Let's talk rust
Okay, folks here we are, 24 years later since the last XJS was produced. I know it does not seem that long but in 96, I was operating Wall Street Yacht charters at 67 Wall Street and recently I looked up an investment banker who was my first client on LinkedIn, and there he was but waring glasses and no hair. And he and I both had a full head of hair at that time. What’s left on mine is a close resemblance of the peach fuzz I had on my face as an adolescent.
Well not quite that bad but you guys know what I am talking about. Now also in 96 I was an avid cyclist and lived mostly at my home in San Diego so I could ride more than 700 miles a week. And now I can still wear the spandex outfits I had made then but let's just be real, spandex will stretch for anyone but that does not mean we should be wearing them! Unless of course, we want to cause innocent babies to cry while grandma is walking them in the stroller. 24 years old for a human being is the age of finally just learning how to walk and chew gum at the same time.
Perhaps at that age, one has had a few relationships or perhaps none. Anyone who has been in and out of such experiences knows it can take a toll on the body but mostly on the mind, and in extreme cases, making you a therapist’s number one client.
So let us address the XJS which the latest version is 24 years old. It may have had multiple relationships with owners, repair shops including the shops that had no business touching the car but somehow convinced some vulnerable owner that they could repair the car. You have heard the type that states they can fix anything. Well sure they can eventually after fifteen thousand unknown wires running all over the place, coffee cans replacing reservoir, bypass buttons, and switches all inside the car that makes you think this person watched too many batman episodes. And what about the bodywork that may have been done over the years by the shop in the back yard of the guy who paints cars under the oak tree in his back yard and he uses so much Bondo that you think he is the sole stockholder of the brand. So now we are getting to the main issue at hand. Rust.
So, you may ask well what about it? Well, you come along all these years later and the car is on the market for sale. You answer the listing and show up and the seller pulls up the skirt of that hot-looking XJS and you get all fuzzy inside and all sense of thorough inspection goes right out the window. So you just pull out your wallet and hand it over to the seller and tell them to take whatever they want, pull off your pants and shake them upside down to be sure nothing is left as she is showing a little more leg, get the keys and the title and you are so happy that you even forgot your name! Or the other side is you are known by all who know you as the number one tire kicker and will never buy an XJS unless the seller pays you to take it away! This is the person who will brag about how little they paid for the car while saying to you that you will never guess how little they paid! When upon inspection you can believe just how little they paid.
So, in either case, you are in for some surprises. I have pulled apart around 18 XJS cars some myself and the rest with one of my employees over the years. I have seen the worst of conditions, but these were not the cars I would buy because I would only buy the best parts cars I could for the money. Lately, I have heard of hidden rust that was in no way noticeable when buying and especially lately the windshield frame area. So this is my advice on the matter of discovering rust, rust, and more rust. You must be very careful going down the road of rust repair, especially when you did not notice it before you purchased the car, because there may be much more rust hidden away. Proper rust repair is not as simple many times in a 24 year plus car.
Anyone who is buying an XJS or any classic car should first invest 5 to 10 bucks to buy a magnet. Wrap it with tape to protect the paint and touch everything that is metal and if it does not stick, then you know the Bondo bandits may have had a party on this car. Before running the magnet over the car, make sure the car is clean so as not to scratch it while running the magnet over it and please do ask the seller if they are okay with you running the magnet over the car. And if by chance you have the car and now have discovered the rust, run a magnet over it and if there is a good amount all over the car, I suggest looking for a better car and consider this rust bucket as a potential parts car. You would be surprised just how many nice examples that are out there. And if you can only afford what you think is a cheap XJS, save your money until you can buy a proper starter and remember this, there is no such thing as a cheap XJS.