The world of classic car ownership is often presumed to be a bit of a boys’ club. One woman who owns several classic cars, Carolyn Aylmer, has said that her Ferrari 348 ‘attracts a lot of attention from men, who of course assume it isn’t mine.’ There is an increasing number of women in the industry, however, who prove that women enjoy owning and driving classic cars just as much as men do. Nadine Katz, who specialises in insuring classic cars, is one of them, saying that ‘a lot of women own their own cars… some even build cars; they know so much about the mechanics.’. A recent survey has revealed that a quarter of the UK’s classics are owned by women.
Car dealer Joe Macari has said that, in his experience, ‘women buyers’ tastes are very different to men’s… pretty cars will always sell.’ Are they so very different, though? We wanted to learn more about why women enjoy owning and driving classic cars. Many of our customers are women, so we turned to them to find out. We invited Jaguar enthusiasts Rachal McHale and Jeannette Hartley to tell us what they love about their classic cars.
The overall look of classic Jaguars was one of the most important features for Rachal. She loves the styling, describing them as ‘gorgeous, elegant and sleek’ with ‘curvy cat-like lines.’ The fact that they are ‘quintessentially British’ is also important to her. One of Jeannette’s favourite things about her Jaguar XJS is its British engineering, and the fact that Jaguar creates jobs for people as the UK’s largest automotive employer.
Both of them agreed that the driving experience was another key factor in their decision to buy a Jaguar XJS. Rachal loves the ‘smooth, easy drive,’ and the fact that the car has ‘the ability to really fly if required.’ Jeannette appreciates that her Jaguar is ‘lovely to drive, comfortable.’
They would both choose a classic car over a contemporary car any day of the week. Rachal notes that classic cars have ‘a strong sense of personality and style – you don’t get that with a Vauxhall Astra…’ and Jeannette appreciates the superior quality and comfort of a classic car.
Furthermore, they both recognise the excellent investment opportunities offered by the Jaguar XJ and XK series. Not only are these models holding their value, but with the right care and attention from a reputable classic car restorer, owners will benefit from rising prices.
Interestingly, both of them think of their Jaguars as feminine. Rachal said that, for her, ‘Jaguars are most definitely feminine,’ although she feels that overall, the brand is male-orientated. Jeannette describes her car as ‘a real lady’ and has fondly nicknamed ‘her’ Lady G. Perhaps this is a reflection of the strong bond and identification between a classic car owner and their treasured car.
It seems that women choose classic cars, particularly the Jaguar XJS, for the same reasons that men do – the beautiful design, excellent engineering, and phenomenal driving experience. It is not a man’s car, or a woman’s car – it is a driver’s car. Rachal and Jeanette’s experiences with their re-engineered Jaguars demonstrate the universal joy of driving a classic car.
What is your favourite thing about your classic Jaguar? Let us know!
KWE currently has a selection of classic Jaguar XJs for sale. See here for more information.
The roof is down, the wind is in your hair and all that lies in front of you is the open road and the perfectly tuned V12 engine of our latest Jaguar XJS offered for sale.
We’re selling this superb example of a 1992 V12 XJS convertible on behalf of one of our clients. It’s been given the full KWE treatment with our full suspension, brakes and steering renewal and upgrade package, providing that familiar smooth and comfortable ride you’d expect from all of our fully-restored classic Jaguar cars.
With only four previous owners, this low-mileage XJS has just over 40,000 genuine miles on the clock. Its exterior is matched by the quality of workmanship and time spent on its interior. Finished in Jaguar Solent Blue with a cream leather interior and American Walnut wood veneers, this superb convertible sports car is guaranteed to turn heads whenever and wherever it’s driven.
For a full suite of pictures please click here.
For pricing and detailed service information, visit our website here.
You can see the full range of our cars for sale here.
As part of a new series of blog posts, we will be inviting a number of XJS owners and Jaguar enthusiasts to contribute to our blog, telling us exactly why they love the XJS. This week, we’ve gone across the pond and asked California-based, Rhett Redelings what makes the car so special to him.
I would argue that the Jaguar XJ-S is a work of modern art. Just standing still, before you know anything about the car, the lines of the bonnet, that subtle hint of a power bulge and those flying buttresses make the XJ-S look like it’s already moving so fast that it’s pulling ahead of itself and stretching out of its own skin. As onlookers, we are about to witness a transformation or climax and, like the car, we are forever suspended, right at the edge of that forever-unresolved moment.
There is a subtle tension in the design that seems also to reflect the times in which the car was created. Everything works, visually, ergonomically and technically, but only just. Depending which angle you view it from, the XJ-S either looks old and elegant or oddly modern and vital. Sharing the XJ platform is wonderful of ride and handling but makes the car, viewed from the profile, seem slightly too long, and yet perfect when viewed from any other angle.
Released in the mid 1970’s, but with a design language from the 1960’s, the XJ-S probably looked old fashioned the day it was revealed, but it’s this very quality that makes the car look timeless today.
Everything is held in a delicate balance and, depending who you are, all that tension and unresolvable anticipation makes the car either uncomfortable to behold or infinitely captivating. In my case, I find the XJ-S irresistibly and enduringly desirable in all its forms but never more so than in the original, pre-facelift coupé body style.
Beyond the styling of the car, a well-sorted XJ-S is just an incredibly capable Grand Tourer. The performance, road manners, ride, and comfort are all excellent, even by modern standards.
While the underpinnings are shared with the XJ saloons, and the transmission made by GM, much of the car is bespoke. The door handles, for instance, are somewhat unintuitive but beautiful in their own way and feel very satisfying and sophisticated when, with a slight squeeze, they click the doors open. The headlamp surrounds, the grille, the steering wheel, seats and so forth, are exclusive to the Jaguar XJ-S. The level of trim exceeds that on my ’84 XJ6 Vanden Plas.
Upon opening the car door, a gentle squeezing motion and the sweet, sophisticated aroma of Connolly leather greets me. When I get in the car, I am insulated in what feels like a very exclusive space; the Recaro-style seat firmly cradling me with exactly the right lumbar support and firmness.
Everything about the car inspires confidence, from the feel of the seats to the sound of the ignition, the power of the acceleration and the way the car can take a fast corner without ever breaking traction. When I do sometimes take a corner too fast, the independent rear suspension has a kind of magical way of bearing down, keeping the car on the surface of the road, defying physics.
I have driven faster cars but never a car so smoothly, consistently powerful. For instance, 80 mph in second gear, the engine is at 3500 rpm and feels like it would let me take it over the red line before it would run out of available power. And then there’s 3rd gear…
Driving it is exhilarating but not effortless, not mindless. It absolutely rewards the skilled driver but it is not forgiving. Almost like a living thing, the XJ-S needs me to drive it as much as I need it. In a way, this is part of what I love about it and, in my opinion, part of its ‘Jag-ness’. Driving it demands that I be fully present in the moment, not absently thinking about projects I left unfinished at work or the pressures that lie ahead.
Driving my XJ-S is a kind of meditation. I feel rejuvenated after driving it, never exhausted. I have never ended a day with it without wishing I could get back in the car and just keep going.
The XJ-S is a car crying out to be understood. For the owner of one, it is essential. But it’s impossible to understand the XJ-S without having at least passing awareness of what came before and what came after. To love the XJ-S is to love all Jaguars, to some degree, but mostly it is to know the XJ-S in its context.
In part, I think the Jaguar XJ-S is special to me because it’s a bit of an underdog. Plenty of other cars in its class, Ferraris, Astons, the beloved E-Type etc., require more than average upkeep, suffer reliability issues, inconsistent build quality and so forth, but the XJ-S seems uniquely dogged by these criticisms.
Despite some initially poorly conceived engineering choices, the XJ-S is, at its core, a brilliant example of automotive craftsmanship. Faster than the MBZ 450 SL, more comfortable than a Porsche 911, and considerably more refined than the Ferrari 308 GTB and very nearly as fast, the Jaguar XJ-S, built under better circumstances, would have been the world-beater it was meant to be.
The XJS is a hugely important car. Not only is it magnificent to drive, sumptuously refined and strikingly beautiful, if somewhat unconventionally so, it’s arguable that we wouldn’t still have either Jaguar or Aston Martin without it.
Both companies, then essentially divisions of the Ford Motor Company, leveraged the XJS as a shortcut to developing both the Aston Martin DB7 and the Jaguar XK8, two Grand Tourers credited with saving their respective companies. In fact, I’d go even further to say that the Aston Martin DB9 and Jaguar F-Type both drive and feel very much like modern interpretations of the XJS.
The technologies and underpinnings have certainly evolved but our fundamental expectation of what a premier Grand Tourer is, how it should handle, how to blend the luxurious character with its sporting nature, is all built on the example of the XJ-S; a Grand Tourer that was so good at being just that, that it lives on, at least in spirit, in two of the most desirable British car marques today.
Not bad for a car initially regarded as a poor follow up to the E-Type.
A big thank you to everyone who visited our workshop this weekend for our open day, celebrating 40 years (in 2015) of the Jaguar XJS. The event was a great success, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
We were delighted to welcome customers old and new to our showroom to join in the birthday celebrations, many bringing along their prized XJS cars.
We’ve had the pleasure of working on this increasingly customised V12 XJS on a number of occasions. On its latest visit to our workshop, we’ve been asked to install our Digital Engine Management (DEM) system. The system will release more power, and will allow us to optimise the fuelling and ignition for other modifications, such as cold air inlets.
Modifying these engines would normally have little or no effect, unless the fuelling and ignition is re-mappable. Without specialist knowledge of the original firmware-based map and ability to re-blow vintage eproms, this is not really possible.
Our modern Omex system, however, allows for full re-mapping. This XJS was dyno-tested at just over 300bhp, prior to any modifications being carried out. Once the installation of the system has been completed, we will be able to check on the gains we’ve made.
Another advantage of the modern engine management is the much-improved reliability. The old Lucas system using the AB14 ignition amplifier is prone to failure when hot, the new system ensures this is no longer an issue.
Follow the progress of this V12 XJS, and view the full image gallery, here. Alternatively, if you’d like to know more about digital engine management systems, or our full range of services, get in touch! Give us a call on 01635 30030, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
We’ve recently posted a note within our website’s tech centre all about waterless coolants. To visit this page, click here.
We think the Jaguar XJS looks quite the opposite of plain in this fabulous YouTube video we found. It’s visual tributes like these that really help to validate it as a beautiful classic car. We hope you enjoy watching the video as much as we did.