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Invest.Restore.Keep.$ell. - Part 2 Restore

Mark Mayuga, President JOCLA | Published on 7/27/2021


By Mark Mayuga, President, Jaguar Owners Club of Los Angeles
Photographs provided by XKS MOTORSPORT and JOCLA Members

This Four-Part Series of articles is about the future of our fascination with the JAGUAR Automobile. The automobile collecting hobby, business, and culture is a 20th Century phenomenon brought on by wealth, mobility, super-highways, and the wide-open spaces of this great country.



So, you want to restore an older JAGUAR and you’re not sure what your first steps are.


 … Answer these questions first!


  1. Have you found an automobile that still has most if not all its original major components such as the engine, transmission, suspension, body parts, electrical systems, etc.
  2. Have you determined the value of the automobile after your restoration process is complete? In other words, the market value if you were to sell it or auction it off. Will the car be worth less or more when you factor in your restoration investment?
  3. Is the resale value important to you or do you just want to have the “car of your dreams?” in the garage.
  4. Ask yourself, is this a car you will keep for the long term?
  5. How much of the restoration process are you willing to do, and do you have the skills?
  6. What is your budget for outside restoration services i.e., engine/transmission rebuild, mechanical assembly, upholstery, electrical, body and paint, suspension, purchasing new body panels, etc.?
  7. Have you talked with car owners who have gone through the process and have restored their cars? Their insight is invaluable!
  8. Do you have the space and tools for your project car? Sometimes special tools and processes are required that are not part of the usual DIY mechanic/restorer toolbox?
  9. BUDGET, have you really researched the cost of parts, outside services, and have you set aside enough money to cover unforeseen expenditures?
  10. Have you considered having your project car restored by a professional restoration business? And, if so, have you seen their work, talked with car owners who have used their services.
  11. Are you prepared to live with a “best estimate” process, there are many unknowns until they start to disassemble your automobile? Remember, there are many years of old dirt, gasoline, oil sludge, and rust hiding everywhere.
  12. Have you thoroughly researched your project car for its uniqueness, maintenance requirements, problem areas, performance, and part’s availability?
  13. Who will maintain it once you finish restoring it?
  14. Researched insurance costs, stated value or total replacement?
  15. Finally, are you ready for a long and detailed process that you have thoroughly researched in terms of originality, preservation, and authenticity? A heavily modified or unoriginal car is worth less to a collector.

Choosing a Professional Restorer:


Before we get into specific JAGUAR models, a quick word about automobile restorers. These businesses have special skill sets, business ethics, a history of successful restorations, client relationships, and reputations in the collector car world. The Collector Car Restorer is not your everyday service mechanic and paint and body shop. These are businesspeople foremost who provide a skill that includes forensic discovery, paint and body restoration, mechanical assembly, electrical systems upgrades, brake systems overhaul, and suspension expertise of an era long since passed. They work in a world that has been relegated to the independent automobile shops. Do not be surprised to see technicians with gray hair listening to cool jazz or Mozart. These are craftsman who are rare indeed.


They restore cars that the dealerships refuse to even work on. They are romantics, scroungers, detectives, specialists, hands-on mechanics who use their reasoning skills rather than a OBDII computer. They work bent and rusted metal shapes back to original curves and surfaces, they reconstruct and resurrect engines that have not run for decades, they build new interiors long neglected by their owners back to the original condition. These folks are skilled craftsman of another time!


So, how do you determine which restorer to use if this is your decision? Here are some basic questions and tasks to consider before starting a project. You also have a certain responsibility in this process:


  1. Go to car show events, find the car you want to restore and ask the owner about his process of restoring his car, that’s valuable insight.
  2. Before you ask about costs, ask about how it was to work with that shop owner and his technicians, were they responsive? Responsible? Did they Return phone calls?
  3. Ask about the project estimate process, how close was it to the Estimated Budget. Were they informed when the budget phase was exceeded?
  4. Did the restorer provide timely updates and costs? Receipts.
  5. Did the shop inform the owner of outside services costs before proceeding?
  6. Did the shop provide a restoration schedule with milestones of completion of specific components? Was the project scheduled in Phases?
  7. Did the shop photograph the automobile before tear-down and did they provide a written description of the condition of the car pre-restoration? Did they write a description of what to expect when the restoration process was complete?
  8. Did the shop require a DOWN PAYMENT to start the project, it is customary to provide a 25% DEPOSIT of the estimated cost of the restoration? The shop must pay its technicians along the way too!
  9. A good shop will have a progressive billing program with an hourly rate listed, estimated hours of technician labor, parts costs, and a schedule of completion of each phase as part of the restoration process.
  10. Did they specify OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement parts, or reproduction parts that met the original specifications?
  11. Can you provide build documentation on the specific car, paint codes, colour combinations, interior fabrics, engine performance, JAGUAR HERITAGE CERTIFICATE, books written specifically about the car, factory workshop and parts manuals, aftermarket parts catalogs, etc.
  12. Have you collected printed photographs, published books, advertisingbrochures, etc. that describe your automobiles original condition so that the restorer has accurate reference materials to work from? Remember, if he must research this information, he charges you for his time. This detective work and gathering of information is the fun part because you get to really learn about your automobile’s history.
  13. Are you prepared for the surprises that can occur in the restoration process? Remember, you are asking someone to restore a machine that has long out lived its purpose, but you deem it a valuable piece of history and you want to own that piece of history and enjoy it. Your passion is this automobile and all that it represents to you and the Collector Car World, and you OWN IT!

JAGUAR Sports Cars: making them better…


Once again, we lead off with the sports car segment for JAGUAR cars. Though Swallow Side Car & Coach Building evolved into JAGUAR CARS, the history of this fabled marque and its humble beginnings has only inspired such fantastic automobiles like the SS 100, XK-120, E-Type, and XJ Saloons. Sir William Lyons was adamant about offering elegance, performance, and value for dollar. These cars were never intended to last this long or to have values 5 or 10 times their original selling price. So, with that in mind the selection of a JAGUAR SPORTS CAR restorer is important from several perspectives.


The three most important decisions are, 1. Can you afford to restore the car yourself? 2. Does your budget allow for a professional restoration shop to do the work? 3. Are you keeping the car for fun or are you intending on selling upon completion?


Selection criteria of a restoration shop…


First, make sure the shop has restored more than just one of your models of car. A One Car Restoration does not make a restorer an expert! JAGUAR SPORTS CARS were initially hand built cars by workers who were learning on the job. They had basic skills but at the end of the day, their training was minimal, and their pay was just as bad. Lyons also was a shrewd businessman and was always looking for a deal on available parts for his new cars. It was not uncommon for his parts purchasing department to buy from several suppliers on any given day and sometimes those supplies would only last for a short period of time and they would have to search for other sources of similar parts. This created a frustration in the workforce and lead to inconsistent build quality through a model run. Such was the British Car industry after WW2 when the economy was shifting from making bombers and fighter planes to making luxury and sports cars.


Second, the JAGUAR XK-120 sports car was a test bed for the sedan line of automobiles. Lyons did not anticipate the popularity of the XK-120. A qualified restorer of early XK-120, 40, 50’s and E-Types should have done at least a dozen of these cars to qualify as expert restorer. They should have expert technicians in paint and body to either make new body panels or restore them to the original shapes. They should be well versed in steel and aluminum forming, welding, pre-paint preparation, and painting.


Final Assembly is also a key factor to consider. Visit several shops, ask to see how ongoing projects are progressing. Look for a clean working area, potential scuff areas taped off with masking tape or protective plastic sheeting. Look at the technicians, are they wearing gloves, clean uniforms, floor free of oil and dirt, no food in the work area, NO SMOKING near cars, are other cars covered with protective covers while waiting for work to be completed on them.


Are parts arranged on racks for final assembly, written instructions to where and how they are to be fitted, are they clean, freshly painted, or polished, has the technician pre-fitted the parts prior to final mounting, and are the parts installed and aligned correctly with the appropriate hardware. Overtightening is a common problem with technicians who are not familiar with working with older cars, aluminum, wood, and leather are fragile and require a “soft touch” when installing.


Third, reviewing the restorer’s inventory of completed cars is important because it will describe the breadth and depth of the skills his technicians are capable of and might influence your degree of restoration. In other words, his shop might have an upholstery expert that can produce finished interiors beyond what was installed at the factory, and you might want to upgrade your project to take advantage of that skill and quality. Those technicians are far and few between and when you can get high quality work installed, it might mean the difference of several thousands of dollars when it comes time to sell. In other words, find a shop that offers more quality and has experience producing authentic and accurate restorations, you might pay a little more but the way the market is going your investment will benefit you in the long term with a higher value.


Fourth, decide if your automobile is to be restored to original condition, preserved as an example of a well-maintained original car that left the factory, or you just want the car to be a safe reliable example and requires only minimal freshening-up. These options really are the basis for your choosing a restorer. Your next steps are to find a reputable local independent JAGUAR service shop and have these basic systems checked; suspension, brakes, cooling, carbs or fuel injection, engine, and transmission, and have them serviced.

Options & Up Grades:


The early JAGUAR sports cars, XK and E-Type, were produced from 1948 to 1974. They were examples of the use of the latest technologies, materials, electrical systems, suspension, ignition systems, engine cooling, and carburation of that period. Now, if you have been to England, you will understand that the weather there is rather coolish compared to sunny Southern California or the Southwest part of the country. And, as we all know cars run their best at the designed temperature for combustion efficiency.


So, the average temperature in the UK hovers in the mid 60’s and mid 70’s degrees, whereas in the SoCal area we are a bit toastier, how about 75-110 degrees. So, overheating was a major problem for English cars sold in America, especially here in the Southwest parts. The cure for the overheating problems were an auxiliary electric fan mounted in front of the radiator, a larger radiator with increased fin surfaces, aluminum radiators, and glycol coolant which raised the boiling point. Also, higher pressure radiator caps were fitted, assuming the system could handle the higher pressures and temperatures. Lesson to learn, the cooling system is the single most important system in a JAGUAR and the maintenance of that system is paramount!


Other options and upgrades to these cars included replacing the drum style brakes on XK’s with after market disc brake conversions or using first generation DUNLOP DISC BRAKES from a XK-150 with a vacuum assisted booster. E-Type brakes were good in the beginning, but required more maintenance, in the SERIE 2 E-Types the up market GIRLING DISC Brake proved to be superior in use. The S.U. HD carburetors were a basic design and were very efficient in use and maintenance. The only real issue was to make sure the vacuum damper was topped up with engine oil and the fuel jet rubber diaphragm was soft and sealed the bottom of the carb from leaking gasoline. The lead foots in crowd were inclined to replace these units with Italian WEBER carbs which gave better mid to top end performance and power but also doubled the amount of fuel consumed. They were also difficult to tune though once you spent the time and got them right, the result was dramatic.


More upgrade options included wider wire wheels of stainless-steel construction which improved the handling on both models and took advantage of the newer performance tire sizes. Electronic ignition systems solved the running problems, electric assisted steering became available, better folding top materials were now standard, stainless steel replaced chrome plated bumpers and window frames. The leather for interiors was being processed differently and was more durable in the hot Southwest sun. Body paint was no longer oil based; it became water base with a clear overcoat. This two-stage system revolutionized the paint and body business, no more paint fading, better matching when there was body damage, and the paint no longer was cracking or crazing under the hot sun. There are upgrades to the suspension systems which include better leaf springs, polyurethane A-arm bushings, and suspension mounts, sealed front ball joints, adjustable shock absorbers, solid rack and pinion mounts, upgraded power steering hoses, electric assisted rack and pinion steering gear, smaller modern steering wheels, competition lowering kits, and more powerful disc brake calipers and hydraulics.


The electrics on British cars were notorious for failure, The “LUCAS PRINCE OF DARKNESS” was the usual culprit in electrical failures. Unfortunately, this was not always the case, many a time the proper switch gear or wiring loom was available but Lyons wanted to keep the cost per unit car low, so he opted for a slightly lesser quality, thus failures came sooner rather than later. In those early days, wiring looms were covered in cotton, had steel male and female connectors which tended to come loose over time or rusted away. Also, American mechanics were not use to the European POSTIVE GROUND systems and many times they would hook up the battery in the wrong polarity. Modern wiring looms are now available with brass connectors, plastic coverings, and better code colouring. Do not be surprised when you see a restored car with a modern wire loom, it is a guarantee that you will not have an electrical meltdown. These are some of the major items to consider and reflect on when you look at a JAGUAR Sports Car.

JAGUAR: Early Sedans 1958-1967: luxury with performance…


JAGUAR was initially a sedan body manufacturer. Their sedans were famous for style, ample interior space, and sports car performance. Restoring one of these wonderful examples can be a pleasurable experience, BUT look out, they are expensive to restore to original condition. The reasons are obvious, these cars were luxurious and well appointed. Burl Walnut throughout, full front and rear leather seats, picnic tables, automatic and manual overdrive transmissions, climate control systems, electric windows, sunroofs, wool headliners, spacious boot (trunk) with a full spare tire, tool kits, tinted windows, power steering, disc brakes, AM-FM radios, driving and fog lights, and more were standard in most models. Several engine capacities were available from 2.4L to 4.2L, with the 3.8L and 4.2L coming to North America.


A few restoration shops specialize in restoring these wonderful automobiles, BUT be incredibly careful when choosing one, these cars require an expertise that has long since disappeared and it takes a lot of research to accurately restore a sedan. The interiors of these cars require more restoration attention. The refinishing of the wood trim can be the most expensive part of the interior restoration. That wood furniture was unique to English cars, especially JAGUARS, the wood was finished in marine type varnish and the veneer was glued to a mahogany substrate. Moisture and sun were the main enemies of these beautiful wood appliques.


The engine, transmission, suspensions, and electrical systems were common to the sports cars was also integrated into the sedans. Additional creature comforts such as Air Conditioning, power steering, multiple speed interior fans, four headlights, driving and fog lights, electric operated sunroofs, AM-FM radios, automatic chokes, first generation electronic ignitions, four-way emergency flashers, and tinted glass were added to the sedan line.


The interior seats were usually pleated and bolstered with foam. Again, considering the age of the cars and the quality of the leather and foam, be prepared to replace both with new materials and expect a hefty bill as these interiors were labor intensive. Multiple leather hides were required to outfit a car. The result can be amazing when done properly and the enjoyment of the experience long lasting. The values of these sedans do not parallel the sports cars, investment would be purely sentimental or just the sheer pleasure of having one of these automobiles to drive, own, and enjoy. A good friend describes his experience of ownership as “when I drive my JAGUAR sedan, I feel like a rich man!”. I would agree with him. There is a refinement and elegance that compliments the civility of these fine automobiles.


The early sedans to look for are the MK IX, MK X, MK 10/420G, 3.8 Mk2, 3.8S variant, 420 Sedan, and 340 models. The 3.8 MK2 series is the most popular and continues to rise in value. The 3.8S variant and 420 have E-Type suspension upgrades and more posh interiors. 

JAGUAR: Modern 1968-2007, XJ6, XJS, XK8, XJ8/R


In 1968, Jaguar moved into the modern age of automobiles that were starting to comply with USA FEDERAL EMISSIONS and CRASH requirements. The XJ6 Series 1 was in 1968 considered the most beautiful sedan in the world. Creature comforts, driving performance, fit and finish, value for dollar, and design were the criteria for this accolade. The XJ6 platform was to serve JAGUAR models well into 2007 before being replaced to accept the new JAGUAR V8 engine. This chassis was to be the basis for the XJ6 Series 1, 2, 3, XJS, XJ40, and finally the XK8 models.


This was an extremely robust platform to build upon and the longevity of these cars was famous. Only the “evil tin worm” of rust would be the only enemy. This chassis provided the platform for one of the most iconic and sophisticated independent suspension systems ever. This suspension system created the “JAGUAR RIDE” that every luxury car manufacturer tried to copy, but rarely imitated. It is simplicity of design, and the suspension geometry was very advanced for the time.


Restoring an early example of a XJ6 S1 sedan would be a fun project. Many of the original parts are available at moderate prices. Even the reproduction parts are fairly accurate and available. I would recommend you stay away from the XJ6 S2 sedans as they were the next generation of FEDERAL modifications their value is exceptionally low and good examples are hard to find. The XJ6C Limited Edition Coupes, their value is climbing to near original prices when new. The XJ6C is a car to seek-out and restore, especially the XJ12C Coupe which are now the most sought after and rarest of all the XJ6 S2 automobiles. Once again, there are a few restoration shops that have the capacity to restore these automobiles and it is important that you do your research and require examples of their work to view.

Enter the XJ6 S3 Sedan, the JAGUAR that saved JAGUAR! In 1979 JAGUARS fortunes were not good. Life under the UK Government owned British Leyland was at best horrible! Bureaucrats were running the company, none of them had automobile manufacturing experience. They renamed the Browns Lane Factory with a new name, PLANT 53, removing the JAGUAR name. Enter John Eagan from SHELL OIL COMPANY. He made a proposal to the British Government on how to save JAGUAR CARS. He took over the reigns and the rest is history.


Eagan gave the Unions an ultimatum. Be a part of the comeback or get thrown out! He also held the suppliers accountable for defective parts and either sent the parts back for credit or he looked for other sources. Next, was to refresh the current models of cars offered, XJ6 and XJS. He asked PininFarina, famous Italian design house, to freshen the look of both cars. The “new look” was successful and appreciated. Next, the build quality of both cars was dramatically improved with more reliable parts sources, a new High Efficiency head for the XJS, electronic fuel injection from BOSCH for both cars, redesigned interiors, a DELCO sourced AC system, better electrical systems, on-board electronic ignition-fuel injection management systems, and more. JAGUAR was finally coming into the modern age and the sales of the cars were robust.


The XJ6 sedan is probably the easiest of the sedans to restore and maintain. Much of the old “issues” were solved and the quality was getting better. The XJ6 is a simple car to restore and own. Parts are available from many sources and a well maintained XJ6 can be a daily driver if routine maintenance was performed. I personally have a 1985 XJ6 Sovereign with 287,000 miles on the engine and still runs strong. Good examples are out there with lower miles and the value for dollar is high. The main thing to look for is the maintenance records of the car. Routine oil changes, cooling hoses replaced, spark plugs replaced every 30,000 miles along with air filter and gasoline filter replaced, AC charged every two years, and the interior leather maintained. These are wonderful cars, powerful, elegant, comfortable, safe, and easy to live with.

Enter the XJS-HE, the V12 powered car that put JAGUAR into the Grand Touring market segment. The E-type could not survive in the new FEDERAL EMISSONS and CRASH requirements of 1968-1975. LYONS decided to build a Grand Touring car to compete with Mercedes, Ferrari, and others. This was the thinking of the time and the XJS S1 was the product of that decision. Early examples are exceedingly rare now as they did not survive the initial 5 years of production. Many cars either suffered from owner neglect, rusted away, were abused, or simply stopped running. These early cars required more maintenance than most people were used to in the USA. This was a true 150MPH Coupe with exceptional performance and refinement not matched by its rivals Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, or Corvette. Restoring an early XJS would be a labor of love to be sure. Group 44 won the TRANS AM races with the XJS V12 beating the Cobras, Mustangs, and Camaros consistently.




Eagan’s efforts to reinvent the JAGUAR line included the 1975-1979 XJS, the result was the 1981 XJS H.E., High Efficiency, model. Those two-letters meant better running, better fuel economy, reliable electronic ignition, better cooling, better build quality, a third generation Air Conditioning system from DELCO, improved interior with wood accents, redesigned front and rear bumpers, better paint quality, stainless steel exhaust system, more accurate instrumentation, and more reliable cooling systems.


The JAGUAR XJS H.E. V12 and 4.0L 6 cylinder are future classics in the making. In Europe, they are commanding higher prices as there were fewer sold there compared to the North American market. The models to consider are the 1989 ROUGE, 1990 “Classic Edition”, 1992 XJS-R, 1992-1997 XJS 4.0L and 6.0L “Facelift” cars. The heart of the XJS H.E. is that wonderful V12 engine and the AJ16 4.0L engine, both will seduce you, keeping them on song will produce joy forever, BUT, if not maintained properly can be an expensive proposition. The 4.0L six cylinder came with optional manual transmission in 1994 and was a pleasure to drive quickly.


The most important information is a comprehensive history of scheduled routine maintenance, cooling hose and thermostat replacement, frequent oil changes, 30,000-mile Major Service performed, suspension bushings maintained, steering rack leaks on high mileage cars is common, AC hoses and compressor upgraded to 134A refrigerant, check front wheel alignment, and the emissions vacuum hoses have been replaced. The interior and paint on these cars were good quality and rarely need refreshing. The only issue might be the driver’s seat back.


The RECARRO style seats tended to wear on the left side bolster and the piping would fray and the bolster facing would wear. Interior seat kits are available at reasonable prices and are of a superior quality than original. The headliners tended to sag because the glue would become brittle. The solution was simply to replace at an auto upholstery shop using new materials and better glues. Most parts are available for either model going back to 1981 except for the pre-H.E. cars, finding interior/exterior parts body parts could be challenging. Is the XJS a car to consider as a future classic and good investment? If you want a unique JAGUAR that was designed by LYONS, DEWIS, and SAYER, then this is the car to have.


It was Sir William’s favorite car, DEWIS enjoyed motoring in it more than any other JAGUAR model, and SAYER believed it was his finest design. The XJS is the most aerodynamic JAGUAR model ever designed and produced, including current models. I personally have enjoyed four XJS’s and my current XJS-HE ROUGE is by far my favorite to own and drive. It is as close to a ZEN CAR as you could own, quiet, powerful, sleek, unique styling, and luxurious! TWR, (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) won the LE MANS 24 HOURS three times using the V12 engine, his XJS HE won the TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP several times.

The next car to consider restoring is the XK8 OTS or COUPE V8 AJ26, 1997-1996. Both versions are another modern classic in the making. The XK8 was designed by Geoff Lawson and was the spiritual successor to the E-Type during the retro-design period at JAGUAR CARS. The platform was the XJS chassis with the new FORD UK collaboration AJ26 V8 engine and ZF 5-spd automatic transmission with Sport Mode. The passenger format was 2+2 configuration with exceptional passenger and driver legroom, a spacious boot (trunk), jump seats for the kiddie, or pooch, a modern Air Conditioning system, GPS navigation, aluminum radiator, twin electric cooling fans, rack and pinion assisted steering, 45-55 series tires, and better wind proofing in the convertible model. An optional Roots style supercharger came with the XKR models giving 380+ BHP with the same amount of torque.


The standard XK8 had 300 BHP and gave 25+ MPG on the highway. Optional Active Suspension was available on both variants. The electric operated convertible top was simple in operation and was self-locking, watertight, and quiet at speed. It came with a nice cover and both cars had a spacious boot (trunk) with a full spare tire or emergency tire. The battery and main ECM were in the boot. An ALPINE radio system was standard along with a phone feature on the steering wheel. Projector headlights, running lights, parking lights and front/rear fog lights were standard. The exterior paint was a two-stage application with painted aluminum rims. The quality of the interior materials was good and expect the leather to be long lasting and comfortable during long trips. 


The AJ26 V8 engine did have some early teething problems, 1997-2000. The piston cylinders were coated with NIKOSIL for weight saving and friction reduction. This proved to be problematic as the extended oil changes degraded the coating and lead to engine failure. Also, another victim of extended service intervals was the plastic timing chain tensioners which degraded and collapsed with catastrophic results. Jaguar recalled these cars and under warranty fixed those engines with less than 50,000 miles. The fix was to install all steel tensioners from 2000 models on. It is strongly recommended that when considering a XK8 or XKR have your JAGUAR mechanic inspect the upper and lower timing chain tensioners for the proper steel replacements. This is not a complicated task and well worth the investigation. This also applies to any XJ8 sedans with the same engine in place.


Other areas of concern are the driver side door check which tends to rip the door jamb metal. Also, the convertibles had a peculiar issue with the convertible top mechanism. Those cars that were parked outside in the California Sun tended to leak hydraulic fluid onto the lap of the passengers when lowering or raising the convertible top. It seems the hot sun degraded the hydraulic hoses that operated the locking mechanism. This can be an expensive fix as you will have to run new lines, which are of better modern materials, to solve the problem. JAGUAR also found that the fluid pressure in the system was too high and reduced it by a few pounds.


Restoring a XK8 can be a simple project or a challenge depending on the maintenance history of the car. Convertible tops can be pricey to replace; a new paint job is possible depending on where the car lived; a set of tires is about $1000 including alignment; the engine has long-lived Iridium spark plugs and electronic ignition which requires occasional spark plug replacement; ignition coils are rarely replaced; standard maintenance on the oil and trans filters is simple, the brakes are powerful and depending on your driving style can last along time. Parts for the car are relatively inexpensive and available from most independent JAGUAR parts suppliers at moderate costs. The 134A AC system is bullet proof featuring hard lines instead of the customary rubber hoses and the control systems are straight forward and reliable. Interior seating is generous and features full adjustments for the tall and short driver and passenger.


The XK8 came with a OBD2 diagnostic system, make sure your mechanic scans this computer memory system to identify any potential problems or former issues. This will give you an accurate history of the car’s performance and condition. Overall, the XK8 and XKR JAGUAR models are reliable, comfortable, economical to operate, look terrific, and have adequate performance for just about any person. Their current market value is below what they are worth and the enjoyment they deliver. Make no mistake, this is a true Grand Touring car with exceptional handling and speed, sophisticated electronics, a glorious V8 engine that delivers power on demand, a playful transmission, quality interior surfaces, comfortable passenger appointments, and unique retro-styling. Paul Gentilozzi won the TRANS AM CHAMPIONSHIP three times with the XKR coupe.



I have not made any recommendations regarding which restoration shops to use. There are too many factors and possibilities to consider. What I have provided are the tools to determine which restorer will fit your budget, the most valuable JAGUAR models to restore, your ability to Do It Yourself or have it done, and your reasons for keeping or selling the car after the project is complete.


The evaluation process and decision to go to a particular shop should be based on the above criteria described in this article.  Spending a considerable amount of money on an automobile that’s 30-50 years old is not a decision to make without proper research and thought. Choosing your car, finding a complete example, compiling a list of possible restorers, establishing a real budget, deciding who the restorer will be, creating a working relationship with that shop, and finally anticipating the outcome. All are factors to consider, define, and accept.