In 1985 Jochen Arden introduced the Arden AJ2, a Jaguar XJ-S based Convertible conversion. The Arden AJ2 was introduced three years before the official works Jaguar XJ-S with fully retractable soft top became available (1988). From 1983 onwards Jaguar did offer the XJ-SC which was a Targa-Cabriolet with a roof that opened partially. Arden with their 1985 AJ2 however, wasn't the first company to build an XJ-S with fully retractable softtop, to offer what Browns Lane (i.e. the Jaguar Factory) refused to; Lynx Engineering had been building XJ-S Spiders since the beginning of the 1980s and various US-based companies also offered similar conversions, Hess & Eisenhardt being the most famous of them.
Arden based their AJ2 Convertible on the Coupe version of the Jaguar XJ-S because it simply was cheaper than the factory XJ-SC "Targa" Cabriolet and the XJ-SC's construction wasn't strong enough to make the conversion that much easier than to just start with the Coupe. The XJ-SC also was a 2-seater, whereas the XJ-S Coupe did have the small seats (that could hardly seat an adult) which Arden want to be retained.
The cost of the conversion that turned an XJ-S Coupe into an Arden AJ2 Convertible was 50,000 DM in 1985, with the base XJ-S costing 75,000 DM at that time
"At the top options are limited".... Advert from a German car magazine from the mid-1980s.
The Arden AJ2 looked very much like a factory effort.
Text: copyright Bram Corts