Repair or not
I see too many times that people have an idea in their head to repair some XJS cars that most of us would look at with no comment. You know the one that looks as if it fell off the golden gate bridge tail end or front end first onto a 20-foot thick concrete road. And you have to love the guy who comes along with only a quick look from 500 feet away and says oh that can be fixed! Now to be clear, I am the first person who would advocate saving as many as possible as we will soon have a restoration center dedicated to the XJS. And I do know that most insurance adjusters are more inclined to total one if only the taillights are broken as in the case of the very first pair I sold to an insurance company in Nova Scotia for a show car with less than 9,000 miles on it.
And I applaud anyone who loves the brand as so many people in the world do and who are willing to take on the challenge of saving one. But let us be clear to those of you who were bystanders when that car fell off the bridge and you saw it hit the ground and somehow you still think it can be saved? So my question is this, were you at the party drinking all night in a pub next to the bridge, or were you in a room with others for a week-long of smoking wacky weed while solving the problems of the world?
Either way here is the skinny on the facts about body damage. Have most of you had a situation where a car was sent to a body shop with an estimate for repair and then suddenly additional parts have to be purchased or perhaps the car was then totaled? Well, this is because of hidden damage that can not be seen until outer panels are removed. Most anything can indeed be fixed but we are not talking about a 40 million dollar car here that was personally driven by god! That reminds me of when I was in the yacht charter business back in the 80s and 90s and was out looking for a piano to put in one of the boats and the salesman told me that one upright piano was owned by Ethel Merman so I called the piano player and told him that I was going to pick him up to take him to the piano shop. Well, we show up and he told me that this particular piano had a horrible sound. But I wanted to buy it for the provenance. So the piano that the player did like did not have any famous history as I pointed out and the salesman said that he would make something up.
So the bottom line is this. Here in the States, we have many great examples that are rust-free which make the best candidate for restoration. But again please remember what you are dealing with at a time when the restored car is not as valuable as the original well maintained car is. It was once the opposite but the XJS is not nor do I believe it ever will be so rare to validate a complete costly restoration in our lifetime. So I suggest you curb your enthusiasm when searching for an XJS and buy a good car for starters and not the one that fell off the bridge or the one that went down with the Titanic.