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Jaguar Restoration Specialists: Hold on tight (to your XK8)

KWE Cars – known for its XJS expertise – puts its skills and knowledge to good use on a number of Jaguars, including the XK8

The Jaguar XK8 – an eventual successor to the XJS – is set to become a future modern classic, as its investment challenge starts to build momentum in a similar vein to its predecessor.

The XK8, although considerably different in terms of looks, actually shares a great deal in common with the basic XJS body and suspension. With this similarity comes comparable restoration needs, and KWE’s XJS expertise puts it in pole position for helping XK8 owners get the most out of their car.

We firmly believe that the XK8 is likely to see a boom in popularity, and as the car becomes increasingly rare, prices are likely to rise in the next 10 years or so. Although we can class the XK8 as a ‘newer’ model, there are still some issues that need to be addressed when ensuring your car is in its best possible state.

Restore your Jaguar XK8 to better than new

In 1996, the Jaguar XK8 became the direct replacement of the incumbent XJS, and used the new all-Jaguar 4-litre V8 engine. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the XK8 had a modern, almost futuristic interior, with virtually unchanged design of suspension and brakes.

Available in both hardtop and convertible, the XK8 showcased a curvier figure in comparison to the more cubist XJS, however, the newer marque was no more spacious.

From a restoration point of view, the XK8 suffers from rust just like its older sibling, and this needs to be addressed before it turns into major expense. Many under body areas of the XK8 have little or no protective coating, with sill ends and floor pans being particularly susceptible to rust. Although a relatively modern model compared to previous KWE projects, we’ve completed rust restoration work on a number of XK8 cars.

Jaguar XK8 4 litre coupé visits KWE

Jaguar XK8 4 litre coupé visits KWE

The XK8’s engine is robust and reliable, and fears of the Nikasil issue are no longer justified. The high sulphur petrol which damaged this friction-reducing material has not been in the UK since 2001.

Suspension will suffer from the same age-related deterioration problems as the XJS, leading to sub-standard handling, rattles and imprecise steering. We can easily correct all these problems – markedly improving driving quality – applying our full suspension, steering and brakes restoration and upgrade package.

Topside bodywork will have the usual fading, rust spots and dents, all of which we can address through our high quality rust-repair and re-spray process.

Jaguar XK8 rust

Jaguar XK8 rust

It’s not all about the exterior of your vehicle, as the interior leatherwork is likely to be worn out and in need of some serious TLC. We are able to revamp your classic Jaguar to ‘better than new’, providing a range of bespoke interior options, including different colours and textures.

XK8 Restoration Interior Retrim

XK8 Restoration Interior Retrim

Prices of the Jaguar XK8 are at their lowest, and are likely to rise steadily over the next two years or so – in a similar way to the XJS. As decent examples of the XK8 become increasingly hard to come by, now’s almost certainly the time to invest before prices sky rocket.

Classic car restoration: We leave no stone unturned

The engineering experts at KWE are able to restore your classic Jaguar inside and out, leaving no stone unturned. We understand the allure of classic car ownership, and that’s why we listen carefully to your needs, offering bespoke solutions. Please call 01635 30030 for more information or to arrange a test drive.

Alternatively, follow us on Twitter or ‘like’ our Facebook page for classic Jaguar news and updates.

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.

XK8 Restoration Suspension Brakes and Steering Upgrade Renewal

XK8 Restoration Suspension Brakes and Steering Upgrade Renewal

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. As of 2019 expect to pay from around £9,000 upwards for a well-maintained model.

According to DVLA records, since 2013 around 350 XK8/XKR’s are being lost to the scrapyard each year, leaving around 21,000 registered in 2018. They are currently dropping over twice the rate of the earlier XJS models which has seen values rise over the last few years, in turn we are seeing more restorations being commissioned to bring these elegant sports touring cars back on the roads to be enjoyed at their full potential once again. Like most classic cars as the numbers left registered drop the values will only rise, so now is the time to buy or renew and restore your XK8 or XKR.

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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