XJS UK Version - Keep or swap?


I own my UK based (RHD) Xjs V12 (1986) since 1998, more or less. As a good UK version, it has quite a lot of rust. Although I believe it is not structural, it will take a good deal of repairs to get it right.

Recently a good LHD shell has crossed my way, and I am tempted on doing a 100% swap from my old RHD to a “new” LHD.

Cost wise, it makes sense, as the LHD shell is in very good structural condition. Paint will be needed, but rust wise, it´s like a California car.

I consider myself an average home mechanic; having replaced the front crossmember from the XJS once in the past, and a fair bit of engine work on my back; quite a lot of car work, and several restored motorcycles.

Project would involve “moving” everything from my UK car shell to my newer shell; repairing what is needed in the process. I find this is fun, interesting and motivating; but also a bit scary.

Question to the group: What do you think? Have I gone crazy and I better stay with my UK car, or should I take the plunge, and get into the swap everything project?


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Achmed :face_with_spiral_eyes:, first, a question: do you want to drive in the car with the dummy, or do you want to sit there on the bench and watch him work on the car? :grin:

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Hardest thing would be swapping the engine and trans from the one car to the other.
Next hardest thing will be swapping front and rear suspension.
The rest is easy.

If you are up to it you will have a pristine car as you will have the chance to paint the LHD shell in and out with almost everything dismantled, and do a good revision of the engine while it’s out.
A big project though and will cost a fair amount.



Please clarify what is/is not there.

Could be a fun project. Or one that lingers on forever.

I’m similarly situated. My '85 Series III V12 is in fine shape mechanically and is a sweetheart to drive but rust has taken hold. I’m considering finding a better car to swap the drivetrain into.


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If you’ve got the space, time, and money to do it, it would be a great project.
Of course, once you’ve prepped and painted the shell, everything else will look shabby. Let the downward spiral begin!

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Shell. Just body. Some body parts (non rusted door & rear lids) will be original, rest will come from my donor car. My donor car is 100% complete (and rusted) and engine runs nice even with 133k miles on it.

Thank you all for your replies. I believe it´s a bit of a dream project.

Scares the hell out of me the engine and gearbox removal; the front and rear wheel cradles (although I already replaced one!), and especially, scares me the “while I am there factor”. Aircon, heater core, evaporator… while I am there, let´s replace it.

Room is another worry. I have a large garage, but I fear my wife will finally kick me out, as I will invade all available space.

And yet another worry; moving around a car shell sounds really difficult to me.

I have been thinking on all the things from my UK car that will not fit into my EU car.

  • Dashboard
  • Brake booster?
  • Steering column?
  • Handbrake mechanism?

I would think … which is dangerous at times … that the body shell would be the same, dash size the same (maybe different instruments?), but I suspect that the things being swapped should fit.

Otherwise, Jaguar would have needed two or more assembly lines, not just RHD/LHD assembly differences.

Interested what the others say.


I know nothing about XJSs, but my 1955 XK140 has a ‘handed’ bodyshell. I had to work out pedal positions and steering column mount positions when I converted it from LHD to RHD. Several brackets in the engine bay were wrong - I had to cut off the LHD ones, make mirror image copies in steel and spot weld them in the correct positions for RHD. So I wouldn’t assume that the bodyshells are the same, especially in a more modern car. You need to find out if the metalwork behind the dash is the same, the steering mounts are the same, and the pedal boxes etc. are transferable (they are very unlikely to be the same!). Could be a lot of measuring, cutting and welding required.

Found this:

I´m starting to have serious doubts I´ll be able to finish this in my lifetime…

Maybe. But if you are 19 yrs old and start tomorrow, completion should coincide with early retirement.


Plus, alle the petrol money you’re saving while working on it will pay for a lot of shiny parts.


Thank you all.

I have finally decided not to advance with the project. There are many things I would be totally out of depth with, and would be a challenge with a real possibility of not being able to finish it.

In terms of cash needed, space and time; I fear it will be a never ending downward spiral.

Yes; the final result would probably be good enough… but.

So; I’ll stick to my uk version as long as I have fun with it, and we’ll see in the future.