XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

Hold on tight (to your XK8)

Around the same time as the first Jaguar XJ6 (series 1) rolled off the production line, another Great British classic was born. In 1970, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) entered the music scene with its ambition to create modern rock songs with classical overtones.

In some ways, perhaps this is similar to the Jaguar XK8 – a contemporary twist given to a classic vehicle. Underneath the XK8’s modern curves lies a classic not too dissimilar to its XJS predecessor.

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

If, like us, you’re huge fans of ELO’s music and classic Jaguar cars, then why not have some fun and combine the two. Locate the CD version of ELO’s 1981 album Time, select track 12, turn the volume up and put the pedal to the metal.

‘Hold on tight’ (to your dreams) was released in July 1981 and reached the Top 10 single charts worldwide. We particularly like the title of this ELO track because, if you’re currently the lucky owner of a Jaguar XK8, this is exactly the advice we offer.

ELO image

ELO – Hold on tight

Jaguar XK8 – a classic in the making?

In a previous blog post we discussed why we believe the XK8 is set to become a future modern classic, and earn its rightful place alongside the XJ Series’ prestigious predecessors. While the XK8 may look very different to the XJS, it actually shares a lot in common with the basic body and suspension, and therefore requires similar restoration requirements. That’s where our XJS expertise comes into play. With prices currently very low, the XK8 could represent a great investment opportunity for those looking for a future modern classic.

Phil Bell, editor of Classic Cars magazine, highlights the fact that, like many neglected and ageing cars, the Jaguar XK8 ad XKR can fall victim to rust and expensive repair bills. However, models that have been inspected and regularly maintained will avoid this issue and are now starting to creep up in price. Expect to pay from around £5,000 upwards for a well-maintained model.

Condition assessment

Rust is certainly one of the well-known weaknesses pointed out by Classic Cars. It’s an issue we’ve previously addressed in our guide – five crucial measures to prevent classic car rust and more specifically for the XK8.

A close inspection will identify rust issues

If you have any concerns about the Nikasil issue then don’t be alarmed. The XK8’s engine is noted for its reliability and robustness, and the high sulphur petrol that damaged this friction-reducing material has been absent from the UK since 2001. Jaguar replaced most pre-2001 XK8 engines under warranty so if yours is still running well today, or you’re looking to buy a second-hand model, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

A couple of other parts that may require careful attention during inspection are the timing chain tensioners and the water pump whose plastic blades can disintegrate.

Prior to purchasing a classic Jaguar car, we recommend a thorough inspection. For peace of mind, KWE offers a full two-hour condition assessment, which provides a detailed report, highlighting any rust or damage issues.

For those looking to buy a Jaguar XK8 or XKR, the March 2016 issue of Classic Cars provides a helpful 16-page buyer’s guide. For further advice and information, contact one of our Jaguar restoration engineers on 01635 30030 or email info@kwecars.com

4:56 pm KWE Cars


  1. Richard Burns-
    March 28, 2016 at 1:25 am

    I have aquire 8 jaguarS in the last 4 years. My first buy was a 1984 xjs from California with 36k miles, I changed all bushings tie rods and upgraded the account system, put a fresh coat of paint on it and it looks new except for a 4″ rip in the back seat. I live in Connecticut so to get a car rust free with so little miles gave me the Jaguar bug. My next car was a 1999 xjr, it ran great but while I was having the front end redone I did some research and found out about the timing chains problems and with 95k.on it I didn’t drive it until I had the mechanic change everything. My question to you is I have a 2002 xjr 100 and 02 xk8, I can’t get a definite answer from any dealer or mechanic as to if the problem was rectified by then,the xjr has 113000k and the xk8 has 42k, can I have your opinion if I’m okay or still have problems, thanks Rich

  2. Chris Knowles-
    March 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hi Rich, The Nikasil problem should be dealt with by 2002, but the timing chain tensioner and water pump plastic blades issues were still there AFAIK. But these are not difficult or expensive to rectify. Chris.

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