created with a little help and some considerable flair by the Italian design house of Pininfarina . It is no surprise the Series 3 is acknowledged as the best looking of Jaguar’s XJ models. A lower roof line, redesigned lamps and bumpers were the key elements of the brief. Pininfarina did a lovely job.

This is one of the thunderously good 5.3 litre V12 engined Jaguars. Jaguar only made 10,500 of these.

On its own, it would be an interesting classic. However, what makes this XJ a little bit special is that this Jaguar was owned by a British actor, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

We are delighted to have the pleasure of bringing it the market for the very first time.


The owner’s name may not be immediately recognised by many of you, but his work and impact most certainly will be.

The actor Brian Jackson enjoyed a career on stage and screen spanning nearly six decades.

However, he will be best known for a non-speaking role in a series of unforgettable TV commercials. Brian played the role of a globetrotting fruit taster searching for only the very best fruits to use in his products.

Once he had uncovered them, the “Man from Del Monte” gave his anxiously waiting audience confirmation this was the one. With a simple nod, the ecstatic growers would proclaim “the Man from Del Monte, he say yes!”.

Brian was much more than an economical but powerful nod of the head though. Born in Lancashire in 1931, he spent five years with the Fleet Air Arm’s photographic service from 1949 as an aircrew photographer, before entering into the theatre. From there he carved out a career, which spanned both stage and television.

His credits were varied, including Carry-On films, The Avengers, Z-Cars and Tomorrows People to name just a few highlights. Some might argue, a golden age of TV for a few of us? Later in his career roles included Doctors and the massive BBC hit, Casualty.

Brian also had had major success with the use of his own recording studio. The composer, Vangelis, recorded the score from the 1981 film Chariots of Fire at his studio.

With the success, Brian managed to buy this marvellous Series 3 Jaguar XJ 12 in 1984 from his friend who we believe was the 2nd owner of the car for a period from December 1984 until Brian bought it from him in May 1985. He has hung on it ever since.

The records show the XJ went into the underground storage in central London, where we viewed it, in 2009. That is where the images in our Gallery are taken.


As you can see the Jaguar has been kept covered during its time in storage, in fact Brian kept the car garaged during his entire ownership.

Once uncovered, it reveals a Jaguar XJ 12 in rather remarkable condition, given the circumstances. We’ll be clear, we didn’t quite know what to expect, but we certainly were not expecting this.

*Please note that there may be a variation in paint colour due to lighting in the garage* but we can confirm that the exterior paintwork is free from major discolouration and fading. The brightwork, bumpers, headlamps, grille, mirrors, etc. are all still original and in good condition. Yes, of course there is some ageing. But as you’ll see, the chrome is free from major serious breakdown.

The black vinyl roof is intact. We have highlighted the places where small defects are apparent, which appear to be due to adhesive. We did not see any evidence of tears or splits.

The front and rear cosmetic lower valance sections appear to have some surface corrosions. As we all understand, these are not structural panels.

On all of the closures, doors, boot and bonnet we have captured the best images the grey winter light would allow. We all know the boot lid is a major water trap and good indicator of the overall condition of any Jaguar. Have a look at the images. You’ll be as taken aback, as we were.

We’ve also captured images around the front and rear screen and scuttle panels.


This Jaguar XJ 12 retains all its original interior. We could not find any evidence of major decay or damage. The interior on these are hard to come by if needed and can be expensive. This one is fine as it is. Brian had the headlining attended to some time back. Today it appears as though it was done very recently. The images are in the Gallery.

The wood, switch gear and dials are all intact. We’ve had some of the carpet up in areas to assess it’s condition and the condition of the floor. Those images are in the Gallery too.

What is remarkable is all the door weatherstrips which allow the Jaguar XJ 12’s doors to close with that satisfying clunk have not deteriorated into that split powdery condition. We have a couple of short video clips, take a look. The original keys operates all the doors, boot lid and fuel filler flaps.


We’ve no need to set out how wonderful, robust and resilient the XJ’s 5.3 litre V12 engine is, you all know that.

We understand the XJ was looked after by a garage, close to central London where Brian lived and where he kept the Jaguar.

We could not check the engine when we viewed the Jaguar. For the avoidance of any doubt, it is of course auctioned as a non-runner and will require an element of recommissioning. Like we do, there are many of you who understand these XJ’s and the V12 in particular. We suspect, like us, you’ll know what needs doing and the opportunity here.

Bottom Line

What an opportunity. An all original, un-restored Jaguar XJ 12 with only three owners from new. One owner for two years, one for just six months and then Brian for over 37 years.

That in itself is worth noting, making it a rare classic. Then add in that history. Now add in that it has been in hibernation since 2009. The MOT history, such as it as, is free from advisories. As much as anything is straightforward, this XJ looks like a comparatively straightforward mechanical recommissioning and overhaul.

The exterior and interior condition will give you good indication of the XJ 12’s overall condition and what does and, importantly, what doesn’t need to be done.

It’s too easy, we know, but if you asked us, we think the man from Del Monte, he would say yes.

NOTE – Let’s be clear, as we do not want anyone to come away with the wrong impression. We have not and did not “inspect” this XJ 12.

Good luck bidding! Please remember, our site uses anti-sniping software which ensures fairness to all bidders. So, if a bid for a lot is received in the last minute, the auction will go into a 2-minute overtime period for each subsequent bid.

Vehicle Location : London W2 – it’s the responsibility of the buyer to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor.

Have a question about this Jaguar XJ 12? Please contact the Evoke team at auction@evoke-classics.com and we will speak to the vendor on your behalf.

Guide Prices?

We’re different. But you know that. And we’re always honest. In a sector where no two classics are same, how does anyone put a ‘guide’.

Well, everyone knows the broad value of classic, let’s all be honest. So we don’t need to tell you what you already know, do we.

The ‘market’ decides and the old cliché that ‘it’s worth what someone wants to pay’ is no less true. So why kid everyone!

But, because we are different, if it really does matter to you, that’s fine, we want you to be happy. Just drop us a line at auction@evoke-classics.com and one of us will be delighted to ring you back and discuss, it’s what we do.

Tedious but it’s vital you read this, please.

We will always strive to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available. However, we can’t claim to be perfect. Your own analysis is very important and we are here to help and also answer any and all queries you may have prior to purchase.

We offer and positively encourage buyers to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding.

If we do take a physical, as opposed to a remote, look at any of the vehicles on our platform, they are not those of a qualified vehicle inspector or other professional. Nor do they include a test drive unless expressly stated.

As with all vehicles of a certain age, localised paint repairs are common. This specifically applies with classics.

So, please, unless we state explicitly to the contrary, please assume that classic vehicles on our platform could have had remedial bodywork of any kind at some point in its life.

Two final comments on images and photos.

The vast majority are supplied by vendors. Camera technology has and continues to improve significantly, but please note and understand that image and sound quality does vary. If you would like vendors to provide more images please ask us and we will contact the vendor for you.

If you are at all unsure, just ask us. It is what we are here for.

Finally, finally, finally. Please note that vehicles are sold as seen and a returns policy is not applicable. This is the norm for used items acquired at auction.

Our Terms and Conditions are here and our FAQS can be found here or contact us: auction@evoke-classics.com

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Contact The Evoke Team


Bidder Bid amount Bid time
s************e £2,500.00 2023-01-04 15:59:51
l**********g £2,250.00 2023-01-04 15:24:58
s************e £2,000.00 2023-01-03 13:56:34
l**********g £2,000.00 2023-01-04 15:24:37
d*********3 £1,500.00 2022-12-29 12:10:27
d*****************m £1,250.00 2022-12-26 16:36:31
l**********g £1,000.00 2022-12-21 10:09:36
Start auction £1,000.00 06/12/2022 12:00 AM


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