Thinking about restoring a classic Jaguar XJS? Well now’s a very good time, as this model is becoming an increasingly good investment opportunity. But how can you ensure you’re getting a good deal? And what can be done to minimise restoration costs? This post aims to shed some light on what to look out for when buying an XJS; it could save you a great deal of time and money!
First of all, it’s important to consider that sellers – in particular garages and dealers – will have gone to some trouble to make the car look pristine on the outside; but it is very unlikely that a seller will have done a proper restoration-quality repair of rusted areas. Therefore, a perfect-looking car is often in much worse condition than one with visible rust, which has not yet been ‘tarted-up’.
As with all cars made of steel, the most important area to consider is rust, both the less visible painted areas and, more importantly, the hard-to-see underside and hidden cavities. The most expensive part of a restoration is usually the stripped re-spray. If you are careful in selecting a low-rust car, you could save around £10,000.
In order to counter these restoration costs, it’s important to examine a car extensively – inside and out, top to bottom. You will need to look underneath the car for any signs of decay, ideally on a vehicle lift or on axle stands. It’s even possible to form a reasonable judgement by kneeling down and looking at the important areas.
Jaguar XJSs have a tendency to rust in similar places – some more than others – so it’s possible to form a view of the total rust condition just by looking at a few of the usual suspect areas, as outlined below.
These areas are often weakened and can be disguised with filler and underseal. With the seller’s permission, have a good prod with a blunt metal object, such as a car key, all around the jacking points. Look for uneven surfaces, or suspiciously fresh-looking underseal.
There is a weakness on all the coupés around the seatbelt mounting re-enforcement, where a strengthening plate on the outside allows water to get trapped, which then rots through the floor. Not a good area to be weak.
On facelift cars (post-1991), rot in the windscreen scuttles is a very common issue that needs to be examined carefully, as the car may appear perfectly fine everywhere else. It is an expensive job, but needs to be repaired properly. For a more in depth look at scuttle rot, visit this link on our website.
The bottom of the front wings where they meet the sills are often rusty on an XJS, so will have to be repaired, possibly more than once. Look for the bottom of the wing being flush with the sill. If it sticks out a bit then there is, or has been, rust.
This is a very common area for Jaguar XJSs to rust. This should be something you aim to avoid, as it’s difficult, and expensive, to repair well.
On late facelift cars (post-1993), there is often rust on the forward edge of the roof where it meets the ‘chrome’ finisher (actually stainless steel).
Large city cars are often in worse condition, as they are usually only used for shorter journeys. A seemingly low mileage vehicle may have completed a lot of shorter journeys, which can lead to worn out brakes, door hinges, leather and carpets.
The ideal car is one that gets regular, light use on suburban or rural roads in the South of England. Up to about 100,000 miles is good for a V12 before it gets too expensive, and at least 150,000 miles for the XJS six cylinder engines. The old 4.2 XK engine in the XJ saloons needs reconditioning at about 80,000 miles on average.
In general, avoid cars that have spent much of their life further north than London, as winter road salt accelerates rusting by at least 10 times.
Don’t be tempted by the lure of a cheaper vehicle. Initially you may save on upfront costs, but in the long term, you are likely to spend more on restoring the car.
If you want expert advice, why not consider one of our two-hour condition assessments? Visit our website for more details or call on +44 (0) 1635 30030 for further information.
Here are a few news highlights from the classic car industry from the last couple of months…
The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index notes that classic cars have beaten everything from art, watches and coins over the past 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. This is telling people that classic and vintage cars are a viable investment asset class.
We’ve recently completed the restoration of this now-stunning classic car. We were asked by the client to source a low-mileage donor car – it had to be blue, V12 and a convertible.
The car we found was actually Solent blue (a mid metallic blue). It was stripped back and repainted in Jaguar Westminster blue (a gorgeous dark navy).
Is your Jaguar XJS ready to shine this summer? If not, then why not call on our professional valet and paint protection services and treat your classic car to a thorough spring clean.
Select from three levels of valeting and a leather refurbishment service, prices start from £90.
For a long-lasting shine, we also offer Advanced Nano Coating paint protection. This is a highly developed nano-scale protective film that lasts – with yearly polishing – for up to 15 years. To find out more, visit our website or call 01635 30030 for an appointment.
Here’s one we did earlier – a KWE-restored Jaguar XJS in solid black with paint protection and one happy owner!
With the Jaguar XJS celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, we took a look back at this iconic car’s somewhat turbulent history.
Design plans for the XJS got underway in 1965, with the first production car being sold in 1975. The car was primarily designed by Malcolm Sayer, with input and control from Sir William Lyons. With Jaguar struggling financially at the time, the XJS needed to be a big success.
The highly anticipated XJS was seen by many as a direct replacement to the very popular E-Type. However, when the XJS was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1976, it was clear that the car was intended to be in a league of its own.
The short answer = NO!
We strongly recommend you read this technical note BEFORE adding coolant sealant to your classic Jaguar XJS. We’ve had several cases where the consequences have caused severe (and expensive to repair) damage.
In the note we explain how sealants work and describe the complex process we’ve devised to flush it out.
We also give advice on what you should do if you have a coolant leak – a must read for all classic Jaguar drivers.
As interest in the Jaguar XJS market heats up, it’s definitely becoming harder and harder to spot reasonably priced, good quality examples. Nonetheless, here are this month’s pick of the best Jaguar XJS cars that Theresa has selected from a number of different websites.
We haven’t viewed any of these cars in person, so we’d recommend a full professional assessment to check the bodywork, powertrain and other mechanics before parting with any cash!