Recently, an acquaintance of mine found himself in need of a solid running car on the cheap. And since he knows me as “that guy who never shows up in the same vehicle twice,” naturally he decided to give me a call.
Unfortunately for him, my driveway is looking a bit empty as of late. With scrap prices hitting their yearly highs in past weeks, I’ve been mostly focused on stripping and crushing my small stable of parts cars. Plus, it’s winter and around here, private party car sales tend to be more or less dead in these months of below-zero temps. This means I haven’t spent much time hunting for deals.
The only things in my personal fleet not currently hibernating to avoid road salt are the Suburban and the faux Touring Sedan.
But he needed a car. Any old car, so long as it was in nice shape and could be had as quickly as he could ready his funds. Sensing a one-time opportunity to unload my faux Touring Sedan for a stronger price than I’d get on craigslist, I decided to float the idea.
So clean! So comfortable! So inexpensive!
Looks like someone else will get to install the gray lower trim I finally finished collecting, the FE3 swaybars and brand-new FE3 front struts I scored for $30, and all the other goodies I didn’t find time to apply. And although the final price was slightly more than your typical 98 would bring, he was happy to have found a rustless, rock-solid runner with new tires and under 100K miles, for less than any car lot’s “back row special”. Swapped-in leather interior and alloy wheels? So much the better!
Though the Olds isn’t gone quite yet, it will be soon–and so I find myself in need of a new daily driver.
I had been hot on the trail of a gold 2001 Regal GS (the supercharged variety), which was claimed to have only 105K miles. Its retirement had come after it sustained some light front end damage, much like the car shown. But its owner was an inexperienced seller, missing my calls, holding appointments for people who clearly weren’t serious buyers, and just generally not knowing a good deal when offered.
Having owned two GSes, and several other W-bodies, it was a natural fit. It might have been a great find for $1300, but I’ll never know–after three days of playing phone tag, I gave up.
So it was back to searching. As I mentioned earlier, the pool is pretty well dry. Only the truly desperate seem to be listing anything on craigslist at this time of year, junkyards are closed for the season, and no one is putting vehicles in their front yard to sell (mostly because there’s too much snow piled up).
But then, I happened upon this 1988 Jaguar XJ6.
Jags really weren’t on my radar, and never have been. I fear the unknowns, the expensive parts, the wiring that’s only hilarious when someone else is working on it. But perhaps this one would be different.
It was advertised by a man who claimed to be its second owner, the first being related to him. It had 80,000 miles, and its ad contained a laundry list of maintenance items claimed to be recently replaced (brakes, rotors, pads, wheel bearings, front tranny seal, various fluids/filters, etc). It supposedly ran and drove fine, and even came with a sizable stash of parts the owner had been saving after buying and stripping a parts car some years back.
Of course, it wasn’t without a few flaws. The tires were getting low on tread, the fenders had begun to develop a small spot of rust on each of the doglegs, and the night-time illumination for the instrument panel was not working. But on the bright side, it was priced to move–$1200 is all it would take to own it.
I’m someone looking for a daily driver on the cheap. Someone who does his own wrenching and could conceivably tow himself home if (who am I kidding, it’s a Jaguar–make that when) needed. Someone who tends to turn over cheap rides biannually. Someone who’s willing to tolerate blue leather. Considering all that, I could see it.
But that’s assuming it passes muster. I’ve been reading lots of things like this recently, trying to familiarize myself with Jag-speak and the various signs of impending doom. Even so, I know that no amount of reading can match the experience of owning a particular vehicle and that, generally, you pay for your education with your first ill-advised purchase of any given model.
It might be a deal. But if it’s not, I’ll have no problem letting it go. I have no particular burning desire to own a Jaguar; it’s just another car I’ve never owned, but might enjoy spending some time with.
Since I need more projects like I need more holes in my head, I want to be fairly sure I’ve covered my bases before taking on what might be a bottomless money pit. And if the likelihood of a positive outcome is just too low, it’s probably best I simply skip it altogether.
Am I losing my mind? Possibly. But I always hate to pass up any chance to get a good car at a good price.
So… have any of you ever owned an XJ40? If so, what were your experiences? And what advice (other than “hold out for a newer model”) would you offer to someone like me, preparing to head off into unfamiliar territory?
I’ve never owned one but had three friends who did… and was happy I steered clear or them. Was a great car if you need the excuse for always being late or stranded!
Probably not a very good idea unless you’ve get extremely deep pockets and a working knowledge of British Engineering.
I would RUN away. My father in law had the same vintage XJ40 and it cost him an obscene amount of money to keep it running and operating correctly. I don’t remember any time when the doors handles and windows all worked right on that car and he was towed to his repair shop with some regularity. From what I understand these were the darkest days of bad Jag quality and reliability, so I think his experience is pretty representative. Beautiful car, but a beautiful nightmare most likely.
Since you said, “don’t say ‘hold out for a newer model,'” I won’t say it…
And that page you link to is the Jag-Lover’s Web. Imagine what a Jag-Haters’ Web might have to say! Sounds like the scheduled maintenance is there for a reason.
It is cheap. Horrible, but cheap. Check the exterior door handles, if they aren’t even in the outer housing then one side is broken and the other about to go… then you can’t open the door. They were $500 about 10 years ago. It’s the type of car you drive until it stops then you call the recyle people. Not worth spending anything on.
Sure, why not get a Range Rover too in case the Jag doesn’t suck the life out of you and leave you in complete financial ruin.
Run away, run away screaming! Old Jags are holes in the road that you throw money into, especially ones from that era.
Buying a Jag is like committing adultery. Think about it, fantasize about it… but don’t do it. You will regret it. No, I’ve never owned one, but I’ve met plenty of people who have… Just say “no.”
Plenty of people who have done…..which act?
Ever the contrarian, I say – DO IT! Of course, my motives are not completely unselfish. While I sit snug and warm with a Honda, a late model Kia and a Panther, I will eagerly look forward to reading the many experiences that you will probably have. Isn’t life just an opportunity to get some great stories to tell? Well, maybe not, but you will surely get some stories for us out of this one.
Just like when I was younger, when it was always so much more pleasant to work on a friend’s car than on my own. Because when it was time for me to go home, I could hop into my functioning car no matter what state his might be in when we knocked off. Reading about your Jag will sort of be the same thing, as I walk away from my computer sighing “Poor Keith, he never should have listened to me. What’s on TV tonight, dear?”
That’s so cold!
The only justice for a post like that is to have the Panther, Kia and the Honda all have massive transmission failure – simultaneously.
I took one out by a fender length or two with my ’65 Mustang when I was 18 or 19, so they’re slow!
I’m totally with JPC. It would make great reading here; the Jaguar Chronicles (or is it “Chronic-Ills”?) 🙂
My General Sales Manager bought a new first-year ’87 XJ40 Vanden Plas. This was during the time I had my ’86 W124. The two cars made an interesting contrast: his VP had an absolutely sumptuous interior, but it didn’t fit me; I felt cramped and uncomfortable behind the wheel. It also felt weak-chested, with the 3.6, but it sure did have a superb ride.
My W124’s interior was stark in comparison, but it fit me like a glove. And it was much more athletic; I could dust him easily in the straights and even more easily in the hills. Most of all, the W124 was like a tank in comparison to the fragile Jag. There were way too many mornings he called asking if I could swing by the Jag dealer to pick him up on the way to work; or if I could drop him off there to pick up his car after work. I never had a single unexpected problem with the 300E.
But don’t let that stop you; please! Seriously, I hear these cars have strengths and weaknesses, like so many other “exotics”. It’s just a matter of whether your strengths are up to its weaknesses. 🙂
Jags have been an interest of mine at arms length.Twice I came close to buying one then remembered the horror stories and chickened out and bought the other big British 6 cylinder sedans,a Vauxhall Cresta PC and a Ford Granada 2.8 GL.The best bit of advice I was given is there is no such thing as a cheap Jaguar,they rapidly become expensive Jags!
If you’re mechanically minded enough to work on the complex engine,an electrical wizard and handy with body repairs and have a back up car then go for it.You may need to be sat down when looking at the price of spares also.I wouldn’t go near it myself Keith.
All I can say is if you buy that car you’re nucking futs…
A plan is forming in my mind: perhaps I’ll go check it out, and if it looks alright, I’ll offer him half price ($600).
If he says no, guess I dodged the bullet… can’t say I didn’t try.
If he says yes, I have material for my Wednesday posts into the foreseeable future, and can always crush it for $300 if/when it becomes unbearable 😉
That being said, there are certainly plenty of good reasons to steer clear. To reduce my expenditure even further, I think I’ll wait until I’m in the area to look at the car, rather than make a special trip. If it sells before then, so be it.
i have no experience of Jags, I understood that you are a talented and passionate young man always in search of new challenges.
This Jag offers you great challenge, risks and rewards in this project are greater than other cookie cutter projects.
I am sure that your Jag experience will not be in vain, You might finish developing an expertise in Jags and sell parts and services to other Jag owners.
So I permit myself to give you a philosophical advice based on Buddhism education:
The experience that you gain interacting with this car is more valuable than the outcome of this experience (significant loss or significant gain) .
A lot less painful would to simply put a .38 to your head, pull the trigger, and be delivered from all of your problems. I dropped by my friend’s exotic car garage one day and up on the lift was an XJ40. He was not in a good mood. He told me that he must have done rear brakes on these things (inboard discs) a thousand times, but the learning curve never ended. Each one was a monumental pain in the ass.
The XJ40 ditched the inboard discs for more conventional ones. So maybe not a .38, but something a bit smaller bore?
The self-leveling rear balances out the inboard discs being nixed, Paul. I believe it was powered by the same special fluid that also did the brakes and power steering…all fed from the same reservoir. So a leak in the SLS (and being a Jag it will leak) meant no power steering AND no brakes.
Only a fraction of these came with self-levelling rear suspension (although, even Jag suggested swapping it out for standard suspension on extant models after a while).
OK, a Jag sedan, XJ6 or whatever, but it did have the rear inboard-mounted brakes. But smaller caliber? Pro hit men use .22s which tend to rattle around the brain pan. Major oowie.
The XJ6 used inboard-mounted rear disc brakes upon its introduction in 1969, and continued to use them all the way up until the original model’s retirement in 1987. You probably saw a mid-’80s model up on the lift.
From what I’ve been told, the quality improved by 1986-87, but not by much.
And everyone said I was cold . . . .
I too know a few people who owned Jags. Nice when they still have warranty but turn into nightmarish money pits after expiry. A shame for such attractive cars. All that glitters is not gold and you need a wheelbarrow full to keep them alive.
Come on guys, you are all being too hard. It’s like $1300. If it drives for six months and then gets scrapped, it’s still cheap as dirt, a thousand dollars for half a year’s driving is chicken feed. Driving isn’t cheap and if you can wrench on the thing yourself, I say “Have at ‘er!”
I don’t think that Jag could go six DAYS without an issue
As an ex-Jag owner; I’d say it depends on the car. Having said that, my 1966 420G was built at the start of the BLMC ride but was not a nightmare. If you’ve found one that’s been sorted, you just need to budget for relatively big ongoings. What you save in the purchase price, you make up in its maintenance.
I think it’s a good looking car. You’ve got the less common in oz twin headlights on yours which improve things more. The body is really well proportioned; I was impressed with the shape when it was released. The details miss a bit, but in the end you’re going to have a nice lowline saloon to prowl around in. Good luck.
“420G”. *Sighs wistfully at mention of dream car*
Yep. I so want another; Golden Sand over red.
Keith, a deeper perspective although distinctly Australian.
Over here, there was a subgroup of Jags owned by country gentry for whom a Fairlane was for the great unwashed. It might have been supplemented by a Peugeot ute or wagon. These country Jags are good finds; the engine has been bedded in well with long country miles.
The XK unit. It was fine for me because mine shared an engine with so many other variants, parts were not a problem. I’m not so up to speed with the 3.6 or the 4.0, but essentially you might be able to put in an older replacement – worst case scenario (ECU issues aside).
I owned a country-bred 420G when it was over 30 years old. This car did the 1800km roundtrip between Adelaide and Melbourne twice, once with a 400km detour. The engine never missed. All my cars have been 5 day/week drivers, so I’m not talking about a garage queen.
Of course, my mechanic was crucial; I was lucky enough to find a guy who was putting a V12 into his Mk10, so he had an empathetic attitude. I still had to pay a premium, but I figure that’s the price for having such a magnificent beast on the road. Parts in this British colony are around, though body is rare than mechanical. There should be some decommissioned XJ40s lying around somewhere to take pieces from, but I don’t know the model’s penetration into the States.
I also think Canucknuckehead has the correct supplementary view. It’s so cheap; buy and run it into the ground. Pay for small things to keep it going and dump it when a fix becomes too expensive.
I’ve never made a cent on my cars, but I’ve never expected to.
Ah,420Gs and Mk X Jags- now those are real temptations! They seemed so wonderfully glamorous, unlike the XJ40s.
I’ll tell you something slightly insane. I’d heard about the manual, so I was keeping my eyes out for one. In two months, I saw THREE manuals in Adelaide. One an original everything Mk10 with o/d, one a crappy 67 without o/d and mine which had the o/d. You definitely need the overdrive if you want to stretch the cat’s legs. I’d settle for the slushbox though.
BTW, nothing beats pressing that starter button.
I wouldn’t discount the XJ40, its a smart looking saloon. As ‘That’s One Fast Cat’ put it; better than a Camcord.
Don and Glen H, there are two very real temptations here for me (lack of finances aside), because a wedding company here recently sold their Mk X and 420 G wedding cars to a classic dealer. Both cars are FANTASTIC! I’d love them as a matching pair… The Mk X is a ’64 3.8 manual that’s been converted into an exact replica of the very rare factory division-glass limo; the 420G is a 4.2 auto. They’re way too pricey for me, but look to be superb examples. Only disadvantage is being NZ-new they lack a/c. The MkX/420G is my all-time #1 dream car though, so despite no a/c and high price they are still soooo tempting… *sighs wistfully again*
Both those look good, wires aside. You know the thing about the Mk10 brakes? 420G the way to go. Don’t sweat the limo, driving from front seat not as much fun with that screen. Thanks for that.
Yes, when I was 15 I saved up for a year and bought Paul Skilleter’s excellent book “Jaguar Saloon Cars”; I learnt all about the Kelsey-Hayes bellows servo thing therein – and also the lack of space in the front of the limo. I’d definitely prefer a 420G, with a/c, p/w and sunroof. Mmmmmmmmmm, wonder if I won the lottery tonight? 😉
Don’t touch it. The climate control will break and will cost more than the car to fix.
These don’t even look good,like older, just as unreliable models.
You will grow to hate it every time you open the garage.
Since you’re pretty good with regards to tinkering with cars, I say do it. At the very least, it’ll make for a good story some day.
Looks very tempting. I would struggle with this myself. Beautiful car. But I’ve learned the hard and expensive way too many times.
I love Jaguars. I really want to own one. Every time I’ve seriously gotten ready to buy one, I’ve chickened out and bought a BMW.
I’m still going to own a Jaguar, yet.
His quandary reminds me of a line from Vegas Vacation:
“You don’t know when to quit, do ya Griswold?… Here’s an idea: Why don’t you give me half the money your were gonna to bet, then we’ll go out back, I’ll kick you in the nuts, and we’ll call it a day!”
A $1200 Jaguar tells me to run like hell. If you want a Jaguar join the Jaguar Club learn all you can, then make an educated purchase. This car is one step from being a donor car from what you have described. If you just want to polish a turd and then stick someone with it this is probably a candidate. Being one who takes pride in my reputation I am not that kind of person.
It amazes me how people will throw away something that is priceless (their reputation) for an insignificant amount of money.
“If you just want to polish a turd and then stick someone with it this is probably a candidate.”
That wouldn’t be the plan. Whenever I sell a car as a driver, it’s gotta be a good solid driver. Anything less is just asking for problems.
In this case, I’d be looking to drive it (probably for 6 months or so – my typical length of ownership for inexpensive daily drivers), then sell off for a small profit once I’ve had my fun.
D’oh. I’ve just given you an encouraging push towards the Jag, but reading that you want to move it on with a slight profit I would say this;
Don’t buy it.
I’m often tempted with the idea of buying an older Jag saloon (420G: yes please!), but have happily discarded such temptation knowing that my rural town wouldn’t have the required Jag-trained mechanic that I could place on speed-dial.
Sadly, I no longer have any excuses, as my mechanic has switched his garage from everyday cars to being a classic Brit mechanical specialist, and it turns out he did his apprenticeship at a Kiwi Jag dealer years ago.
I can’t afford another car, so I think you should buy this Jag Keith, so that I can live out my dreams vicariously through you! 😉
There are no cheap old Jaguars. Unreliability is built into the DNA.
Another way to put it: a Jaguar is like a great race horse that breaks its leg every time it comes out of the gate.
Faux Jags like that Mondeo with nicer trim, may be an exception.
Ah, yes, Jaguars. No year is immune to problems.
I have had several but never the XJ40s — pre XJ40 (Series II; 79 with Series III rear end and Series II front end) that ran great because it has a BBC 502 in it, and post XJ40 (a ’97 XJR) that was awesomely fast, was relatively trustworthy (and by that I mean never left me by the side of the road) and only died when it turns out hitting a deer delivers approximately $7K worth of damage. Unfortunately, Ford-based Jags aren’t all that much better – my XK8 coupe ate its transmission at 100K.
But in the end it doesn’t matter — Jaguars are Jaguars and life is too short to drive a Camcord.
I am of the mind that at $1000 or so you are good on the money side; it won’t be very fast, things will ultimately break, but some of the fittings can be sold (ever priced rear tail lights for one of these?) and then it can go to the crusher and you’ll make out fine.
Do it, I look forward to reading the tale(s)
Ohh, all that glorious wood and leather! What a sumptuous, elegant place in which to wait for the tow truck.
Offer him a thousand…you’re safe there for an experiment in pain and some very limited pleasure.
Start running a “for sale or parts” “must go!” listing on a site somewhere just in case…..
Go for it as a lesson to us all that are seduced by Jags. I want an XJS, but have hesitated for the obvious reasons. Do it as a gift to us all so we can either delight in your experience or share in your pain.
OK, let me say this. I love the style of these XJs all of them from the 80s till 2009 when they had to change the exterior of a car that had evolved like the 911 design wise.
I also love the 2006 to 2011 Cadillac DTS for its style and the sweet sound the Northstar makes.
I have extensively perused the forums of both vehicles to see what real owners experiences were like. (Along with Northstar Lucerne form posts).
Northstar Cadillac owners don’t have half the problems Jag owners have.
Since parts are expensive, if everything functions now, why not buy it and part it out?
My Dad just got rid of his XJ8 that he bought new in 2004. This was the successor to the XJ40 and had that all-aluminum structure. It was a fantastic car. Never did a thing to it except regular maintenance. It was very light for its size and the body structure was super stiff. One of those rare cars that handled well and rode well, went fast and sipped fuel (20MPG city).
He got rid of it because it had 104K miles and was throwing suspension and stability control codes. The suspension couldn’t be ignored because it was riding hard. Could have sourced four new air springs from Arnott for around $400 a corner and had them installed for a few hundred.
He didn’t want to private party it and have someone spend all that money. So he sold it as-is to Carmax for $5K.
For $5K + $2K for suspension work it would have been a heck of a car. We wanted the peace of mind of him in a newer car and he wanted something that was easier to get in and out of.
From what I’ve heard the XJ40 won’t be as reliable but then again doesn’t have the expensive-to-replace electronically controlled parts. The XJ8 didn’t have much room in front and the XJ40 is worse. The XJ40 looks a bit better.
If you really have to have a Jag I highly recommend an XJ8. Can’t beat the value and reliability and it drives a lot better than the XJ40.
The people urging you to buy this thing are like those standing at street level of a high rise chanting “jump, jump” to the poor sap who really can’t make up his mind whether or not to take the plunge.
Agreed! I will predict this: if the guy gave you the car it would cost more than it’s worth to fix it. More than likely the car is only worth it’s salvage value. There are Jaguars that were much less problematic. Spending the money for a membership in the Jaguar Club would be an investment that would pay you many dividends.
“The people urging you to buy this thing are like those standing at street level of a high rise chanting ‘jump, jump’…”
Yeah, I know.
I wanted the advice of people who’d been exposed to these cars, and I got it. Moral of the story: there is no such thing as a cheap Jag.
While it is true that I *might* get my few hundred dollars’ worth of miles out of it by simply driving it into the ground, that’s a pretty chancy gamble. Not a huge gamble, but not exactly one that seems to be in my favor.
However, if I was one of those lucky individuals getting paid to write such things, the “cheap entertainment at the author’s expense” angle might make more sense 😉
OK; you’ve just become “one of those lucky individuals getting paid to write such things”. Seriously; do it, chronicle it, and I’ll pay you…….well, how do we make this work best? A percentage of your losses/profits? Shall we partner 50/50%, and spread the risk? Or a fixed amount as a backstop? Seriously; I trust you to try to make it work, but CC will share in your risk.
We shall call it the “CC Jaguar Chronicals” (sic) or ?
I was only kidding… boy, what have I gotten myself into? 🙂
Got your email a few minutes ago, Paul – reply sent.
Ohhhhhh if Paul is going to pay for it and you aren’t that jazzed about the Jag how about picking another old car to chronicle here at CC?
If PN could get the budget above this pittance for the XJ40 idea we’d have a lot of good candidates. Maybe Keith can nominate a few. Always wanted to see a 190E go through it after reading about the one Paul’s son’s girlfriend had. I was proposing this very same idea but that particular car was too far gone.
Reading about the progress, warts and all, would be entertaining and informative. These are my favorite kinds of posts.
“Shall we partner 50/50%, and spread the risk? ”
The financial ruin of two men
I say do it. It is only $1200 so what do you have to truly lose? You have the knowledge and the tools to wrench on cars so you are able to repair it yourself, you can find diagrams on the thing online so you can troubleshoot issues, parts are relatively cheaper now since you can go online and get them and don’t have to beg Nigel at the Jag parts counter for a slight discount. Plus i am sure there are a lot of Jags in the junk yard for parts finding.
Repairs on Jags are only costly if you have to have the local Jag tech work on it. If you can work on your own cars then you should be fine. (of course didn’t you have a spare Chevy 350 floating around? You could do the GM driveline in a Jag conversion thing)
As for if I would buy it if I was in your shoes? Yes I would because like you, I can wrench on cars with ease and have all the tools also.
I actually declined a $200 XJS a few years back… because it had a blown-up motor. I looked into it, and found that the cost of SBC conversion parts alone (assuming I was willing to donate one of my motors to the cause) would have exceeded the car’s value.
Plus, at that time it was only worth about $225 in scrap – and a tow would have run me $40. No sale.
All you need to know is here: http://www.jaguarforums.com/forum/xj40-25/
I have an XK8 that is fairly reliable, but when it does break it isn’t cheap. A good example is the $209 brake light switch it needed recently. I put up with it because its beautiful and fun to drive. When it breaks I call it “The Jaguar Experience”.
Don’t. My mother-in-law bought one used and within a year the electrical system caught on fire and mercifully put an end to the car.
Beautiful car! Here’s a car-warming present for you:
If your Jag is NOT already equipped with those beautiful fold-down rear seat lamenated wood picnic trays with the charming built-in lamps (Sovereign models only?), I have a pair in absolutely mint condition.The leather trim is parchment, but it’s just small trim strip that can easily changed to blue to match your car.
If you want the pair, there yours (free) so long as you pick-up the shipping costs to have them shipped to you from here (San Francisco).
I don’t have a Jag, but found them at a Pick ‘n Pull and grabbed them because they were just too nice to leave behind. At that time, I thought that I might try to adapt them to fit my 1992 Peugeot 605 SV 3.0 but as it turns out, the seat frame on my 605 doesn’t line up with the mounting points for the trays.
Let me know through firstname.lastname@example.org.
From what I recall the tables were reserved for the Vanden Blah…….
Well, I would offer this advice;
– If this car calls to you emotionally, you have a passion for fine leather, wood, a smooth in-line six, and well sculpted styling, and can live with the above stated issues, then buy it.
– If, as you state, you “have no burning desire to own a Jaguar”, then look elsewhere or I’m afraid you’ll suffer significant disappointment……
I hope you buy it.
I’m going to get some popcorn and a large drink, sit back and read the horror of the Shaguar Nightmare Chronicles on CC.
Do it. They’re excellent cars. A world away from the old Series XJs reliability-wise. Strong engines, solid gearboxes, tough suspension.
I pulled one out of my uncle’s field (where it had been sitting for a good few years), cleaned up an earth, replaced the battery and it fired up straight away.
If a tree hadn’t fallen on it this Christmas eve I’d likely be driving it right now 🙁
Couple of things to look out for. Rust tends to gather on the underside of the bootlid, at the ends of the sills and around the filler cap.
Also, on these early cars the door handles were slightly brittle castings. They’re perfectly fine for normal use, but if the mechanism’s stiff or it’s been opened a lot on cold frozen mornings they can shear off. The later door handles won’t fit in the holes in the early doors, but if you can’t find replacements the post-90 doors are a straight swap (barring differing electrical connectors).
I agree do it! Make it a daily driver and test the conventional wisdom that these aren’t reliable enough for that. Either way there would be a lot to talk about in the series.
Absolutely 🙂 I’m all for doing this, otherwise all you get is people on the internet seeing that it’s an old Jag saloon and assuming it’s horrendous, or people saying ‘a friend of a friend had one and it was a money-pit’ without giving any info on what the condition was when they bought it, or how much they actually spent.
If you buy any car at 116k miles, you’re going to be hit with a lot of big bills in a couple of months.
As an example, my dad daily-drove my namesake Maserati Biturbo 228 for 4 years without incident or hiccup. Completely contrary to any suggestion you’d find on the internet 🙂
I say do it, but you have to have the same attitude I did when building balsa wood control line aircraft models as a kid. In my mind I wrote it off, so that when it inevitably became splinters and bits of tissue paper I wouldn’t be upset.
So say you’re in for a thousand. As long as you do the work yourself and keep your cost under control it’ll be fun, and the worst thing that’ll happen is you’ll torch a couple of grand for the experience.
You’ll do that just driving a new car off the lot. Heck, I just had a thousand dollar month on my daily drivers so if you can kiss the money goodbye in your mind when you start, you’ll have a good experience.
Or at least an interesting one.
I do indeed love this idea…sort of like C/D’s “Long-Term” report but with more frequency (and a good dose of MM-style Project Car Hell)
I saw this very Jaguar for sale on craigslist and I’ve always been drawn to that era of Jaggggg but I don’t have any desire to commit financial suicide. Unless we are talking Range Rover’s in which case yes I’ll play British Build Quality Roulette on that one. I still hear horror stories from my aunt about her her E-Type V12.
I think they are up there with Alfa Romeos in the “sexy, intriguing, but ill-advised” category. Older Range Rovers too.
I gotta say though, if I had the money and could wrench my own, I’d do it.
I pondered a while back getting an XJ, I mainly liked the Series I and II best. A lump (as they call the SBC powered ones) would have been fine too. But that I-6 sure is nice.
The itch will come back soon enough.
At least you are not suggesting an XJ with the V12 or XJS with the V12. Now those would be more of a “no!” though if finances allowed, I’d love anything V12 powered.
It’ll surely make for an interesting series of posts if you got it, and who knows, it might help the Jags reputation a bit 😛
Worst case, take those nice blue leather seats and turn them into chairs for a fancy office makeover.
Also, I do see quite a few at the Pick-A-Part. I got the glove box mirror off of one cause it was so cool. Next time I’ll get the whole lid.
Keep us posted!
Actually, when I was dropping my car at my now classic-Brits-specialist mechanic’s this past week, he had an SIII Sovereign idling in one of the service bays. As I glanced over I saw the ‘V12’ badge on the back so stopped to ask him about it. Turns out he’d bought it from a customer recently when it blew two pistons. In my mechanic’s words: “I thought I’d see if I could make something out of it”. He certianly succeeded, as he swapped in another V12, got it all to work and it’s now his personal car. Even idling the engine note was fabulous! He did his apprenticeship in a Jag dealer years ago, so has an advantage over the rest of us, but even so, anyone who can disconnect and reconnect a Jag V12’s under-bonnet pumbing/wiring deserves a medal! (Hence why I’m perfectly happy trusting him to fix the cracked coolant fittings on my car’s engine block!)
Ford lost an estimated $35 to $50 BILLION dollars owning “The English Patient” for 18 years. They sold if for scrap value to an Indian outfit. Govern yourself accordingly.
I find the timing of your post remarkable as I recently purchased a 1986 XJS V12. I didn’t set out to buy one: A few weeks ago I reconnected with a “car buddy” who owns a few Maserati Biturbos, as I do. I asked how things were going with his Biturbo fleet and he responded that he wanted to sell his 1987 Biturbo Si. Having seen the car some years ago and liking it I asked him how much he wanted for it. His reply was $800 but I had to take the XJS and two complete Biturbo engines. I figure for $300 each car and $100 for each engine I couldn’t go wrong. I can always use the Biturbo as a parts car along with the engines. And if the Jag is beyond recovery I can scrap it and get $300 back.
I would love for you to take up Paul’s challenge it would make for some very interesting reading – how a back yard mechanic matches wits with the Jaguar and wins.
Buy it the price is right, a guy nearby has one for sale at lots more money there are 3 more stripped wrecks at his place to produce one mint runner, you’ll need more, hope you got plenty of room
DON’T do it! Why? Even if you got this car for free, you still would have difficulty selling it at a profit (if that is important to you).
My office-mate (from England, BTW) has this exact same car (garage-kept). I have been helping him sort out all of its maladies over the past four years (even stopping by a few times after work for an hour or two of, well, usually wiring-related issues).
He used it as his DD last week – well, almost all of the week. On Thursday, he lost power on the highway and was barely able to limp it home (sounds like low fuel pressure to me, be we haven’t checked it yet). That’s the longest continuous stretch of days that he has been able to use it so long as I have known him. About 30% of the time that he takes it on the road, a tow truck is involved in returning him home!
This car makes any GM car from the same era look positively Camryesque in its reliability. As stated above, it’s fun to talk about, but don’t actually try it unless you have a mad passion for this car and plan on keeping it regardless of the financial ramifications (it is a beautiful machine; I’d suggest a LS drivetrain swap for those who insist on driving one).
I’d buy it.
Because I am allergic for all those brands people say they’re good.
Give me a Merc and it’ll die on me
Give me a Jag and I’ll have to tell everybody it is ok.
I once had a V12 E-type Jag that ran quite good.
And a Classic Range Rover that broke only once with a broken heater radiator.
But my C series Merc I blew up at the first long drive I did in it.
“Oh yeah a sixteen valve engine, yeah man you probably went from 180 kilometers per hour to a very low speed
Yes I replied
Yeah, they cannot get rid of the heat and the valves break.
A Jag needs a bit more attention and TLC as the average car, if you are willing to give that I see no problem at all.
I really liked my 95 XJ6(X300 body) car…short wheelbase, no sunroof, topaz color, beige leather, sort of a stripped-down car by US market standards. I traded a nasty little 98 Audi A4 for the Jag and never regretted it. It had 140,000 miles on it when I hit a tall curb and broke the $1500 radiator and $400 lower rad hose…of course they only fit the 6 cylinder model that was only built for 3 model years, and there are no aftermarket equivalents available. I sold it to my mechanic who promptly put new cooling parts in it, along with whitewall tires, of all things, and has his girlfriend driving it. Cool car, and I’d love to have another.
I had three XJ6s. A 1984 which I loved with all my heart. British racing green (the right color) with camel leather interior. Very smashing. The twin gas ports always were a trip. The highly polished wooden dash was incredible with the very British tiny dials. I rue the day I traded that in for the 88 junk. The 84 was a fantastic car and I never had a problem with it. However there was something very wrong with my 1988 (blue with gray leather like Prince Andrew’s at the time) the first year of that body style, and after 24 visits to the local dealer in eight months for the same issue, Jaguar Motor Cars offered me a new 1989 gray exterior with cranberry interior. I drove the 1989 for 5 years without a problem and loved it. My children love the pictures of them being brought home from the hospital in that car! I do yearn for another Jaguar, but don’t lvoe this new body.