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.
Continuing our series of guest blog posts, we asked loyal customer Tony Bray to tell us why he chose his XJS, and how KWE helped to make it ‘the best car it could be.’ (more…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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. (more…)
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.
We spoke to loyal KWE customer, Doug Wilson, about why he’s fond of his XJS, and what makes it better than the modern vehicles in his garage.
Born in Lanark, Scotland
Occupation: Company Director, Power Utility Company
Interests: Music, guitar playing and collecting, whisky collecting and drinking, shooting, reading, sports and international travel
My wife drives a Land Rover Defender. I use a Mercedes GL350 AMG Sport Bluetech as my daily driver. My V12 Jaguar XJS Coupe (1989) is my classic car choice and I also run a modern sports car. For the last ten years or so this has always been a Mercedes SL500 or new SL 400 variant. However, I have recently traded-in my SL400 for a new Mercedes AMG GTS which is due to arrive in April of this year.
The XJS for me is a very rare combination of style, substance and speed. Delivering on the trilogy with aplomb. An XJS stands out from the crowd in a subtle and classy way, it can be elegant, sporty or rakish – it just depends what mood you are in.
Most people drool over the E-Type and yes, it is a beautiful car to ‘look’ at but from a practical perspective it is cramped and drives like a camel with a sore hoof. The XJS just strikes a chord with me on so many levels. The flying buttresses are divine, the long side profile cool and sophisticated and peering over the long bonnet from behind the wheel is as close as we mere mortals get to piloting our own spitfire.
It is a vehicle that delivers on all its promises and more. If there is a better GT of this vintage I have yet to drive it. Inside the cabin you have all the mod-cons, way ahead of its time, great comfort (amazing seats) and the feeling that you are wafting on your very own personal magic carpet.
The engine and gearbox combinations vary from year to year but I like the Borg Warner 3 speed and the 5.3 V12. Okay, from 0-60 it is not as fast as modern GTs but from 60-100 and 100 on up the engine is a sheer delight. You will not burn people off at the lights (well not everybody), but you will catch and fly past them effortlessly in an unhurried and serene manner. You need to try very hard to get an XJS flustered; it has impeccable manners and breeding.
Getting used to a three speed, long geared, automatic box takes a while, but when you master the art of downshift and understand the range of each gear, it is a very relaxing way to drive.
I spent a few months looking for the right car to buy and probably overpaid slightly for the correct provenance and history – one of my better decisions. It was a one-owner car with a genuine 24K miles on the clock. The gentleman who owned the car drove a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow during the week and had the XJS to take him to his golf club at the weekends. A very civilised way to live!
The car was unmolested or modified and came with a history file that would have choked a horse as well as all the original manuals, keys and tools etc. It was obvious that the car had been loved and the original leather was virtually unblemished. I loved the colour too, Arctic Blue with a Saville Grey leather interior. These were the good points.
The drawbacks were that age had taken its toll on the suspension, brakes and steering. It was like driving a burst couch with only a vague idea of where the steering was pointed or would take you. Hence my search for a firm that could modernise and improve the weak points while still retaining and improving on what Jaguar had intended. Enter KWE.
I’ve been fortunate to own and drive a selection of lovely and desirable modern cars. However, never have I owned a car that people liked to talk about more than the XJS. Younger people want to know what it is. Many people want to talk about the one they had or the car that a friend or boss had that they admired. It is impossible to fill the car up with fuel without having some sort of conversation about the vehicle.
Want an XJS for yourself? Find out more about our full range of services and engineering expertise.
If you didn’t think classic car ownership could get any better at the moment, there’s yet more good news for pre-HE Jaguar XJS owners.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rolling cut-off date for historic vehicle tax exemption, means that all cars built before 1st January 1976 will be officially tax-free from April this year.
This means that so-called ‘modern classics’ are now to be described as ‘historic’ in line with the updated rules.
“1975 was undoubtedly a stellar year for new car launches, and their new found tax exemption not only feels overdue, but also inherently right”, comments Classic Car Buyer.
The reduced running costs will help to attract even more eager enthusiasts to the growing classic car market, who will help to preserve these wonderful vehicles, ensuring greater variety on the roads amongst a sea of modern vehicles.
As the Jaguar XJS turned 40 last September, it continues to pick up momentum as a desirable classic car, and the newfound tax-free status of the 1975-76 models is more than likely to strengthen its position as an affordable alternative to modern marques.
Although the majority of XJS owners will not benefit right away, here’s hoping that the exemption will roll on, and more classic Jaguar enthusiasts will continue to benefit year on year.
If you’d like to find out more about the Jaguar XJS, or to arrange a test drive, get in touch with one of our engineering experts. Sample the true driving pleasure of a classic car and stand out on the roads.