It looks great!
Now that the XJS is beginning to show a real increase in value, we all are buying up what we can at the best price possible. When this happens, many of us may buy cars far away and for the right price, we may skip the advice of hiring someone near the car to inspect it. Of which Jaguar World Corp has a long list of trained eyes around the world to do this for you, but at a cost, so all wooden nickel collectors or Henny Youngman type whose punch line is, "take my wife please" need not inquire.
So let us address the title of this topic, it looks great. This is most times the words of the seller. You look at the photos and say to yourself that the seller is being candid with you because after all, you can see for yourself that it looks great, or can you? I went to see a car for someone and what I saw as a nice-looking shining paint, had no shine at all, and the paint was in a dusty powder-like finish as dry as LA just before a brush fire begins.
Another example of this is the car that looks great in the photos but when you see it up close, it resembles the back of a crocodile or the ground of a river that has long run dry.
So let us address the dry powder-like look that looked great in the photos. This happens mostly in the south where the car was left outside in the sun for years, same as a guy who was caught with another man’s wife where the husband owns a cotton field and tied him to a post and left him there. Oh yes wide open in the sun. well, you ask why such a difference between the photos and reality? Photoshop is the old trick of the trade to hide the actual finish, and this was done on your computer with a little skill. But today, any snake oil seller is offered the art of trickery on all phones by choosing the lighting and shade which if the extreme setting is selected then this dull dry paint magically looks great.
Now let us address the crocodile desert look. This is the look of a true all original XJS paint finish from the 70s and 80s when lacquer paint was used before base and clearcoat were introduced to the automotive industry. And if the paint is not a very dry powder-like condition, then it was most likely in a garage for years which is good proof of original paint even if the photos were taken by a snake-oil seller.
So now you ask if you should buy this car? If you have not already and had it delivered only to reveal the truth and you have had several drinks of something a little stronger than water, waiting for the drink to answer if you should show up at the seller’s house and demand he step outside, if there is enough room in the price to pay thousands for a good paint job, then yes. But this is paint only we are addressing and not that rust bucket $500 basket case that every time you show it to someone for bragging rights, they look at you as if your head is missing.
Well remove your hat, sit the big stick down, have a seat and take a couple of deep breaths, a few more drinks, now hold on and sit back down I said few more drinks, not the whole distillery. We are talking logic here not a declaration of war!
The dry dusty paint may be salvageable by first a good cleaning with petrol then light a match. No, just kidding and I assume no responsibility if you stopped reading at the light a match. So, a good dishwashing soap and a good healthy rubbing, and then rinse well and repeat with plain water and a clean towel. Terry cloth towels should be used for the best results. Let dry then inspect the whole car very well and you may seek the assistance of that neighbor who walks his lawn every day twice a day looking for a leaf or anything else out of place so he can remove it. What you are looking for is any spots that look like there is another color showing under the paint finish indicating the paint is too thin to save.
Now you can grab your big stick because you need a paint job. Now if you are thinking, well I can just drive it the way it is and no one will notice, then you for sure drank too much during this exercise. However, if the paint is still showing a solid color, then you can use a good brand of polish to polish the paint to bring it to a shine. We use 3M as most good paint shops will use. Do not use wax for this. The paint must be polished first then you can apply wax to protect the polish. Use a buffing machine if you know what you are doing if not you will very easily buff right through the paint down to the primer and then you will need to buy a very large crying towel with a Jaguar logo on it as a reminder with every tear that rolls down that miserable look you have on your face.
If the car is from the 90s or late 80s then it will need a clear coat and then you should take it to a paint shop.
As for the crocodile dry soil look, there is no chance of correction in such a case as the paint is cracked and separated right down to the primer. This is original lacquer and many collectors like Jay Leno would never want to disturb the original paint and with most collector cars today, this is a plus for an increase in value. Now don't get any ideas about calling Jay Leno to sell him that car you have that 90% of it is in boxes, trying to make up for that last Brainiac idea you had and blew the kids college fund because then you will be in the dog house for sure and rover will be serving up your meals to you.
On the other hand, if you prefer to respray the car, this will be requiring a complete stripping of all the paint at least down to the primer then a sealer needs to be applied before the primer and paint are applied. So do not be in shock when the paint shop hands you a quote. Now, never ask just anyone how much you should spend on a new paint job because there are too many variables such as location, skill, condition of the paint and type of products used. This would be the same as asking a butcher or biscuit maker what you should be paying for a paint job. And if you ask it online, the answer may be coming from the butcher or biscuit maker.