It’s no wonder that a company started by two motorcycle enthusiasts has made some of the most popular and exciting convertible and drophead vehicles of all time. We are talking about the one and only: Jaguar.
The name Jaguar is synonymous with luxury vehicles. With popular saloon sedan styles and eye-catching sports cars and convertible roadsters, Jaguar has something for every car owner. The Jaguar convertible top has been a popular option since the company's earliest days in the 1920s, when it was known as the Swallow Sidecar company. The company name was changed to Jaguar in the wake of WWII to avoid the "SS" initials. The Jaguar luxury brand has been going strong ever since.
Jaguar once had a tagline of “Grace...Space...Pace.” and easily achieved this mantras. When you are a convertible lover, the “Space” is literally sky high when you are cruising with the top down on a cabrio Jag. Jaguar’s reputation for wrapping performance, handling, value and comfort in an ultra stylish package has made them one of the most popular vehicle makes of all time. Jaguar is even one of the very select automotive companies in the world with a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. The company has also created cars for the British Prime Minister in recent years.
Collectors still appreciate the eye-catching roadsters and dropheads that Jaguar produced from 1949 to 1961 with the XK120, XK140 and XK150. The XK120 was the first roaster produced after the SS was dropped from the model names. The “120” portion of the marquee stood for the max speed that the initial aluminum body styles could achieve, making it the fastest production car in the world at the time of its release. (Later they switched to heavier steel and sacrificed some speed.) The XK140 was the successor to the XK120 and was very similar. It was offered in an open two seater (OTS) roadster, a drophead coupe (DHC) and a fixed head coupe (FHC). The 1956 XK140 model was also the first Jaguar sports car to offer an automatic transmission. Next up was the XK150, which hearkened to the prior models, but had more significant changes to the body style. It initially was launched in a drophead coupe (DHC) and fixed head coupe (FHC) only, but one year later Jaguar launched a roadster. Canvas tops were standard in these years.
After that, the infamous Jaguar E-Type convertible top (also known as the Jaguar XK-E convertible top) sports car was sold from 1961-1974 and became an instant hit. An icon of 1960’s automotive style, the replacement Jaguar E-Type convertible top remains a strong seller in the classic car market. The famous Enzo Ferrari, called the Jaguar E-Type soft top “The most beautiful car ever made” and it’s hard to argue against it. With the sleek and sexy lines that have influenced many cars since (including the rest of the Jaguar sports cars). The first production range was from 1961-1967 and was simply referred to as the E-Type (XK-E in the North American market). Later, when the E-Type continued production through 1971 as the XKE series 2 E-Type, the first production range become by default the “series 1”. The second series changes were largely driven by U.S. safety and emissions regulations. A third series was released from 1972-1974 with a XKE V12 E-Type which had a longer wheelbase, but generally kept true to the stunning lines of the original. It also had an even more powerful engine. At the release of the XK-E, Jaguar convertibles started to use British Everflex vinyl, which had a crush-grained leatherette look that was durable and attractive.
Jaguar made a bit of a departure from the sports car look of the E-Series/XKE when they released the a few models based on the XJ grand touring saloon. The XJ line has been in continuous production since the late 1960s. From 1986 to 1988, Jaguar contracted XJS Hess & Eisenhardt and Car Craft versions which were produced from 1986-1988. Also from 1986-1988 the XJ-SC cabriolet targa was released, which offered a unique t-top design and was still based on the XJ concept. Finally in 1988, the XJ-S cabriolet was launched and was a success. It was renamed the XJS in 1991 and even added a 2+2 convertible. Its classic (some may say "old fashioned") styling has remained a favorite with Jaguar XJS soft top aficionados perhaps because it had appealing sleek lines even with its larger size. The Jaguar XJS convertible top is one of the world's most popular full-size luxury soft tops. Factory original convertible tops came in A5 German Sonnenland canvas.
The next phase of Jaguar convertibles was a grand touring based model in the Jaguar XK series, which had 2+2 convertibles. In 1997, the XK based XK8 was released with the XKR being a supercharged version with more sporty details. The first generation of these XK models had retro lines that harkened back to the ‘60s models E-Types and had a following as a result. They also included the newly developed V8 engine. The second generation XK (X150) model had body changes, again to echo E-Type elements. The performance tweaked XKR in this generation even had the 1961 style E-Type front grill. Convertibles in this series came with German A5 Sonnenland canvas. These great looking grand tourers were produced through 2014, when they gave way to the F-Type line that tried even harder to live up to the E-Type roots. The F-Type line (starting in 2013) offered a soft top with a sleek sports car design that achieves Jaguar’s history of high performance, great style and good handling.
Overall, there is a lot of variety with Jaguar convertible models, but the common thread is luxury styling, great handling and good value. The E-Type is arguably the most successful and infamous of the Jag convertibles produced and its popular, appealing lines made their mark on future Jaguars that came after it. We hope you’ve enjoyed this “grand tour” down the Jaguar memory lane. If you have a Jaguar convertible in need of freshening up, we would love to supply you with a high-quality and reliable replacement convertible top to get you equipped for every journey ahead.
When replacing your Jaguar convertible top, it’s important to select a top that uses factory-original templates and designs. TopsOnline carries the best replacement convertible top brands in the industry and even offers a few budget and private label convertible tops if you are looking to save money. All of our tops have a guaranteed fit and come with a warranty. TopsOnline carries factory original fabrics, in original colors, but also offers other colors and materials to provide options for every budget and taste. We look forward to seeing your convertible Jaguar maintain its value and prestige with a TopsOnline Jaguar top.