What Have I Done? Tales of a Jaguar XJS - Part 2
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 | Admin
Naturally, just as I have come round to the idea of finding a Jaguar XJS, prices for good examples have been climbing steadily out of my budget range...so the hunt began for a suitable project vehicle. As we all know, Ebay holds an ever revolving repository of cars better suited to the junkyard than cruising intercontinental highways, but I was convinced there was a car out there waiting for me. The problem was that money burning a hole in my pocket, urging me on, like a little devil on my left shoulder. The little angel on the right shoulder knew this whole escapade was a bad idea, but then a promising advertisement appeared:
A 1990 V12 coupe with issues but crucially holding nearly a year's MOT. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of the country with just a day left of the sale and there was simply no time to go to see the car before the end of the auction. Nevertheless I made a note to check the final selling price to give me a guide for the future. The auction got the heady heights of £2000 but had not reached the reserve price and remained unsold. I contacted the seller to ask if he was going to relist the car - he answered in the affirmative, also mentioning that he would be reducing the reserve. True to his word, the car was relisted and I kept a watching eye on the auction, not ready to take the plunge (the angel was doing a good job). A few days later my mobile phone pinged to remind me that the auction was ending...I just had to take a look.
Again, the price had got to £2000 and stuck. With just a few seconds left, it was now or never. I took the plunge and placed a bid. I was certain not to win the auction, but there was a certain frisson in taking part. I still had not been to see the car, so I wasn't that serious- there would always be another one. I resolved to get on with my day.
My 'phone pinged a few seconds later. A message from Ebay: Congratulations on winning the auction. No! That wasn't meant to happen. Oh well, it must be fate. I convinced myself that it was worth a punt, and in any case, I was bound by the auction rules. Things were about to get a little odd. I contacted the seller who requested payment in cash. I arranged to pick up the car in a few days. On the way, the seller contacted me to say he could no longer meet me, but a friend of his would be there. "There" was at a drinking den, next door to a strip club on the wrong side of town. The car would be in a yard behind the building. True to his word, the friend was there, the car was there, locked in a yard bounded by a high steel fence.
So here I was buying a car I had not inspected, behind a strip club on an industrial estate with a wad of cash in my pocket. Was I mad? The car started, but boy, was it rough. Running on about 7 cylinders, a blowing exhaust and a mouldy headlining that I had to keep up with my head. VIN numbers checked, the paperwork looked fine, so I signed, handed over the cash and made my escape feeling that I might have bought a load of trouble. The driver's window did not work, the door mirrors were frozen and it sounded like a bucket of bones. Nevertheless, as it was running, I decided to head for home, 120 miles away.
Would I make it? More in Part 3.
All the best,