I’ve owned various cars since passing my driving test in 1971. They included my first car, a Triumph Herald,
then various Rovers,
a variety of Fords,
a couple of Vauxhalls,
a variety of Volkswagen Golfs,
A Honda Prelude (Jackie’s car),
a fantastic Triumph 2.5PI (when the injectors worked properly!!),
a Diahatsu Charade (Jackie’s car)
two company car Renault 25’s (you don’t see any today!),
up until 2005 when I purchased my first Jaguar, a 2002 X-Type 2.5 AWD.
In my early years, I got a job as a car cleaner and salesman. I remember selling a gleaming Ford Cortina GXL in golden brown with black vinyl roof to my past senior school Headmaster. He loved it and I loved the commission!! During my spell at the second-hand car dealership, I had the opportunity of driving a 1970 Jaguar XJ6 Series 1 on various occasions. I took it home to my parents’ council house on a number of occasions to have lunch. I was obviously living at home at the time. I can see it now, the curtains twitching as I pulled up in this gleaming prestige carriage. I thought, one day I will have a Jaguar! As you will note that came about in 2005 with my 2002 X-Type. I had this car for 7 years, in which it was pampered to within an inch of its life.
I loved this car, especially during the winter months when it seemed to be the only car able to negotiate the snowy conditions. I remember on one occasion when we had our annual Essex Thameside Christmas Dinner Dance in February, it had snowed very heavily overnight so, in the morning, the snow was almost one foot thick. Outside the main entrance to the Golf Club where we had had our ‘do’ were various cars including a few Mercedes. On leaving they were struggling with grip as the road was on a slight incline. Yours truly’ s X-Type just breezed past them with no effort at all.
I had always loved the Jaguar XK8 Convertible and, as I approached my 60th birthday in 2013, Jackie said she would get me one if I were to sell the X-Type. I was in two minds about this as I just loved the X-Type so much, but she wouldn’t let me have both. I took the plunge and put my X-Type up for sale at well over retail price but, as it had fairly low mileage and was in rust-free condition, I thought I might get away with it. I did! The first interest I had looked at the car as I opened the electric double garage and said, “I’ll have that”. No quibble, being a testament to the condition and looks of the car.
I then found a 2005 Seafrost coloured XK8 Convertible in a car dealership in Surrey. Low mileage and just two owners from new. It was a peach. I took delivery of this car on my birthday in January 2013. It wasn’t planned for this to happen on this day, it just did. Best birthday present ever!
As time went by I always fancied another Jaguar but, as we only have one double garage where my XK8 and my wife’s Volkswagen Golf both reside, she wasn’t keen on having another Jaguar, even though we have a driveway that can take another two cars.
During a club visit to the opening of a new Jaguar dealership in Southend in 2018, a club member indicated to me that he had a Jaguar XJ8 for sale. He wondered if I knew of anyone within the club who would be interested. The member was in the garage trade and had obtained this car very cheaply as the owner was considering scrapping it due to an electrical problem – issues with the alternator. I asked for details and he said that it was a 1999 Jaguar XJ8 3.2L with just 57,500 guaranteed miles on the clock. It had only covered 234 miles between 2010 and 2018 which transpired was a trip to the MOT station and back each year. When he also told me that it was the same colour as my XK8 – Seafrost – I jumped at the chance to buy it, after consulting the other half. The price was so cheap, I couldn’t let it slip away. “Where are you going to park it” was the standard reply from my wife, each time I made a suggestion of purchasing another Jaguar. This time my response was “On the drive under a car cover”.
Although not totally convinced this was a good idea, the price of it convinced her to agree. What she hadn’t envisaged was the cost of the various parts needed to get the car up to a good standard. “It will be a rolling restoration” I told her.
Since purchasing the XJ8, I have fitted a new alternator, drive belt, front brake callipers, battery, spark plugs, oil, air and fuel filters, oil and brake fluid change, rear bumper stops, wiper blade, one coil pack, fuel pressure regulator, one inner tie rod, plus MOT and insurance. To date this has cost me around £1,500. The headlining has started to sag which is a known fault with a number of Jaguar cars, so am having this undertaken at the end of February. In March it’s having various paint issues addressed and a complete overspray. I will then have it ready for the 2019 show season. My conundrum now is which do I take to Blenheim Palace show, the XK8 or the XJ8?