In Doug’s second guest blog, we asked about any memorable journeys he’s taken in his XJS – and we certainly weren’t disappointed! It looks like Doug’s got the right idea when it comes to classic car ownership, as he gets so much more from the car than if it was kept in a garage all the time.
I’m not keen on cars sitting in garages or concourse-style perfection. Don’t get me wrong, I am pedantic about how she looks, is maintained and drives. The key requirement being that the car must be driven. I bought her to enjoy driving and feel connected to the road, not to look at and polish – granted I do a fair bit of this too.
To this end, we recently took her to the Spa Classic Racing meeting at Spa Francorchamps circuit last May. Glasgow to Hull, Hull to Zeebrugge on the ferry then on to just outside the town of Spa. A weekend of 50’s and 60’s racing cars leathering around one of the very best Grand Prix circuits at full tilt.
As part of the weekend, we got the chance to take the XJS around the circuit for five laps, as part of a ‘club’ session. I still smile when I think of blasting down towards Eau Rouge up over the summit, and chasing a lovely old Porsche along the straight, door to door.
The week before we left for Spa the car broke down twice – it had never even coughed in the wrong direction previously. The fix was simple, a £24 master relay that I fitted in the car park of the Glasgow Jag dealership in less than five minutes. There and back she never missed a beat and excelled on the long flat and straight Belgian roads.
The Spa jaunt was a test-drive for a bigger trip in September where we spent 12 nights and just over 3,000 miles getting to and from Monaco and Monte Carlo.
Day 1: Glasgow to Goodwood and overnight at the Goodwood Hotel. We turned up on the same day some multi-millionaire was having his 50th birthday party, and the car park was chocked with his classic sports car collection. He had decided to take them all out onto the Goodwood racing circuit and let his mates enjoy them. I have applied to be adopted – haven’t heard back yet…
Day 2: A couple of laps of the Goodwood circuit then off to Epernay via the Eurotunnel. First trip using the tunnel and it was fantastic. Shore to shore 35 minutes and absolutely no fuss or drama. I will definitely use this route again.
Day 3: Epernay to Tonbach and a fab stop at the Traube Hotel. It was on this leg that you quickly realise just how large and rural France is. The only niggle is the constant tollbooth stops – I’m sure you can or should buy a trip pass so you can avoid the stop starts.
Day 4: Tonbach to Davos via St Moritz and Klosters – probably the most enjoyable day of driving. Wide, smooth and winding country driving in idyllic scenery.
Day 5: Davos to Bormio, up and over the Stelvio Pass of James Bond and Top Gear fame. One of these experiences that if you knew what was ahead you would probably give it a miss. However, after having completed the drive, unscathed, we were all raving about the driving, the incredible roads and our near misses with other cars, motorbikes and cyclists. Note – give local buses a wide berth – they stop or move for no one.
Day 6: Bormio to Rapallo just a hop, skip and jump from Portofino. A long day but with the promise of higher temperatures and more sunshine we raced south and enjoyed the winding country roads we chose. Note – very obvious when you enter Italy as every Fiat or Alfa has a budding Ayrton Senna behind the wheel.
Day 7: Free day in Rapallo, visit Portofino and get the car washed and valeted.
Day 8: Rapallo to Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. Cruising and posing in a clean XJS. Only XJS in Monte Carlo and attracting a lot of curious and interested looks. Parked up next to a Bugatti Veyron at the MC-Bay Hotel.
Day 9: Monte Carlo to Lake Lugano – pouring rain and nose-to-nose traffic through and under the mountains. Hardest day because of the rain but compensated on arrival by the amazing Leopoldo Hotel.
Day 10: Lugano to Hinterzarten in the Black Forest. Ah, it’s good to be back in Germany. Wide smooth roads and predictable drivers.
Day 11: Hinterzarten back to Epernay. Lazy day with easy driving – stereo up loud.
Day 12: Epernay to Newmarket via the Eurotunnel. Back to UK and white van man out in force.
Day 13: Newmarket to Glasgow. Car has never missed a beat and I can honestly say I have stepped out at the end of each day relatively fresh and looking forward to the next day’s drive.
A memorable trip, some amazing roads and the XJS acquitted herself superbly. Throughout the whole journey we only saw one other XJS, a red V12 HE convertible at a tollbooth just outside of Rapallo on the road to Monte Carlo. Another highlight was sitting on the German autobahn at 125 mph behind a Ferrari 599 for mile after mile. Great cars and great company.
Class, comfort and charisma.
Are you inspired to take your classic car for a spin? Speak to the classic car engineering experts for advice and guidance on ensuring your vehicle is in tiptop shape for the journey ahead.
We wholeheartedly believe that the Jaguar XJS is one of the finest grand tourers available – both from past and present. For more information or to arrange a test drive, please email email@example.com.