Buying or selling an XJS

There are many XJSs showing up for sale in various conditions and because the XJS gets so many peoples motors going, it is very tempting not to pass them up. And especially the type of person who will drive their two-cylinder car 35 miles out of the way to save two cents per gallon for fuel. Oh no, you don’t! come out from under the bed, we see you trying to hide that shirt that says its too much, but you like all of us just have to have an XJS so you go on the search for one with $500 to spend and because you are that type of person who knows a guy, you figure that for a couple a thousand you are going to have a great XJS. After all, you say the prices seem to be so low. Okay so take a few moments to pull out your crying towel before I shed some light on this. And by the way, get out the largest towel in the house and have your wet vac plugged in and ready and I will wait.

The prices are lower here in the States because most of them were sold here but that is changing. Most of the low price cars here are owned by people who either inherited it or others who thought they could own a trouble-free XJS for a few thousand.  And I have no words for those who think that dropping a Chevy engine in it is a brilliant idea. Actually, I do, an XJS prison in Siberia. So the great examples in other countries are selling for more than the cars in the States but they are going to climb here as well to the point those who cannot afford them will no longer have them. So my suggestion to a seller with an XJS is to learn to be your own devils advocate by looking at your car as if you are buying it or better yet take it to a dealer who would buy it just to see what they point out then go from there in your asking price. You can always negotiate the final price so start high but also do not be under any illusion that yours is the best example on the planet. All of these cars are at least 25 years old and it may look like the queen of Sheba but all of its rubber may need replacement or the stitching on the seats may be dry rot or worst the leather could be. All parents think that their baby is the most beautiful ever. I sold one of my Rolls that was 25 years old that my wife bought new in 84 at and the car was garaged in her climate-controlled garage in Greenwich, CT, and serviced for the first 20 years by Carriage House where she bought it from. The car had 3,300 miles on the clock when we met. I took the car on a 14 hr trip to my home in Hilton Head when all the things that could go bad, began to. We spent 22k replacing all rubber parts and suspension components. Then I sold it a few years later for 26k which was all that car could bring with only 28k miles and it looked the same as it did with 3,300 miles.

Now for those of you who are realistic about owning an XJS and seek advice from just anyone online buy showing one photo that the seller sent you, please do yourself a favor read buyers guides for the XJS and if you are a DIY person and you think that you can fix the 3500 rust holes, bring the blotched paint back to life with a little elbow grease, just throw in some fresh fuel that you saved two cents a gallon to buy, slap some leather conditioner on the seats that your finger pushes through thinking that should do it, drive it 500 miles home on tires that were new when FDR was president, here is a suggestion. Break open that rainy-day piggy bank drive 35 miles to get gas, take that two-cylinder car you are driving to the first national city bank, walk in and demand all the money and then go home and search for an XJS.

Okay maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. Actually, you can have a great ownership and driving experience if you are prepared to do the homework and only buy the best example you can buy, and if you find one for under 10k find a Jaguar service and have them look the car over and put up on the lift. You can never tell all that is going on by a quick look because the XJS drug will intoxicate you. And remember that most people who are selling one that looks like every tom dick and harry who claim they can fix anything has spent many drunken moments torturing the car, has a bottle of champagne chilling for the moment you take that gremlin away. Buy a well-cared-for car and pay a good price based on what you see in the market and a good place to start by googling Hagerty valuation and search the car in question. And if you do not have the money now, I have three words for you, the first national city bank. I rest my case. 


1 comment

  • I guarantee you that these words of wisdom will fall on deaf ears. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to buying cars we see that we want, and really don’t ‘need’. I am a poster child for this movement of bad decisions. Having bought and owned perhaps two hundred cars that I ‘wanted’, I have first hand knowledge of what to do; and it is all wrong. Of late, the wisdom worm has worked it’s magic, and I drive new cars and buy ‘newer’ cars, but I still have a few old pieces that I will never bring up to a standard like being driveable, and there they sit. I did release a couple the other week, and the new owner paid my price and was happy as a kid in the candy store with lots of money. Hard as it is to believe, there are a few old cars out there that still tickle my fancy, and I continue to search for them.

    ronald stephenson

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