The darndest things cross your path at the junkyard and while Jaguars are not uncommon (shocking, I know), this is the first used up XK8 I’ve come across here in Northern Colorado. X-Types are the most commonly junked Jags by far, then probably the XJ40 followed by the XJ X300/308 series cars from the mid-90’s to 2003 and then the XJ-S, usually the V12 models, with an occasional XJ6 mixed in as well every now and again.
We might as well go straight to the money shot, that long, low prow couldn’t belong to anything but a Jaguar and still looks good. I don’t think I was completely taken by the overall shape when this was released back in 1996, but time has softened that stance and I find them mostly quite alluring from the majority of angles these days.
Styled by Fergus Pollock under Geoff Lawson’s direction I don’t know if it could have actually ended up looking any different than it did. This was of course in the middle of the Ford era and knowing that, some things actually look sort of Ford-ish, led by the rear taillights and the side markers along with the bumper shapes. Somehow I’m seeing Ford Contour the longer I look at this, hmm, that’s getting awkward. Better look away then, I suppose.
The XK series of cars (XK8 and the supercharged XKR) ended up being a pretty good success for Jaguar with just over 90,000 produced over about a decade. Convertible XK8s accounted for just over half that figure, XK8 coupes another almost 20,000, then almost 10,000 XKR coupes and just under 14,000 XKR convertibles made up the mix. So this one here is one of the most common variants, common being a relative term of course.
Under that long bonnet lies Jaguar’s AJ-V8 4.0-litre V8, this 32-valve engine was new at the time the XK was introduced and produced 290hp as well as 290lb-ft of torque routed through a ZF five-speed automatic box. Early models were produced with troublesome Nikasil bore liners but this was eventually corrected. Apparently to save time and money, the floorpan is actually a carryover from the old XJS, but everything attached to it was new.
The folding top was designed by Karmann and included a heated rear window. This one looks to be in fine condition for a car that’s had a few little scrapes here and there. I suppose at the time a Mercedes SL would have been the obvious competitor, by then Jaguars were certainly better than their earned reputation but it’d be a difficult decision I think if money weren’t a significant issue – and it probably wasn’t for those considering these cars when new.
Boot space is actually fairly enormous, with plenty of room for a couple of people’s worth of luggage for the journey from Coventry down to Provence or perhaps Boston to Miami.
Inside is typical 90’s-2000’s Jaguar with a wide slab of walnut, that J-gate shifter, and lots of soft leather and carpets to match in a greige color motif here. The wood on this one was delaminating under the glossy finish somehow, making for a somewhat different textural effect than originally intended.
The way that cushion in the rear is scrunched up is probably a pretty good approximation of how any passengers back here would look as well, it’s tight. No, that isn’t oodles of legroom, for some reason the front seatbacks were locked into a fully upright position with the seats all the way forward.
Twenty years ago you’d have felt like MONEY behind the wheel of this particular car, twenty weeks ago probably not so much. Nothing seems to age faster than light-colored leather on a steering wheel and this one is no exception. I tend to try to stop breathing when leaning into these cars, but I doubt the original rich leather smell remains without being inclined to verify for myself.
This was no garage queen either, knocking on 140k miles as of a few years ago is a pretty good result for what was a somewhat sensitive engine as far as coolant and maintenance were concerned. I’m sure the boys at Jiffy-Lube can usually do a good job, but I wouldn’t take my Toyota to them, let alone a Jaguar.
The big and shiny sill plates still look like they’d polish up nicely too.
But this Kitty probably peed on the carpet one too many times, so it was time to go. Even the flyest rides come back to earth eventually and this one’s time had apparently come.