XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

KWE Cars Blog - Page 1

Insurance

We would be very interested to hear – and share – your views, good or bad, about classic car insurers. Our clients want to be able to insure their restored cars for what it cost them and this baffles many insurers who go running for the ‘book’ and try to fob us off with ‘book’ value for insurance. Some insurers are more enlightened and we’d be grateful to hear your experiences. Please put any comments in the box below, and we will select the most useful answers and share them here. Thanks in anticipation.

Jaguar creates unique ‘Greatest Hits’ XJ6 for Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrains

  • Jaguar’s 50 years of XJ celebrations begin with bespoke Jaguar Classic commission for Iron Maiden drummer and life-long Jaguar enthusiast ‘Nicko’
  • Nicko’s classic 1984 XJ6 Series 3 features a host of custom touches inspired by all five decades of Jaguar XJ production, and McBrain’s heavy metal heritage
  • ‘Greatest Hits’ XJ is a collaboration between Nicko, the expert engineers and craftsmen at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works and Jaguar Design studio director Wayne Burgess
  • Bespoke XJ unveiled at Geneva International Motor Show on 6 March during the Jaguar Land Rover press conference

Today at the Geneva Motor Show Jaguar Classic is proud to present Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain’s custom-built ‘Greatest Hits’ Jaguar XJ6, kicking-off Jaguar’s XJ 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018.

The bespoke commission is a collaboration between Nicko, the expert engineers and craftsmen at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, and Jaguar Design studio director Wayne Burgess. The project involved more than 3500 man hours of work, with more than 4000 parts refinished, replaced or redesigned. Unlike any 1984 XJ6 before, it incorporates substantial modifications to the exterior, interior, drivetrain and suspension, resulting in Nicko’s dream XJ.

“This is my ultimate XJ – my third, and lovingly named ‘Johnny 3’. It has been a true labour of love between Jaguar Classic and myself. I’m so excited by its completion and especially to be showing it at Geneva – it really is a Greatest Hits edition and to me it defines what the Jaguar XJ is all about. It’s a credit to the craftsmanship of the Jaguar Classic team. We couldn’t have timed it better, this being the 50th anniversary of XJ – my favourite of all Jaguars.”

NICKO MCBRAIN

IRON MAIDEN DRUMMER

Key features include:

  • Unique front and rear bumpers – seamlessly blended in to the modified fenders with bespoke chrome brightwork and flush-fit US side markers
  • Flared and re-profiled front and rear wheel arches accommodating bespoke 18-inch wire wheels fitted with 235/45 R18 Pirelli P Zero tyres
  • Unique sills and modified rear door pressings
  • Uprated front and rear suspension with adjustable rear dampers
  • Unique Mauve paint finish
  • Conversion to elegant Series 2 XJ door handles and bullet wing mirrors
  • Conversion to LED headlights with ‘Halo’ daytime running light signature
  • Conversion to recessed twin fuel fillers
  • Modern door sealing for reduced wind noise, and additional sound deadening
  • Integrated touch screen operating satnav, phone, rear view camera and in-car entertainment
  • Re-trimmed interior with modified seat foams improving refinement
  • Bespoke audio system with USB connectivity, featuring guitar amplifier-inspired control knobs machined from aluminium
  • In-dash starter button
  • Uprated air-conditioning
  • Remote central locking

“Creating this ‘Greatest Hits’ XJ, and the whole process of bringing someone’s automotive dream to life, has been extraordinarily rewarding for the Jaguar Classic team. It’s been a pleasure to work with Nicko and we’re looking forward to hearing the reaction to this project.”

TIM HANNIG

JAGUAR LAND ROVER CLASSIC DIRECTOR

Inside, classic Jaguar style meets modern day convenience. The leather seats are hand trimmed in Pimento Red with black piping and embossed head rests, while a black hand-crafted carpet and Alcantara headlining finishes off the trim. The dashboard features Dark Grey stained Sycamore veneers – the preferred material for Nicko’s favourite snare drums.

Further nods to the owner’s art include machined aluminium rotary controls on the dashboard – inspired by the control knobs of the guitar amplifiers created by Nicko’s great friend Jim Marshall, and drum kit inspired pedals finished in chrome and black. The custom three-spoke sports steering wheel features Nicko’s unique mascot – the ‘Eddie Growler’, first seen on his specially commissioned 2013 Jaguar XKR-S.

Bespoke soft down lighting illuminates the revised dashboard, in which a state-of-the-art Alpine touch screen controls the 1100W sound system, powering speakers from Nicko’s preferred Jaguar audio installation, the 12MY Jaguar XF.

Incorporating a number of reconditioned parts from McBrain’s original XJ6, the 4.2-litre in-line six-cylinder engine features three 2-inch SU carburettors from the E-type – Nicko’s favourite set up. Machined quad-exhaust tail pipes finish-off a specially-designed exhaust system.

Preserved components from Nicko’s first XJ6, which spent many years stood in the grounds of the home of Iron Maiden bass guitarist Steve Harris, following Nicko’s move to America, are present elsewhere in the build too: from the iconic Jaguar leaper bonnet mascot, which first attracted Nicko to buy the car, to the original ignition keys from 1984.

Jaguar XJ-SC: A cabriolet fit for a princess

A notable Jaguar XJ-S V12 Cabriolet with royal connections will be one of a record number of stunning retro cars from the halcyon heydays of motoring appearing at this weekend’s London Classic Car Show at Excel London (15-18 February).

While many of the 700+ wonderful automotive icons on display will have their own incredible histories, few if any will have better stories to tell than this totally one-off 150mph Jaguar – a sportscar which was fashioned especially for Diana, Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana's Jaguar XJSC

The model first being released in 1983, this famous 1987 XJ-SC was not only one of the most photographed cars of its era but was also totally unique, built to the Princess’ own bespoke specification.

The V12 powered regal cabriolet features 2 rear seats and an individually made, permanently fixed, rear hard top to ensure that the two Princes could not strike their heads on the solid targa roof bar in the event of an accident.

Also, unlike any other XJS, the once royal roadster is fitted with personalised leather and Harris Tweed seat trims, chosen by Princess Diana. What’s more the exterior bodywork came with the US spec quad highlights and was finished in British Racing Green to match the Aston Martin that husband Prince Charles had acquired around the same time.

 

The Princess was regularly seen driving this majestic model from 1987 to 1991. Her and Sarah, the Duchess of York who also owned an XJS V12, except a convertible model would often enjoy driving their Jaguars together. Sarah’s car was later restored by KWE in 2007. Then, when the two Princes outgrew their small rear seats, Diana sold it to the Jaguar Heritage Trust, an educational charity established to preserve the legacy of Jaguar for the nation, in exchange for a contribution to one of her own charitable causes.

A little history on Jaguars XJ-SC

First came the coupe (1975), then the cabriolet (1983), and finally the convertible (1988). The XJS was not ready to have the top removed entirely, since omitting the roof would tend to make the XJ6-based monocoque sag in the middle. A great deal of engineering work and a lot of time was needed to produce an open car, even one with some of the roof in place. The compromise arrangement recalled the roof bracing of the late Triumph stag. The framework was kept in place but there were removable close-fitting panels, resulting in a pleasantly proportioned car from which Malcolm Sayer’s well-intentioned, but controversial “flying buttresses” were eliminated.

More significantly the XJ-S was available for the first time with a 6-cylinder engine, the AJ6 being tried out first in a low production volume model where its weaknesses would be exposed, but not to too many customers. It was a sensible move which breathed a new life into the model. The delightfully smooth and perfectly adequate 3.6 was offered on the cabriolet with the option of a 5 speed Getrag manual gearbox. Although, the 12-cylinder XJS was still a popular choice.

In 1985, Jaguar released the 5.3 V12 Cabriolet. This model had the option of rear seats, whereas the earlier model had a storage box, much like the early convertibles which were released later in 1988.

Sales of the XJ-S were on the turn. Improved reliability was the principal reason for an increase to 4,808 cars in 1983 and 6,028 in 1984. In 1985 sales received a boost with the V12 Cabriolet for which the production process was streamlined, and the HE badge was dropped in favour of a “V12”. When Jaguar released the fully convertible electric soft top, the cabriolet was discontinued after a production run of 5,013 cars.

KWE completes restoration on XJ-SC: Customers cabriolet has full treatment

Here we have our most recent restoration, a fully restored XJ-SC finished in Solent blue with luxurious magnolia leather and burr walnut trim. Click here to view the full write up and images in our showcase.

If you would like your own XJS built to your bespoke specification, please contact us to discuss our restoration services.

 

We also currently have a very original 4-seater 1988 XJ-SC Cabriolet with 25000-miles for sale, click here to see the full listing and images.

Jaguar resumes production of its iconic D-type racing car

Jaguar has announced that it will restart production of the D-type racing car for the first time in over 60 years.

The luxury motor company will hand-build just 25 new models of the classic D-type, one of which was debuted at the Salon Rétromobile show in Paris last week.

Jaguar-d-type-reborn

It has been 62 years since the last D-type was built. At the time, Jaguar had planned to manufacture 100 models, but only managed to build 75.

By restarting production of the iconic sports car with 25 all-new, period-correct models, the company is finally fulfilling its original aim.

“The Jaguar D-type is one of the most iconic and beautiful competition cars of all time, with an outstanding record in the world’s toughest motor races. And it’s just as spectacular today,”

Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic division.

“The opportunity to continue the D-type’s success story, by completing its planned production run in Coventry, is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects that our world-class experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic are proud to fulfil,”  he added.

The new D-type models will be engineered at Jaguar Land Rover’s purpose-built Classic Works facility in Coventry, England.

Powered by a six-cylinder XK engine, the sports car famously won the Le Mans 24 Hours race three times between 1955 and 1957, and each of the 2018 models will be created to match these authentic, original specifications.

As it stands, the engineering prototype is the 1956 Longnose specification, featuring the recognisable extended bonnet, characteristic tail fin behind the driver’s head, wide-angle cylinder head and quick-change brake callipers.

D-type clients will also be able to choose between a 1955-specification Shortnose or 1956-specification Longnose bodywork.

Jaguar did the same thing back in 2014 with its iconic E-type car. Having had the original objective of building 18 Special GT E-type Cars in 1963, the company only made 12.

It, therefore, restarted production 50 years later, creating the remaining six “missing” vehicles as exact reproductions of the original 12 cars produced in 1963. They also went on to build nine XKSSs in 2017-18 that were originally destroyed along with most of the necessary tooling in a fire at Browns Lane factory.

Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager, said,

“Recreating the nine D-type-derived XKSSs was hugely satisfying, and an even bigger technical challenge than the six missing Lightweight E-types, but lessons learned from the XKSS project have given us a head start on the final 25 D-types.

“Each one will be absolutely correct, down to the very last detail, just as Jaguar’s Competitions Department intended.”

Jaguar then electrified the E-type model three years later, in September 2017, in a bid to “future-proof classic-car ownership”.

The Big Blue Cat: Our customer Dave gives an overview on his KWE upgraded XJS

My other half is Sarah, and the Big Blue Cat in the heading relates to our 1990 XJ-S 5.3 litre convertible, in Solent Blue with Saville Grey interior. It’s actually Sarah’s baby, bought for her after many, many patient years of waiting.

 

Jags are in her family, with her brother owning an E-type and various uncles having Mark Xs and Mark 2s throughout life, but the XJ-S was always her personal desire. She’s had to put up for many years with my love for Land Rovers of all shapes and sizes, from Series 1, 2 and 3 through to Discovery 2s and 4s, Range Rovers Series 1s and P38s plus off-roaders and finally our White Witch, a white Discovery Sport 2.2 litre with the registration W1 CHH. Sarah has dabbled with imports, via a Chevy Astro 4.0 day van, a lifted and overboard 3.2 XXS Toyota surf, a Mitsubishi Delica 3.0 litre petrol and her latest, which we still have, a 260bhp Nissan Elgrand. All these came after turning down the chance to buy her first XJ-S convertible in wine metallic for £4000 many years ago. In those days though there was no place for the two kids and the two dogs.

“We have an XJ-S Plus, all the car anyone could want from a Jaguar and then some.”

So after many years of waiting, we bought the cat in late February this year, in nice condition as it was, but then decided to hand it over it to Chris Knowles at KWE so he could, as he put it, “Make it the car what it SHOULD have been in the first place”.

 

KWE Suspension Upgrades

For the first of their upgrades we plumped for their S1 suspension upgrade, which includes a suspension, steering and brake upgrade, note they say upgrade, not replacement as this makes the car better than when it was new in their opinion.

 

rebuilt front and rear suspension with KWE S1 Upgradesrebuilt front and rear suspension with KWE S1 Upgrades
 

 

 

 

 

This included the complete stripping of the suspension, brakes and steering unit from the car, then each individual section stripped down, all those old BL bushes, shocks, joints, dampers, discs, springs and joints as well, basically thrown away. Each major section is then shot blasted and powder coated in zinc and then finished in black or another colour should you ask for it, and all wearing, perishable and moving parts renewed with OE or if they are not available, KWE manufactured parts. It’s then all put back together by a single person, only one mechanic to a car, and refitted with a full geometry steering set up done.

 

 

The suspension is then adjusted to how you like it, (Sarah went for sporty!) and road tested until they are sure all is perfect.

 

Engine & Cooling System

The next decision for us was what to do with the engine, so we opted for their V12 30,000 mile perishable service, with full cooling system renewal, in Chris’s words “The cooling system renewal is so important for V12s because cooling was marginal when new, let alone with clogged old pipes and failing pumps”. There were other options, but as the car had only done 56,000 miles and only 6,000 since 2007 it was thought the engine wouldn’t warrant any more.

What is included in their V12 30,000 mile perishable service, is anything perishable being removed and in place a new radiator, hoses, drive belts, new plug leads and plugs, thermostats, water pump, new electric fan and fan couplings. This is followed by a full chemical flush of the engine coolant system and all oilways, followed by a full 30,000 mile service to body and engine, with any engine tuning needed to get it to the top notch performance you’d expect. Also the gearbox and differential oils are changed and in our case, gearbox mounting bushes changed, see the picture for what came out and what went back!

 

XJS Gearbox Mount Bush

 

The Interior & Exterior

Next the cabin, and it wasn’t so difficult to sort this one, as the carpets, leather and wood were already in very good condition and in the way KWE do things, “Not really something we need to touch,” Chris advised us. Still it just needed something to finish it off and then with the options Chris suggested we saw what it was. We then dumped that dodgy 1990 black plastic steering wheel in favour of a gorgeous Motalita Mk5 flat spoke holed steering wheel with polished centre horn push and a change to the T-bar on the gear selector from black plastic to wood matching the dash and surrounds. It finished it to a tee. As a finale KWE gave the paint a machine polish and wax to the interior valet including the seats getting a proper clean and a leather feed, making them just so.

 

The Finishing Touch

The dashboard instruments had all the illumination of a Victorian candle in a hurricane, so we went for a full interior lighting and instrument panel LED upgrade, and just to make life difficult for KWE, we requested that they do an experimental LED upgrade (never done before on an XJS) of all the control switches on the dash and centre console. This included the heater controls as well. They came through on that task with flying colours.

We got the car back in June, after a much anticipated wait and well !!!!!, was Chris right, it corners on rails, glides along on its new running gear like it is on air. You can see at night, like a modern car. The engine purrs and even after a half hour sit in traffic in recent very hot weather it sat rock solid normal in the temp zone. We’re also averaging 18mpg around town and on a recent long run 23.5mpg.

 

Was it worth the cost? Well, we’ve spent quite a bit more than the value of the car but what a car it is now!

Worth it ? Oh yes without a doubt, we have an XJ-S Plus, all the car anyone could want from a Jaguar and then some.

With thanks to Dave and Sarah Ash.

Also to Jaguar enthusiast Magazine for publishing the article.

Changes to our Payment Terms

As of 13th January 2018 a law has come into force requiring companies who accept credit card payments to absorb the charge that the credit companies levy on such transactions. This levy is typically between 2.5% and 3% (more for American Express). With high value transactions such as ours, this levy is very significant and can be many hundreds of pounds which previously was passed on to the customer since credit cards are a convenience for the client, not the supplier.

KWE now regrets that it can no longer as of 23rd January 2018 accept credit cards as a means of payment. We are happy to accept debit cards, cheques and internet bank transfers.

This change has been made in our Terms of Business

We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

American Jaguar XJS buyers choose British restorations 🇺🇸

Imagine yourself cruising down the PCH in a gleaming Jaguar XJS, you’ve got the top down, Ray Bans on, and Santana’s playing on the radio while you’re taking in the stunning views at every turn… sounds good, right?

Well, why not get the world’s largest and most experienced Jaguar XJS restorations specialist make that dream a reality.

American Jaguar XJS Restorations

The Jaguar XJ-S is one of the most stylish sports touring cars in the world. It is entirely happy to be driven daily, whilst in great comfort and class. Owning an XJ-S marks you out as an individualist with impeccable taste. The feeling of grandeur you get while sitting in the cockpit wrapped in fine leather, wood and wool. Driving one makes you feel like you’re the king of the road, especially with KWE’s perfected steering, brakes and suspension set-up, ensuring you stay flat and low on the tarmac, while taking the sharpest of corners effortlessly. The all-aluminium V12 is the smoothest around – and one of the most reliable when properly restored and maintained.

“The suspension changes and power enhancement package have completely transformed this car. The difference between the standard set up and your upgrade is quite simply astonishing.”

 – Dr C.S., Swindon, XJS Upgrade

USA American Jaguar XJS Restorations

Photo Credit: Robert Carley

Jaguar XJS Restorations

The XJS is a great British classic that really stands out above the rest, that is why we at KWE are so dedicated and passionate about restoring these marvellous machines, transforming them into reliable, safe and excellent performing classic masterpieces.

“They’ve made it the car it should’ve been!”

 – James May, BBC Top Gear

Maybe this is why we have seen our international clientele grow in recent years, especially from the U.S. This could also be down to the ever-growing investment value of a restored British classic like the XJS. We applaud our American clients that share our enthusiasm in making the XJS ‘the car it should’ve been’!

BringaTrailer.com have written a great article on the XJ-S, check it out here >> Why we love them: Jaguar XJ-S

Why send my XJS to KWE Cars to be restored?

We have restored over 350 XJSs covering all models, and gained over 15 years specialist experience, specifically on the XJS. KWE prides itself on being the largest and most experienced XJS specialist in world, bringing them up to ‘better than new’ standards. We have access to a wealth of Jaguar knowledge and genuine new and restored parts. All KWE cars have fully restored and uprated aircon systems. KWE offers a range of modernisations – better lighting, remote door unlock and boot release, one-touch window drop, daylight running lights, parking sensors, modern Bluetooth audio and bespoke solutions to suit your specific requirements.

How long does the restoration process take?

Typical turn-round time is 20 weeks, depending on level of restoration.

How do I transport my XJS to KWE in the UK?

We make the transport of US-registered cars to the UK easy with a door to door service via our trusted and vetted transportation partner CARS Europe.

Can KWE supply me with a LHD XJS base car?

We can offer a purchasing service in the US if customers do not already own one. There are no regulatory issues where the car is bought in the US, restored in the UK and returned. There are some great examples available on the US market, and at great prices compared to the UK and Europe at this time.

What about servicing and maintaining my KWE restored XJS in the states?

KWE will be offering support via appointed US service shops. There is also a good range of Jaguar parts suppliers in the US. But right now there are good specialist Jaguar shops around – and the car’s design is fairly simple, not requiring special equipment for maintenance (unlike modern cars)!

Can KWE add more power to my XJS?

KWE offer a range of performance enhancements for the V12 engines including sports stainless steel exhaust systems, digital engine management, free-flow inlet systems etc

When can KWE start my restoration?

If you already own an XJS you can order a restoration by us right now! Contact us today to start your XJS journey.

We are currently building a bespoke bodied XJS coupe for a client in Illinois –  Take a look at the restoration gallery to get an idea of the work we put in to these superb classics. 

Bespoke-bodied XJS coupe Restoration Gallery

 

Our California-based correspondent and friend Rhett Redelings elegantly explains what makes the XJS so special, and why he would choose the XJS over other classic cars available. Click the links below to find out what he has to say about these magnificent classics:

Guest blog post vol. 1: What makes the Jaguar XJ-S special?

 

Guest blog vol.2: Why choose the Jaguar XJ-S over other classic cars?