XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

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Modern music systems for classic cars

At KWE, we find that most classic car owners prefer the features of modern in-car audio systems, but not many customers are satisfied with the way modern head units look once fitted.

In cars built in the 90s onwards it is common to have non-standard single DIN units whose apertures, when removed, will not suit standalone aftermarket units. This Jaguar XK8 is a good example of a modern headunit that can’t be retro-fitted with an aftermarket Bluetooth unit.

Jaguar XK8 modern headunit

A Jaguar XK8 modern headunit

While the FM radio facility has not changed much in the last 40 years, the sources of recorded music have. We started with 8 track cartridges followed by cassettes. The digital age produced CDs and devices such as the Apple iPod and MP3 music files capable of being stored on a USB memory stick. Advances in technology now allow drivers to stream directly from a smartphone to the headunit via Bluetooth.

But what if you want to keep the original headunit but have modern music sources, perhaps with mobile phone/Bluetooth connectivity? Below shows an image of an early (pre-HE) XJS. Although it’s possible to fit a new headunit, there’s no direct connection capability and must therefore use a FM signal via its aerial.

An early (pre-HE) XJS headunit

I have experimented with solutions for many years on my own cars, and KWE has delivered a variety of solutions for our clients. I have come to the conclusion that the best overall solution is to store all your favourite music on a smartphone. This can then be streamed to a Bluetooth module, which in turn either transmits to the original car radio’s FM tuner, or can be electronically mixed with a CD changer input.

For a long time I persevered with using USB sticks plugged into either a (modern) headunit’s front panel, or via a lead hidden in the armrest connected to the back of the headunit. However, this presents problems if you’re the owner of more than one car with several memory sticks to keep updated as new music is added to your collection. I ended up then having to carry around a single memory stick and plug it into whichever car I intended to drive.

Another problem is that most head units have quite small displays, and it is difficult and extremely dangerous to attempt to locate a particular track while on the move – not to mention fishing for one’s reading glasses for those of us over a certain age!

An iPod left in the car isn’t particularly useful as the device’s battery tends to run down quickly. What then happens is that the first five minutes of a journey are spent waiting for the iPod to charge up. Further time is then spent selecting an alternative song from the first tune that is automatically selected from your library each time the device is turned on. Leaving the iPod connected to the car’s battery in some way doesn’t offer a viable option either as it simply discharges the car’s battery.

A cassette to audio input adaptor will work surprisingly well with older cars that have cassette headunits. However, this isn’t necessarily the tidiest option as it will leave trailing wires, produce a whirring noise from the adaptor and result in poor audio quality.

Bluetooth streaming gets round all of this by allowing anything with Bluetooth capability to connect wirelessly to your audio system – unfortunately classic Jaguar cars don’t have Bluetooth capability built into the audio units.

The final solution for keeping an original headunit is to fit a Bluetooth adaptor. Most of these older headunits do not have an audio-in jack socket so the only easy way to inject the audio signal is via the aerial.

There are many Bluetooth adaptors around with FM transmitters, and some can be clipped straight onto an iPod’s main connector. However, the quality is often poor so further research is required.

Fortunately the adaptors aren’t expensive – typically £10 – £30 for simple units. Normally there will be a small control unit to allow tuning the device to one of the radio’s pre-set channels, to answer mobile phone calls and to set up the Bluetooth link to your phone or iPod.

With Bluetooth capability, you now have the huge advantage of having all of your music to hand in a smartphone, providing a large screen to make music selection easier. I always use a good quality screen mount for my phone, located near the steering wheel rim.

With smartphone satellite navigation apps being so good these days (Google, Wayz, Sygic) there is usually no need for a standalone satnav unit to be fitted. Furthermore, a satnav app will interrupt your music to announce direction changes, without any extra wiring.

For an even neater installation and perfect audio quality KWE can fit a tiny mixer module into the CD changer input (if present) allowing you to select CD input and listen to either a CD if one is loaded up, or the smartphone if not (or indeed both)!

However, most smartphones don’t have enough memory as standard built-in to house a medium or large music collection, so it may be necessary to purchase a premium phone with a micro SD card such as the Motorola X Force for example.

Finally, here’s a tip on how to update your phone with new music. I have my master collection on a laptop, and use a synchronising programme called GoodSync which will just update new additions to the phone rather than dumping the whole library each time which can take hours.

Stay tuned. Next up we share our thoughts on loud speakers.

As well as upgrading audio systems, KWE provides many additional upgrade options. Check out some of our options here.

Invest in a Jaguar XJS, a modern classic with prices on the rise

Why invest?

Over the past 10 years, the value of classic and luxury cars, as measured by the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, has increased by 467 per cent. To put this incredible performance in perspective, this compares with a rise of just 111 per cent in the top end of the London residential market. Hedge fund managers saw returns of only 7.73 per cent over the same ten-year period. The index has reported a continued rise of 17 per cent over the course of 2015 alone. Due to this meteoric rise in value, classic cars are beginning to be recognised as an asset class in themselves, rather than just high-value collectibles.

Buying a classic car is clearly a smart investment choice, particularly as the stock market is volatile and interest low post-Brexit. At a time when there is little benefit to keeping cash in the bank, why not invest in an asset that will not only hold its value, but also bring you years of enjoyment? ‘Passion investing’ is increasingly expanding into the classic car arena; in the last 3 to 5 years, the volume of global purchases has exploded, driven by investors rather than casual collectors.

What to look for?

The best investment strategy is purchasing the ‘right’ brand of classic car. Only certain quality brands will hold value, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and, of course, Jaguar. Look out for cars with documentation and proof of ownership (we have a selection of classic cars for sale here). The car should be in investment-grade condition, or restored to a high standard – something that our wide range of services can certainly help with. Other strategies include choosing a car that was iconic in its time, or is known from TV and film.

Why an XJS?

Cars from the 1970s to 1990s are beginning to be seen as ‘young’ or ‘modern’ classics, ideal for long-term investment. According to current market trends, prices are set to rise considerably. The XJS, created in 1976 in the shadow of the E-Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 15.07.30type, quickly won over enthusiasts and achieved a long production run, appearing in numerous TV shows over the years, including The Saint. The car’s instantly recognisable lines have cemented its iconic status and ensured lasting appeal.

The XJS continues to be cited as one of the top modern classics, with numerous publications extolling its virtues. Classic Driver, The Sunday Times and AutoExpress have all published guides to investing in classic cars that recommend the XJS.

Why now?

As well as the beauty, driving experience and nostalgia-factor of the XJS, the potential for returns on investment has also been widely documented. Classic Register named the XJS as one of the ‘Top 10 Affordable Future Classics,’ saying that ‘Many are now starting to recognise the significance of the XJS… which can only mean good things for value growth in the long term.’ Petrol Blog included it as one of their ‘Top Ten Modern Classics with Investment Potential,’ noting that ‘prices seem to have really jumped in the past few years and this is a trend that will almost certainly continue.’ Tellingly, Autocar has predicted that the XJS will never be cheaper than it is at the moment, advising: ‘Find a good XJS and you’ll have an appreciating classic. Old Jags are in demand.’

Clearly, there are compelling reasons to purchase an XJS now, as more and more investors catch on to its appeal and prices continue to soar.

 

Contact the experts

If you need help sourcing a classic car or Jaguar XJS, or would like to discuss a Jaguar restoration project, then contact us at info@kwecars.com to find out how KWE can assist you.

A real head turner – Low-mileage V12 XJS convertible for sale

Jaguar XJS V12 convertible (1992)

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.

Solent Blue with a cream leather interior and American Walnut veneers. DSCF2849-S

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.

Car of the month: Jaguar XJS V12 coupé

Our Jaguar XJS restoration skills were fully utilised during one of our latest projects, which features as our ‘Car of the month’ for March 2016.

Fully restored Jaguar XJS V12 coupé

Fully restored Jaguar XJS V12 coupé

The new owner of this stunning example of a fully restored XJS V12 coupé requested that we first find and purchase the donor car. (more…)

Suave and sophisticated – that’s the Jaguar XJC

The Jaguar XJ and XJS are widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful luxury saloon and all-round accomplished sports cars ever made. So, it’s no surprise that the team at KWE is always on the look out for challenging new projects to work on.

With our engineering expertise and passion for Jaguar cars, we’re able to offer a high-quality restoration service. Our aim is to restore all of our Jaguar XJS and early XJ saloons cars to a ‘better than new’ standard. (more…)

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. (more…)

A Glaswegian grand tour across Europe in an exquisite XJS

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.

Have you completed any particularly interesting journeys in your Jaguar XJS?

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. (more…)