With the Jaguar XJS celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, we took a look back at this iconic car’s somewhat turbulent history.
Design plans for the XJS got underway in 1965, with the first production car being sold in 1975. The car was primarily designed by Malcolm Sayer, with input and control from Sir William Lyons. With Jaguar struggling financially at the time, the XJS needed to be a big success.
The highly anticipated XJS was seen by many as a direct replacement to the very popular E-Type. However, when the XJS was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1976, it was clear that the car was intended to be in a league of its own.
As more and more customers recognise the classic Jaguar XJS as a good investment opportunity, we are pleased to report that business is booming here at KWE. To meet growing demand, we’ve expanded our operations on Greenham Business Park and taken on two new recruits.
We’d like to introduce Andy Branning, our new Production Manager, and new Technician, Phil Alexander. These additions bring our total employee count to seven. Here we all are enjoying the spring sunshine yesterday – see photo below.
We have also acquired an additional plot of land next to the existing premises. The new plot has been designed so that we can park customer cars while restoration work is waiting to be carried out or is in progress – ensuring maximum workshop efficiency.
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It’s a debate that is likely to go on amongst motoring enthusiasts for the foreseeable future: which are better – classic or modern cars? On the face of it, modern cars seem like the better option; they’re safer, cheaper to run and better for the environment, right? However, for those drivers looking for a sense of excitement and individuality – you can’t beat a quality classic.
The real question is: why choose a classic vehicle over a newer model?
Driving a classic car can be perceived negatively – particularly when it comes to the environment. Environmentalists sometimes view classic cars as being gas guzzling planet destroyers, due to their poor fuel efficiency. In reality, salvaging a classic car is in fact an excellent example of recycling – maximising the use of something rather than just disposing of it.
Keeping an old motor running, rather than just replacing it at the nearest opportunity, is sustainable and limits the amount of waste in our scrapheaps.
Owning a classic car is a sociable activity – more than just a hobby. With regular classic car shows and owners’ club meetings, there is always an opportunity to meet fellow motoring enthusiasts whilst showing off your prized possession.
Being a member of a classic car club isn’t just fun and games, they can also prove beneficial when it comes to obtaining technical information or sourcing service parts. A social network of classic car enthusiasts is sure to benefit your vehicle, and help to optimise its performance.
Owning a modern car can be frustrating, as its value depreciates rapidly within the first 12 months of ownership. Comparatively, a classic car is more likely to retain its value – it may actually increase if restored and maintained to a high standard. Many makes and marques are becoming increasingly rare, leading to a greater asking price.
In an article written by Autocar this month, the Jaguar XJS was second in a list of only five cars highlighted as having great investment potential right now.
You don’t have to worry about paying a hefty sum for cover, as policies tend to cost less for classic cars than for more modern vehicles. This is partly because classic cars tend to be more carefully maintained and driven far fewer miles than other vehicles, resulting in a lower number of claims.
Modern cars have become more and more alike – inside and out, and with only few exceptions have evolved into characterless if competent transport. Some motoring enthusiasts crave the individuality and driver satisfaction that only a classic design can provide. A classic car ensures that you stand out amongst the sea of monotone modern vehicles, receiving those second glances of appreciation.
Why drive a bland modern family vehicle when, for the same price, you can drive an effortlessly stylish classic car? KWE has created an affordable alternative by bringing the price for re-engineered classics down to that of new family saloons. In addition, we have developed the ride and handling of the 1980’s Jaguar XJ to put it in the forefront of executive saloon performance.
Road tax on classic cars is also considerably lower than on modern vehicles, and is limited to £230 per year regardless of engine type or size. Comparatively, with a new V8 Range Rover, for example, you can expect to fork out over £500 per year.
If this post has got you thinking about your next car, make sure you speak to the engineering experts. At KWE Jaguar, we have many years’ experience restoring classic Jaguars and Aston Martins to ‘better than new’ quality. Read our client testimonials, here.
We often get asked which modern tyres are best for the Jaguar XJS and XJ saloon, so we’ve written a new technical note on the subject for our website.
Many XJS owners try very hard to source the tyres originally specified by Jaguar in the handbook, however, in our experience, we find that fitting a modern equivalent can greatly improve the handling. No need to pay over the odds for big name brands either! Find out more about our recommendations here:
Winter can be a difficult time for any car owner, as the cold weather and icy conditions puts an extra strain on the vehicle. To help ensure your classic Jaguar runs smoothly during the winter months, we’ve put together a list of our top tips:
The XJS is not best suited to snowy winter weather, due to its relative heaviness and rear wheel drive. Fitting winter tyres, however, will dramatically improve your ability to drive in snow and ice. An example is Avon Ice Touring, typically £85 per tyre plus fitting. As an alternative, try reducing the tyre pressure by about 10%, creating a greater surface area to grip on the roads.
Easier said than done at this time of year. If you do drive on salty roads, quickly wash off any salt/mud residue in the wheel arches and sill ends as soon as possible. For further advice, read our post on how to keep rust at bay.
Regularly check your coolant additive (antifreeze) concentration using an antifreeze tester, which can be purchased from retailers such as Halfords. In the winter, the concentration should be at least 30%, rising to 50% in the north of England and Scotland where it’s colder. It is important to change the coolant every two years for conventional types, or every five years for OAT (red) additives. At KWE, we only use OAT additives on XJS and XJ saloons.
Upgrading your headlamps will give you greater visibility during the dark winter months. We’d recommend Xenon HID electronic lamps, and can fit a pair for £456. These lamps are powerful enough to punch through dirty headlamp lenses, making sure that road signs and cyclists are well illuminated.
A V12 engine can build up more friction when cold, contributing to the malfunction of many car batteries over the winter months. To counter this, keep the battery on trickle charge, or disconnect it entirely when not in use. We can fit a simple battery switch for just £15. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare battery and jump leads just in case.
In winter you must ensure a 30:70 concentration of antifreeze to water, otherwise the washer jets will freeze solid.
To do this, try and avoid water from getting into your car’s locks. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, use a hairdryer to carefully and gently melt the frozen locks.
To stop the winter weather from causing damage to your XJS’s exterior, keep things covered up on those particularly frosty days and nights. A good quality protective cover (like this one) will ensure that the weather does not penetrate your door seals and age your screen seals or convertible hood, while also keeping your windscreen clear of frost and ice.
To improve your car’s vision at night and keep rust at bay, we offer a special winter package for the Jaguar XJS, which also includes a winter service. For more details visit our website or call 01635 30030.
Our latest commission is to bring a very good example up to top condition with KWE suspension/brakes/steering, power enhancement, mid-level engine overhaul and a range of restoration and rust-preventative measures.