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.
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…)
In our second instalment in the guest blog series, we ask classic car enthusiast, Rhett Redelings why he chose the Jaguar XJ-S over other available models. Here’s what he had to say:
I was the only child of a single parent. My mother worked in the classic car business, which exposed me to many high-end collectable cars, Jaguars among them. And Jags were always a favourite in our household. But as the only child of a single parent, I was somewhat in need of a male role model and, rightly or wrongly, I looked to film and television to show me the options.
In the summer vacation of 1982, between my first and second year of high school, while most of my friends were away for the summer, one of the local stations began running Return of the Saint early every evening. Ian Ogilvy was intense and electrifying in a way Roger Moore had never seemed to me and, filmed against all those exotic Italian and French locations with his white Jaguar XJ-S, he looked every inch the man I’d hoped to become, wide open shirt and regrettable 70’s fashions be damned.
By 1982, the Jaguar XJ-S had barely made it to US shores, so my first thought when I saw one tearing across my television with a stick-man at the wheel was “What is THAT?” The XJ-S looked unlike anything else on the road (a condition which is still true, 40 years later).
Ogilvy’s Simon Templar was smooth, well mannered and sophisticated. He rarely resorted to punch-ups but, and at 15, I believed he absolutely had the ferocity to do so successfully. His car reflected the same sophistication, power and graceful restraint. It looked rich, it looked fast but it was neither gaudy like an Italian wedge of a car, nor was it big and clumsy like an American muscle car.
Nowhere is it truer that we are what we drive than in California, and the Saint’s Jaguar XJ-S looked like the car the man I hoped I’d grow up to be would someday drive.
Then Return of the Saint was gone. My friends returned from vacation, school resumed and I only ever met one other person who had seen it. It never came out on video tape, never ran in syndication again and it became kind of mythical, hugely important to me at a very formative time, but not something I could share.
Flash forward to 2013 and my wife and I are having cocktails and reminiscing about all the cars we fantasised about in our youth. Having grown up in the collector car business, I’d had a chance to drive most of my dream cars and, sadly, found most of them looked much better than they actually drove. The one exception was the Jaguar XJ-S. A quick Internet search later and purchase prices for a Jaguar XJ-S looked surprisingly, and somewhat deceptively, accessible.
Of course, there are no cheap Jaguars, nor should there be. We found an XJ-S worth saving, in white with mulberry interior, not unlike the old Return of The Saint Corgi XJ-S. But, other than a straight body and strong engine, it had little to recommend it. The car needed almost everything an XJ-S could possibly need. And I absolutely had to have it.
Rather than hire a trailer to bring it the 125-miles home, I bought a fire extinguisher and case of oil and decided to drive it home, thinking “I’ve driven cars in dodgy shape before. How bad could it be?”
When we were about halfway home, well after the sun had gone down, I hit a small pothole on the highway and the headlights went out. Thankfully, there was another pothole right behind it because that one knocked the lights back on again. A jolt of fear ran through my body, and I had the answer to my question: It could be really freaking bad, actually.
How many cars had I pushed off the road in my time? And how many cars had I seen wrecked and burned? I put my hand on the shifter and said to the car with all the solemnity a godless man could muster and whispered: “Just get me home. Take care of me and I’ll take care of you. You’ll see, we’re going to be great together.” I wasn’t praying to a god or to the heavens, I was praying to the car.
I pulled into our driveway an hour later and, with a buzz of excitement and a sigh of relief shut the car off. The next morning, I came out to the drive with a cup of coffee to review what, at that point (and for some time later), felt like my latest folly and I could not believe the drop-dead gorgeous car that was in my driveway. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen on four wheels, and it was mine!
Honestly, there have been some rough points getting the car back together that have tested the strength of my convictions. If the car were not so beautiful, I probably would have given up on it. But it is beautiful and it has incredible presence. And, while the original owner cared for it somewhat indiscriminately, he did at least have the presence of mind to garage the car, so the original paint still looks fresh and the interior still smells of sweet Connolly leather and wood.
Sometimes, I’ll come out in the evenings with a glass of wine and just look at it or sit in the driver’s seat without starting the engine and enjoy just being with the car in silence.
You want to ensure your recently purchased classic car lives up to your high expectations. In order to get it up to scratch, you might be considering customisation or restoration work. You may be sceptical, however, as some in the classic car community frown upon such customisation, branding it sacrilegious to a car’s original philosophy.
So, should customisation be considered as part of a restoration plan at all? Or should you bite the bullet and accept the car for what it is, even if it doesn’t meet your requirements? This post examines whether customisation should be embraced or avoided altogether.
There’s always the risk when carrying out a customisation project that the work may not befit the quality of the original vehicle. Shoddy workmanship will depreciate value, and may even cause some major engineering problems in the long term.
A new trend, coined ‘restomodding’, draws from the advancements in automobile technology to enhance the performance, comfort and safety of the classic car. At KWE, we refer to this as ‘re-engineering’. We use modern parts and materials to bring longer life, safety and performance to classic cars. The result is a classic that can be used for daily driving, a holiday adventure or transcontinental blast in comfortable excitement.
This doesn’t mean that all ‘restomods’ fulfil the brief, as many would argue that they have been tastelessly restored, leaving some classic motoring enthusiasts wincing. If you’re not looking for a Pimp My Ride-style abomination, it’s probably best to seek expert advice.
KWE Cars prides itself on its ability to restore classic Jaguars back to ‘better than new’ quality. With many years’ engineering experience, we are firm believers in restoring with your needs in mind – and we make sure we complete all work to the highest standard.
When it comes to customisation, we believe that it comes part and parcel with classic car ownership; it’s all about making sure the car suits your way of life. We focus on improving performance and making the vehicle more practical and comfortable for modern life – all without ruining that classic car magic that enthusiasts crave.
Through carefully tailored and bespoke solutions, our interior and exterior customisations allow for an enhanced driving experience. Leaving no stone unturned, we can restore all aspects of your classic car, from new leather seats and alloy wheels to reconditioning the engine.
We’ve worked on some interesting cars over the years, taking into account our customers’ varied requirements. We believe this stands testament to our ‘can do’ attitude and expertise.
We recently finished the restoration of a 1988 V12 convertible XJS, complete with a special request from its owner. The client likes to take his dog, a black Labrador named Pops, out with him when he drives his XJS, so needed somewhere flat in the back for him to sit. We removed the convertible luggage box in the cabin and replaced it with a flat floor. Pops now sits in full wool-trimmed luxury!
Other bespoke customisations include personalised leather seats and alloy wheels, state-of-the-art sound systems, and a wine rack in the boot for James May and Oz Clarke’s BBC series.
KWE customers can design and commission their own alloy wheels, select that perfect shade for the paintwork, customise leather interiors, and so on – we do all this with the highest degree of skill, ensuring that the finished result befits your high expectations.
Driving a classic car should be a privilege, and a carefully planned restoration can enhance this experience further. A quality, high finish customisation will embrace and sympathise with the craftsmanship of the era, building upon this to further enhance the pleasure that comes from owning a classic car.
If you’d like to see what we could do for your classic Jaguar, please visit the restoration services page on our website or get in touch. Call us on 01635 30030, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Many of our Jaguar XJS customers seek our advice on classic car insurance, and no wonder – it’s a rather different requirement from normal car insurance.
It’s important you consult a reputable broker who specialises in classic car insurance, in order to get the best possible cover for your classic car. We would recommend researching the following insurance companies, but there are, of course, other reputable brokers available:
We would highly recommend going for ‘Replacement Value’ insurance cover, in case of unexpected damage, such as a collision or accident as you drive your freshly-restored classic away from KWE! This helps to overcome issues relating to the ‘book’ value that insurers sometimes offer, which might be a tenth of what you’ve just spent.
The above insurers provide specialist advice, and really know their stuff when it comes to classic cars. While they might offer only a limited mileage policy (typically 6,000 miles per year), they should be fine with insuring the car for a more accurate replacement value. KWE can confirm the value of the works done for Insurers. In the end it is about establishing what it would cost to replace the car with one in similar condition. We take the view that substantial improvements such as an engine rebuild or bare-metal respray, or full suspension renewal would count at their cost value on top of the car’s intrinsic but non-restored market value. Items such as servicing, repairs and rust protection would not add to the replacement value.
So do inform the broker about the following if applicable:
The sort of things that would be excluded from your policy are as follows:
We recently completed work on a 1983 Jaguar XJ12 Series 3 Saloon. Prior to its full-scale makeover, this classic had been sitting in the sidelines at KWE for several years, awaiting a client to commission its restoration.
Last year, one of our existing customers enlisted our expertise to restore the model back to its former glory. The customer – a true XJ enthusiast – is already the proud owner of a KWE-restored 1991 XJS, featured on James May and Oz Clark’s BBC series, Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure.
The body has been completely stripped and repainted in gloss black, with ‘biscuit’ Connolly hide throughout, full interior makeover, and new KWE suspension, making this classic a real head-turner.
To view the full extent of our work, and for a look inside our workshop, visit our build gallery.
A big thank you to everyone who visited our workshop this weekend for our open day, celebrating 40 years of the Jaguar XJS. The event was a great success, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
We were delighted to welcome customers old and new to our showroom to join in the birthday celebrations, many bringing along their prized XJS cars.