XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

KWE Cars Blog - Page 2

Pound Drops after UK Election: Makes better investment for International Classic Car Buyers

Classic Car Investment

Following the UK general election the result of who will be running the country was quite literally hanging in the balance. We look at how this could benefit international classic car buyers looking to get their hands on a beautifully restored Jaguar XJS.

The one thing we can see for sure is the effect that the election has had on the exchange market.  Before the election the pound was slowly rising following Brexit and the flash crash in October 2016, which saw a higher demand for British classic cars from international buyers.

Now the pound has dropped further again making British classic cars over 10% more affordable to U.S. and European buyers than this time last year.


Why Jaguar XJS?

The XJS may not initially have been the most popular Jaguar, due to some questionable build quality and the hard-lined style that took some time to be publicly accepted. We can now safely say it has left its mark as one of the greatest luxury grand tourers of its time, with Jaguar selling a remarkable 115,413 examples over a period of 21 years, making it a hugely successful model for the famous British brand and comfortably outselling its more famous predecessor, the E-type, by around 40,000 units.

With that in mind, good condition examples of these cars are ever becoming harder to find, after a check with the DVLA there are less than 900 XJS models left registered on the road in the UK, and around 2200 declared off the road in 2016. Most of these examples are in an unknown condition. However, KWE have proudly carried out extensive restoration work on over 300 various XJS models, covering over 30% of the cars that are still on the road in the UK today. We cannot account for the number of XJS models left around the world, but we would expect there to be a lot of good LHD examples in the U.S, especially in its dry states, and in Japan for RHD, this is being due to their more rigorous testing standards and the fact they do not use road salt, thus keeping rust at bay and bodywork in far better condition.


How many Jaguar XJS models left 2016

The chart above shows all models of Jaguar XJS registered with the DVLA (Department of Transport) from 1994 to 2016.


Next, we looked at the rising value of the XJS, especially in the convertible and cabriolet models. The Jaguar XJS is not yet valued in the hundreds of thousands of pounds like the E-type. But it is steadily rising year on year at an increasing rate. According to web-based Classic Car Auction Results, this is the time to get your hands on the next big thing:

“The XJS does seem to have begun a growth curve in recent years that suggest similar levels of growth to what we have seen in E-Types are to come, Charlie suggests: There are now far more cars selling for more than £10k, and the cars fetching over £20k are no longer just ultra-collectible cars or super low-milers. High spec, exceptional condition cars are now achieving these figures too.”

“With an approximate value increase of 50% in 10 years, Jaguar XJS values don’t need to get much higher before the annual value increase is in the thousands [of pounds].” He adds.


Jaguar XJS Auction Results

Jaguar XJS Auction Values

The graph above shows auction sales figures of various Jaguar XJS models.


Why KWE?

Why choose the UK’s leading Jaguar XJS Specialist? Well, we are probably the most experienced restorers of the XJS to better than new condition, and work hard to make the car exactly as the client desires rather than working to minimise time and cost.

KWE carefully select upgraded parts that are second to none, and their experienced specialist technicians have inside and out knowledge of these glorious cars. They have an excellent track record in keeping their customers happy, one of the ways they achieve this is by regular updates and photos on their exciting restoration journeys. KWE likes to keep you in the loop, whether you are around the corner or across the sea.

In addition to the above, they strive to make the process as hassle free as possible. With their international clientele spanning across the globe, they have gained experience in importing and exporting classic cars to wherever their customers are in the world, including Europe, Australia, Japan and the U.S.

As part of the comprehensive Sea Freight service they can offer, their trusted agent will;

  • Collect your vehicle (if required)
  • Make the appropriate shipping line booking
  • Receive and prepare your car for shipment, to include steam cleaning when required
  • Complete pre-condition reports
  • Load and secure your vehicle into container
  • Complete all Customs formalities
  • Pre-alert the nominated arrival agent to process the arrival formalities for release
  • Arrange for the offloading of your vehicle at destination
  • Arrange the onward delivery of your vehicle to KWE

Should you own or purchase a car anywhere in the world, they are able to arrange all of the above formalities in reverse, setting up and monitoring the entire process from start to finish.

So, if you’re based outside the UK, now is a very good time to buy a UK classic car!

Contact KWE today to discuss your requirements – whether that’s sourcing a classic car, shipping, or restoration.

Preparing for a classic road trip

Forchino model car










There is nothing quite like the thrill of taking your classic on a road trip. Whether it’s Amalfi Coast in Italy, the Grande Corniche in France or the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, some of the world’s most majestic scenery and stunning roads are on our back-door step; and with the Spring firmly upon us, there is no better time to hit the road.

But before you grab your passport and make a mad dash for the White Cliffs of Dover, it’s a good idea to spend some time making sure your car is ready for the trip ahead.

The Jaguar XJS has a fantastic V12 engine that can withstand a great deal of spirited driving; but you shouldn’t let this lull you into a false sense of security. Having your engine seize in the Highlands of Scotland is not going to be a pleasant experience.


Perishables, perishables, perishables

Regular maintenance is the key to longevity when it comes to classics, and only you will know how well the vehicle has been maintained. Assuming that the vehicle has been regularly serviced and that your tyres are in good condition, getting ready for a big road trip shouldn’t be too painful an experience.

One of the most common causes of break downs on a road trip is the failure of perishables such as coolant hoses and drive belts. People often forget that rubber is affected by the passage of time, not by mileage. Therefore, you should check the condition of all engine perishables on any classic that is not subject to routine maintenance – particularly your hoses, which can harden and crack over time. Leaving them unrepaired can lead to a seized engine, which can cost many thousands of pounds to rectify.


Be prepared for the unexpected

Chris Knowles, KWE Cars MD and Jaguar XKS specialist shares one of his holiday experiences:

“We were driving to France for our summer holiday, departing from Portsmouth.” Chris explains. “Whilst boarding the ferry a radiator hose burst resulting in us limping onto the ferry. We had to persuade the ferry crew to let us onto the secure car deck to repair it. Once we’d carried out a ‘ferryside’ repair at sea, the car was ok to drive however, the holiday was fraught with worry that we could breakdown at anytime. Lesson learned, always prepare before your trip and always be prepared. Even the experts get caught out sometimes!”


KWE offer a perishable service package, comprising:

  • coolant and fuel hose replacements
  • chemical coolant
  • oil flush
  • drive belts
  • ignition leads replacement

along with minor tuning if necessary and a full service of the car.

This is usually enough to get your car ready for a big road trip, but the service can be upgraded to address all the most common areas of failure in a classic engine. The upgraded service returns a high level of reliability without carrying out any major restoration work on the engine.

It’s worth noting that this is not a drop-in service, and has to be booked in advance.


Classic car checklist

Classic car road trip checklist

Nothing beats the thrill of a classic road-trip. Whether it’s winding across the B Roads of England or cruising past the dramatic peninsulas of the French Riviera, your classic Jaguar will be in its element.

Before booking your self-drive holiday, check that your planned route does not include towns or cities that you are not able to drive your classic. Many places like London in the UK have low emission zones, we’ve provided a couple of useful links below to help you:

Once you set off, you shouldn’t have a care in the world. Just you, your car and the road ahead. But to reach this state of classic car nirvana, it’s important to put some preparation in ahead of time.

We’ve put together a useful checklist to prepare for your dream driving holiday:

In car toolkit

  • GB car stickers
  • Spare fuel can
  • Torch
  • Spare headlight bulb kit
  • High viz jackets and warning triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Breathalyser
  • Jump leads or a battery booster. We’ve found these very handy.
  • Currency for any penalties incurred.

Service checks

There are simple things you can do yourself to make sure your car is in good, roadworthy condition such as checking your tyre pressures and tread, topping up your oil, and surveying the engine bay carefully for coolant leaks, power steering leaks and oil level, brake fluid level and gearbox oil level. These simple tasks are vital to keeping your car running smoothly on the road and to stop your engine overheating.

  • Fit headlamp beam deflectors for Continental driving.
  • Oil
  • Screen washer fluid and coolant.
  • Perishables
  • Age of tyres, long distance, fast speed and temperature all affect tyre wear and tear. Don’t forget to check the spare!
  • Working radio – KWE can apply a bluetooth adapter to your original radio so you can stream music from your smartphone.
  • Adjust suspension for heavy loads. Pump rear tyres 38 psi. With a KWE suspension, we can set your car up for a loaded vehicle.
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Check the battery is not flat and the car starts in advance of the day of your trip!


  • Valid insurance
  • MOT
  • Breakdown cover
  • Sat Nav with updated routes
  • Driving permits

Our simple checklist can give you peace of mind ahead of your trip; but the most important thing to remember is your sense of adventure! Have an unforgettable holiday and we’ll see you on the other side.

Steering, brake and suspension hints and tips from KWE

To determine if your steering system is worn you can do the following:

  • When you are driving at slow speed (15mph) on a flat road, if when turning the steering wheel to change direction of the car it takes more than ½ inch movement of the steering wheel rim, then it is likely to be worn. Most worn cars will need over 2 inches at the rim to change direction.
  • Listen for a grinding noise from the steering pump when on full lock – if there is, then the system is leaking oil and the pump is running dry.
  • Observe if the car drifts left or right whilst driving. A mild drift to the right is ok on UK roads (i.e. out of the left gutter), but anything significant, or drift to the left can indicate either:

unequal tyre pressures

uneven tyre wear

different tyre types

incorrectly-setup suspension geometry

  • If you notice the direction of the car is unstable, either drifting or pulling left or right depending on road surface, then the toe-in could be badly out.
  • If the tread blocks show feathering on leading or trailing edges then the toe-in could be slightly out.
  • If you notice a wobble when driving at varying speeds (this tends to occur over a narrow speed range of, say, 50 – 60mph), this can indicate an unbalanced or bent wheel rim, or an unevenly worn tyre. Cheap tyres can be very bad from new. Do not confuse this wobble with brake shudder – see below.


To determine if your brakes are faulty do the following:

  • When gently applying the brakes, you notice that the car pulls left or right then:

there could be different brake retardation between left and right brake discs/pads

the tyres could have uneven grip

  •  If the car wobbles when the footbrake is applied then most likely one or both front brake discs is unevenly surfaced or unbalanced.
  • When firmly applying the brakes on a dry road:

on ABS-equipped cars) you should feel the car judder violently as the ABS alternately skids and releases the brakes.

on non-ABS cars, at least one front wheel should lock-up and skid.

If it is not possible to make the wheels skid on a dry road then the overall brake efficiency is down, usually because one or more brake caliper piston is seized.

  • When stationary on a flat road or driveway with engine running, apply the handbrake, engage D (this does not work for manual gearbox cars) and release the footbrake. The car should not move forward. This is particularly relevant to the XJ or XJS with inboard brakes where the handbrake mechanism is feeble and is commonly damaged by drivers leaving the fly-off handbrake applied while driving.


To determine if there are suspension problems:

  • Note any rattles at the front when going over rough roads – this is usually due to worn-out damper mountings, or, less frequently, worn-out anti-roll bar mountings.
  • Push down on the middle of the front bumper firmly with your knee. The car should be difficult to move downwards, and it should not bounce as it rises again. Repeat at the rear. If the car bounces (i.e. more than one movement after releasing the down pressure) then the dampers are worn; if the car is easy to push down then the springs are weak.
  • Look at the car on a level road from the side. The car should be more or less level, with perhaps a mild nose-down attitude. If it is high at the front then the rear springs are weak – this is common.
  • With the car settled on a flat road or driveway, you should be able to insert two fingers between the wheel arch and the top of the tyre. If this is not possible then the:

ride height is incorrect

car has been lowered

wrong tyre profiles have been fitted

There are many more suspension faults that can be identified visually or by ear. Come and see us, we can spot them and correct them for you!

*Please ensure that you if you carry out any of the above, do so in a safe environment and manner.

Classic car shows coming up in 2017

We enjoy to showcase the cars we lovingly build and restore and what better way see restorations in person than attend a classic car show. There are many classic and sports car events and festivals to attend this year, we have handpicked a few of our favourites below.

Ready. Set Go.

To ensure your Jaguar is in pristine condition for this year’s events book it in with us for a spruce up.


Practical Classics Restoration & Classic Car Show

31 March – 2 April – NEC Birmingham

Classic Car Show Logo

Officially the UK’s fastest growing classic car event, over 19,000 enthusiasts attended last year’s show, bringing together all aspects of classic motoring. From barn finds and project cars, to restorations with proud as punch owners. The Restoration and Classic Car Show hosts motoring experts and celebrities, presents live demonstrations and showcases over 1,000 classic cars.

Stratford Festival of Motoring

30 April –  1 May – Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford Festival of Motoring Logo

Running for four years now, this event celebrates the driving of motor vehicles. With over 300 cars taking a run out in the countryside over the bank holiday and finishing in the town centre for a parade it is an experience not to be missed. The main feature at this year’s festival will make a superb display from the local car manufacturer, Jaguar!

Simply Jaguar

9 July – Beaulieu

Beaulieu logo

Shine your XJS and buff up your E-Type… whichever model you drive or admire, it’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts; all are welcome at the 2nd Simply Jaguar event. As well as seeing hundreds of Jaguars you can also enjoy all that Beaulieu has to offer. Entry tickets include admission to all the Beaulieu attractions; The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and more.

Silverstone Classic

28 – 30 July – Towcester

Silverstone Classic logo

The packed weekend of the Silverstone Classic provides;

·       spectacular historic motor racing on the world famous circuit

·       free access to the paddocks and grandstands

·       displays from over 100 car clubs featuring more than 10,000 classic cars

·       interactive driving activities

·       dynamic demonstrations

·       live music

·       air displays

·       a vintage fun fair

·       a shopping village

It’s an event for the whole family.

Goodwood Revival

8 – 10 September – Chichester

Goodwood logo

Every September the Revival recreates the golden era of Goodwood Motor Circuit, between 1948 and 1966. This extraordinary event assembles the most significant racing cars and motorcycles along with legendary drivers and riders from the past and stars of today. The Revival is the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely in period dress. Nowhere else can you see this combination of world-class classic cars and vintage style.

Classic Motor Show

10 – 12 November – NEC Birmingham

Classic Moto Show Logo

With everything from classic to vintage to retro cars, the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will not disappoint. This event gives you a taste of everything, whether you have a passion for traditional British classics, vintage motors, historic motorsport, European exotica, American muscle or if you prefer, like we do, the more modern retro classics.


Share your experiences

If you have been to a show that you have really enjoyed, we’d love for you to share your experiences and pictures with us.


Arrive in style

Arrive in style to all the classic car shows in a fully restored Jaguar XJS. Whether it’s rebuilding, repairing or upgrading, we can help you design the specification for your classic Jaguar XJS, just drop us an email or give us a call.

Super suspension – the ride of your life!

Over the years, Jaguar has maintained its position as a leader in suspension sophistication and the launch of the E-type in 1961 was where it all began.

At the time, most production cars were still using live axles. This, of course, impacted ride quality and made cornering a fickle affair. Designed by Bob Knight, Jaguar’s first generation of independent rear suspension (IRS) took five years to develop and was a game changer in ride comfort.

While its first production application was in the E-Type, the Jaguar IRS assembly was refined and used continuously until production of the XJS ended in 1996. Even then it carried on in modified form into the XK8, XJ300 and XJ308. The smooth ride and excellent roadholding offered by Jaguar’s IRS assembly played a significant role in making the XJs the highly-desirable classics that they are today.

But even the best designs need a little helping hand. Unless professionally restored within the past few years, all E-type XJ-based suspension assemblies – including the DB7s – will likely be very loose. This is mostly due to key rubber components which have perished over the passage of time. This is not a design fault; it is simply the nature of rubber. Joints and bearings will also wear, and springs and dampers will have weakened.

These wear-related and perishable problems accumulate, resulting in poor steering precision, degraded handling and unbalanced braking.

KWE offers a fixed-price suspension, brakes and steering package. This includes removal and full strip of both front and rear suspension assemblies. Each individual component is then shot blasted and powder coated, first in zinc and then in black – or any paint colour of your choosing!

The components are then re-assembled with new bushes, bearings, springs, dampers, brakes, earth straps, steering pump, brake pads and shoes. At KWE, we do more than restore – we uprate, and so several components will be upgraded to KWE specification, ensuring your smooth ride is extra-safe and lasts well into the future.

The result? Precision steering, superb handling, and the same (or better) ride comfort that you’d expect if you’d just bought your XJ fresh off the production line.


Take a look at this walk-around body and suspension restoration video.

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