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OK what can you get for £1200? 10 year old Fiesta/Golf/Puegeot etc etc. All good in their own respects, but a trifle dull I feel. Hardly inspires you to take to the wheel and drive as if you owned the road. How about, just for the hell of it you understand, a V12 series 3 Jaguar complete with leather/air-con/beautiful sculpted shape/electric gizmos and incredible feel good factor. Yes indeedy, now is the time to buy these wonderful classic Jags and be the envy of your neighbours as you pull up majestically on the drive and smile serenly at their gaping jaw. Oh yes, the inner feeling of divine retribution for all their pathetic jabbering about the wonders of thier latest Eurobox. These old(ish) Jags are simply class acts for peanuts. Granted it is absolutly imperative to find a good 'un, so take a spanner pal if you are an accountant. Look for the obvious as well as smokey engine, horrid noises, misfires and clunks. Condition is all, so mileage may not be an issue if it has been well looked after. A good recommendation is to search enthusiasts clubs' websites - very often much better condition of car and by definition, better looked after. If all is well, then bask in the palatial surroundings of the interior, place crown on head, press the accellerator, and brace yourself for the awesome power of the V12. There are very few cars which can outdrag a V12 Jag from speed, so waving so long to Mr arrogant git in his BM who wishes to have conjugal relationships with both your exhausts is not a problem. All Jags are beautiful creatures, and as such demand a degree of attention and pampering. Fuel consumption means phoning BP up before a run and ensuring they are producing enough motor spirit for the day - 18 mpg at best, 13 in town! Maintenance for a V12 is not for the faint hearted, but a logical approach helps matters enormously. Just do not neglect the basics - oil/coolant/belts and the engine should be as reliable as any oth
er, apart from having 12 of everything. Keep a close eye on the temperature, V12's do not care for overheating, and of course oil pressure. Classic insurance on limited milage - you are not going to use it for commuting are you? - is surprisingly cheap, and there are plenty of outlets for spares. Dark colours especially Maroon are best, and go for automatics and leather. For £1200 or even less you have an automobile legend, surprisingly good handling, classic shape and of course the feel good factor - Hey you only spent the cost of clapped out Fiesta in purchasing it, so who cares if it goes terminal in a few years time! Get one before Blair and Co ban them as being symbols of plutocratic indulgence and sources of envy for all who do not have one Oggers
Last summer, my father bought a K reg XJ40, and I feel that it was a mistake for a number of reasons. The car is beautiful, and a pleasure to drive, with beautifully crafted walnut interior and that luxurious leather feel. There is plenty of space in the back for the little (and a lot bigger) people. And going on holiday to Italy in it was a dream, the air conditioning is superb, fast, and can be very cold. Fuel consumption isn't too hot, especially if you put it on "sport" setting", but what can you expect from a 4 litre engine? We have found that towing is rather expensive, again, not surprisingly, at about 8-13 mpg. Not a car you want to be driving when theres a fuel crisis. Unfortunately, this is where the praise ends... Firstly, Jaguar engines (post Ford i.e. after G reg) are meant to be good for at least 300,000 miles. Ours had done 108,000 when I we to spend nearly four thousand pounds overhauling it due to an oil pressure problem. This lead to several other problems, as the air conditioning subsequently packed in. Now it doesn't work, and the car is swealtering inside when it's on "as cold as possible". I must stress that this is not a problem with Jaguar, as it's the garage's fault, but it highlights one problem with running a Jag. Unforseen expenditure is a hazard, and this air conditioning problem will cost at least a grand to fix. When people hear the word "Jaguar", they take the average Ford price for a part, and treble it. We use the car to tow the caravan, and unsurprisingly, with such a heavy load, and a car which is, quite frankly, not designed to tow (the rear axle is far too far away from the towbar), one side of the rear suspension gave up on us, leaving a clunking sound, and an 800 quid bill upon our return to the UK. Jaguar, can reinforce the rear suspension for towing, but again, at a cost. Many Jaguar owners have experienced another &q
uot;hidden cost". The alloy wheels blister. More frivolent owners have been known to pay for them to be re-coated every couple of months, and it has to be said that if you don't, they look awful. Other alloys don't do this, and I simply can't understand why Jaguar would make such low quality wheels. Think very carefully before you go out and buy a XJ series Jag. They are beautiful, but you've been warned. Depreciation in cost will mean that one that cost you 50,000 quid 5 years ago will cost less than a new Mondeo now. Is it really worth it for a car in which you can see where the badge on the steering wheel's been stuck over the hole for a Ford badge? Think about it.