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Jaguar cars -- fun to drive, own? Newbie here

I have not purchased a Jag yet, but I am considering it. I have always wondered what the mystique was surrounding the car. I am a Cadillac fan and never thought I would even consider an older Jaguar (late 80’s to mid 90’s XJS). Are Jags great cars to own overall? If you have had one, please share your experience. I’d like a car that combines luxury and performance … and that comes as a convertible if possible. Thanks!

Yeah, they are beautiful, sexy cars.
BUT, you’ll spend a fortune to keep it running.

You posted this question a couple of days ago.

Didn’t you like the responses you received ?

The Jag-you-are has a “pedigree”. For the upper-crust chap and all that sort of rot…

I had a cousin who had a mid '70s XJ-12. It was a dreamy ride, but it had a steady string of problems cropping up.

True. I appreciate all the responses, but I guess I am hoping to read that someone is happy to have purchased a Jag. (-:

Why a mid 80s to 90’s. Will this be a daily driver? Ever look into a more classic one from the 60’s? More pedigree and aftermarket support I would think. Probably even easier to find a nice restoration out there.

Test drive one and you’ll understand why people like them.
Own one and you’ll understand why shops like them.

Sexy, but definitely not for the budget or reliability minded.

My girl loves them.  I think they are OK.  They drive nice handle well, They just are a little over the top for me.  I like my VW diesel Bug.

Get one from 2004 and up. They became a bit more reliable then.

Could have something do do with the FORD ownership then?

More of Detroit than London in them then.

Nice to look at, nice to drive. But I wouldn’t own one.

I bought a '94 XJ12 with about 160,000 miles on it for fifty bucks. Yes. Fifty. The previous owner had given up on it. It had sat unmoved in her garage for two years. I found in the glove compartment receipts for over 14 thousand dollars in repairs over the prior 13 months.

It was very hard for her to start. She’d been told the fuel injectors were clogged, and would need a 3 thousand dollar cleaning. I found the real problem was an intermittent relay driving the fuel pump. I replaced it for $2.40.

The car has a dozen or so identical relays. Therein lies the problem with Jaguars. The electrics are an abomination.

Did this have the infamous Lucas Electrical System?

You’ll see folks replace the engine on these cars with a Chevy v8 - they’ve just gone and thrown out the RELIABLE part of the car! Like you say, it’s all the electrics and other systems that are most troublesome.

Lucas, Prince of Darkness? No. The screwball distributor cap is Lucas. Hard to describe if you’ve never seen one, it has 6 high and 6 low contacts. high for the plugs on one side of the engine, low for the other. The rotor is a goofy two contact set gizmo that contacts first one high plug, then one low, then another high, then another low, etc.

The relay in question is not Lucas. It has the Jaguar logo on it, but the manufacturer is apparently Hella, and it’s made in Spain. Curiously, with all the other identical relays all over the car, there is one slightly different relay that is used to drive the ABS. Appears to be the same format and could be plugged in to replace any of the others. It’s yellow in color and manufactured by Siemens. All the others on the car are black and made by Hella. I guess for the one relay they really wanted to work fairly reliably they went with a more reputable manufacturer.

Yes, Jaguar afficianados call these “lumps”.

Check out Captain Jaguar’s Cathouse. Excellent information available for the Jaguar owner. Or anyone just looking.

I have one friend who owns a 12 cylinder Jaguar, about 8 years old. He likes the car (especially the looks) and writes the costs off against his business. His wife has a 10 year old Lexus coupe which behaves flawlessly; no repairs.

My friend, and engineer/business man would not recommend ANY Jaguar to anyone; lest he make a long term enemy. It takes incredible patience and very deep pockets to own one of these, as others point out.

The Queen of England and her husband both have Jaguears, but he royal family had their own live-in mechanic to look after their Jags and Land Rovers.

Years ago, a friend owned an E-Type Jag (XKE), which, as a dentist he did not drive much. He compared it to being married to Elizabeth Taylor (you younger ones substitute Paris Hilton); some moment of euphoria with the rest tempermental behavior and very high upkeep cost.

If you have deep pockets and don’t need the car for daily transportation by all means buy one. You will have the mystique, but not much more. A few years back, Car and Driver Magazine tested 6 luxury cars, Mercedes E class, BMW 5 series, Audi. Lexus, Infiniti, and Jaguar. From the point of view car enthusiasts take, the Jag came in dead last. BMW was the winner, followed by Infiniti, I believe. Even Lexus, often condidered dull by this group finished ahead of Jaguar.

Hope this gives you some more input into your decision.

oldsfan said many times over many months that the car will be for weekend use. There’s a long list of possible cars. Check out his other posts if you have an hour to spend.

Well at some point I’ve owned just about every Jaguar model ever made with the exception of the early SS cars and post Ford ownership models and I’ve never regretted buying any of them, none of them made me happy but there again none of them made me miserable.

You do need to be practical, if you can’t maintain the car ‘hands on’ yourself then be prepared for some serious wallet creak occasionally.

You don’t say if this a V12 or 6 pot engine, if it’s a V12 I’d really steer clear of it - it’s a beautiful engine but can be troublesome (dropped valve seats are not uncommon) and high maintenance, you’ll see what I mean when you ready yourself for your annual cooling hose change - give yourself a day to do it properly…

If it’s a 6 cylinder AJ6 it’s more manageable, with regular oil changes the AJ6 lasts forever, the ultimate model is a 4.0L stick shift convertible - though they are rarer than rocking horse sh*t.

Rear ends are work, 100,000 miles is the clock for leaking pinion seals, moaning output shaft bearings, rotor replacement etc; The rear end has to be dropped as a unit and basically rebuilt since it’s uneconomical to just fix a single problem.

Generally Jaguar electrics are known to be ‘quirky’ though not more so than any other car of the same period - switchgear is dreadful, Jags used to use solid switchgear until US regs forced them to adopt non protruding switch faces - in a crisis some Jag engineer designed them while eating breakfast with 6 yelling kids one morning ~ it’s a little known fact that he also had a crushing hangover…

But Jags are great.That’s it just great. I can’t remember not having one. Docnick made some comparisons from C&D - I also own an 88 BMW E28 M5 (a real Euro one) it’s a glorious drivers car, very, very reliable but compared to a Jaguar it’s characterless - in fact it’s arse clenchingly boring…I keep saying I’ll sell my 76 Jaguar stick shift coupe, I’ve been saying that for almost 20 years.