1983 Jaguar XJS HE 5.3 litre V 12 from Australia and New Zealand
Salvaged from the depths of despair to become a great club car
I bought the car too cheaply, and even though it had been Australian delivered (no salted roads as in the UK) and had next to no rust, someone had treated the car poorly and allowed it to run hot - the worst thing you can ever do.
It sat in a repair shop for three or four years while the alleged Jaguar expert scratched his head and mucked about sporadically. He could not get the heads off. It was as though they'd welded themselves on and it had probably dropped a valve. It overheated within minutes and spat coolant all over the roads.
After years a pain and despair, I found a slightly later car which had been imported from Wales. It's body was full of rust-cancer - bloody salt again. But it had been looked after mechanically. It started smoothly, the 3-speed transmission shifted well and all looked well.
I bought the engine and gearbox and had it shipped to the alleged Jaguar expert, who again did not seem to know his armature from his manifold. A year later, my wife took matters into her own hands and sent a truck out to pick up the car and take it to my son-in-law who already had one. He's focussed to the point of annoyance, but in eight weeks, it was back on the road.
I've read the review on this site of on-going XJS hassles, but I have the rarest of words to use with mine now. It begins with R and ends with "eliable". Stop laughing. It's true. I'm in a vigorous sports and classic car club and the mighty Jag has now done many alpine and open plain runs, some lasting a week. While it is a Grand Tourer on the open road, my experience is that it doesn't mind the twisty bits. It sits flat on the road, responds predictability and even if you can't drive it through hairpins at Warp Speed, it goes really well when driven in a "point and shoot" mode. It is also a piece of automotive sculpture, oozing gentle power and charm.
I do agree with an earlier review about the smell in the boot. We can't keep our luggage or food in there without petrol taint, but so long as you know that, you can work around it. In Australia, we have a phrase "chick magnet" to describe some cars. Mine's not, but it is a "chap magnet", especially as I have some Tom Walkinshaw Racing bits on it in homage to the car which won Australia's greatest race, Bathurst, in 1985.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 4th November, 2017