Unreasonable urges - Revcounter 380

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

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Buy a Jaguar XJS or set fire to the wallet?

 Unreasonable urges - Revcounter 380
A very cool car, but you need to buy a good one.

Don’t ask me why, but I’m getting this strong and unreasonable urge to go out and buy a big Jag coupe. And while my tastes run to an early E-type – or any E-type – the budget is more XJS.

Maybe it’s appropriate given our muscle car theme this issue, as an XJS did win Bathurst in 1985.

Typically for this style of car, there is a huge range on offer, starting at prices similar to what you’d pay for a clapped-out Gemini through to numbers where, clearly, the owner is either delusional or has deliberately jacked up the price as a partner defence.

For those of who aren’t familiar with the latter, it’s when the partner says "that sodding rust bucket has to go" and you put it up for a sale for a price you know damned well no-one will pay. Then you can innocently point out that it’s for sale, dear, and maybe the market for Wartburg 353s is a bit down at the moment.

Back to the XJS. I reckon if you’re going to do it, you have to go all-in and get an early V12 version. Of course anyone with even half a clue points out they’re the ones with all the problems.

So you make the mistake of putting "Jaguar XJS problems" in a search engine, and are promptly confronted with a wealth of information. It would have been much nicer if it had returned a blank screen.

To quote one site: "Due to its lukewarm reception and initial problems with design and reliability, the Jaguar XJS suffered from being undervalued and neglected by many owners." Great, so other than design, reliability and a string of pissed-off and disinterested owners, there’s nothing to worry about.

This was getting depressing. The overall view is that a professional panel-beater with a mechanical engineering qualification and very deep pockets could probably manage one.

So, the logical thing is to run to the brains trust in the office. Blackbourn and Enright are both within earshot and are happy to share their views. Enright enquires if I have a particular car in mind and when I confirm that, he asks, "Is it on fire?"

"Err, no," I respond.

"Ah, then it’s a good one!" Great. Thanks. Very helpful.

Blackbourn admits he too has a hankering for an E-type, something we all chew over at length. Then, somehow, his inner hippy emerges and he also confesses to wanting a Morris Traveller. But he’s not fooling anyone. I’ve known him long enough to be confident his ideal car would be an E-type fitted with a Merlin engine. Yep, the one out of the WWII Spitfire. It might take a bit of cutting and shutting to get it in there, but that wouldn’t deter him.

"You know they guzzle fuel like there’s no tomorrow," offers someone else who’s joined in. As the happy owner of a V8 Kingswood, fuel consumption is pretty low on my scale of priorities. But thanks for your concern.

Is there anything positive to say about them? Or should I just set fire to my wallet as a quicker and less painful route to the same end result?

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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