What Have I Done? Tales of a Jaguar XJS - Part 2
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 | Admin
Part 2: Finding the Ideal Car?
The Jaguar XJS has been on the cusp of classicdom for years. Classic car pundits have been speculating that it is the next big thing for longer than I care to remember, but the reality of rusty British Leyland era bodywork and massively complex mechanical and electrical systems seem to have always suppressed prices.
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,