Jaguar XJ Series III: Our Shed

By: John Wright

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Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III
Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III
Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III
Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III
Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III Jaguar XJ Series III

Our shed: Wrighty loves his XJ Series III, even when it's on a tow truck

Jaguar XJ Series III: Our Shed
Our cars: Jaguar XJ Series III


Jaguar XJ Series III


There was a time when I hardly ever paid rego on a car more than once, as one dream machine succeeded another (even though many were shitboxes). I have only kept three cars more than seven years and my 1985 Sebring Red XJ Series III is one of these.

In a slightly dubious deal, I traded a silver ’82 Series III on this one. I paid too much because I had to have it.

Driving past the Melbourne dealership, I recognised the red Jaguar as the one the people across the street had owned. Greg and Chris loved that car, fettling it to within an inch of its life. (And I knew how little they had sold it for.)

When I took delivery, I remarked that I’d see the owner of the business and his salesman "probably in a week or so when it comes in on the back of a truck." Neither of them laughed.

But a week later – thank you Joe Lucas – that’s precisely what happened. I think there might even have been a touch of embarrassment because they unhesitatingly gave me a loan car – my trade-in (which had more grunt).

I just can’t get away from these cars. Mostly there’s personal history involved in such infatuations. I had always loved Jags but a Series III was my first ever road test car, mine for a week (and it even broke down!). That was in 1981.

When I came to write a road test, I described the Series III as the best contemporary vintage car money could buy. It had a better ride than a Silver Spirit, a much richer ambience than an S-Class, and far more elegance than a lumpy 7-Series.

But these Jags bear much improvement. Wherever possible, the Prince of Darkness electrics are upgraded to Bosch when they fail.

Not all enthusiasts will approve of my car’s racing exhaust and extractors because it’s no longer quiet. The head has been fully worked. Before these mods were made, there was no urge to speak of beyond 4500rpm but now the needle will swing effortlessly into the red zone, which starts at 5000, and I have no doubt it would wrap up 6000rpm.

I have no illusions that this is a fast car, but it is fast enough when judged by the standards of its day (1985).

It’s been on the back of a truck twice more since I bought it in August 2004. And the air-conditioning stopped working years ago.

A leaking head gasket provoked the top-end overhaul. The brakes have been done. And I swapped the shocking tyres fitted by the dealer for a set of Toyo Teos.

The odometer has progressed from 254,000km to 278,984, and I just love driving it.



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