By Mark Mayuga, President, JOCLA
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.
PART 1. Invest.
I receive several phone calls and email inquiries from club members and car collectors asking me about investing in older JAGUAR CARS every month. When I say older, I mean JAGUARS that were built during the 1950’s-1990’s. These cars include the XK-120, 140, 150, E-Type 3.8 and 4.2 Coupes and Roadsters, E-Type V12 Series 3 Roadsters, Early Sport sedans like the 3.8 MK2, 3.8S Sedan, 420 Sedan, XJ6 Series 1-3 Sedans, and lately, XJS Coupe/DHC, the XK8 Roadster and Coupe have also become desirable.
The above JAGUAR Models represent the automobiles that have been gaining attention in the CAR COLLECTOR segment. The early XK-120-150 have been most popular since the early 2002’s and there was a surge in buying, restoring, trading, auctions, and then a slump during the 2006-8 down-turn. Since then, these cars have been steadily increasing in value and rarity. Today you will be hard pressed to find a XK-120, 40, or 50 for restoration. What you will see are automobiles that have been neglected, missing parts, missing engines, whole interiors, etc. and still these derelict examples are selling for $30-45 thousand as is. Most XK’s are selling above the $100,000 mark and continue to increase steadily upward.
Even the much-unloved XK-150 has become the hot car to buy, restore, and to keep. Why? Well, the XK-150 was the beginning of the modern era of JAGUAR cars, it had four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, roll-up windows, more passenger space, and in the “S” model a lot more power. Today the XK-150 models are commanding prices north of $100,000+ and rising with the XK-150S DHC being the most sought after with the 3.8-liter engine. This engine unit would eventually power the 3.8 E-Types of 1961 and would go on to be the basis for the 4.2 litre engine which powered many other JAGUAR models to come. In fact, the original straight six-cylinder configuration of 2.8, 3.4, 3.8, and 4.2 engine would last into the mid-1990’s when JAGUAR finally ended production and replaced it with a first ever DOHC V8 engine.
Enter the fabulous E-TYPE 3.8 Series 1 roadster and coupe. Enzo Ferrari called it the “Most Beautiful Car of All Time” and he was correct! In fact, it is considered a work of art and examples of this automotive architecture are on display in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Looking back into the late 1960’s you could purchase an E-Type for $1500 in running condition. Today, Series 1 E-Types are selling for $125,000 and up, with early flat-floor models selling for $200,000 plus dollars. The next big jump will be in the Series 2 E-Types as the early models get bought up the law of supply and demand will figure into the equation and these models will become the next “BIG INVESTMENT” buy. So, if you see a “restored “E-Type Series 1 for sale do not be shocked by the sticker price, your investment will appreciate faster than Wall Street Stock with less risk.
The Series 2 E-Types were the next step in the modernization of JAGUAR’s sports car. It had improved GIRLING brakes and hydraulics, better transmission synchro’s, improved headlight vision, USA Emissions compliant carburation, final gearing more useful in town, improved gas mileage, improved electrics, dramatically improved engine cooling, a better convertible top, a 2+2 coupe configuration, adjustable seat backs, and factory installed air conditioning rounded out the Series 2 E-Type for 1969. Some will argue the loss of the “covered headlights” and crash compliant rear bumper changed the character of the original E-Type, but I would beg to differ, having own several examples of both cars, they each had their likes and dislikes. The question is are there still any E-TYPES available to invest in and restore. The answer is, there are “slim pick in’s” out there today. There are a few basket cases that I have seen, cars being represented as complete yet not, cars that were “restored” incorrectly with vinyl interiors, more Bondo than Phyllis Diller, cars with paint jobs that were done with spray cans, the list goes on.
The E-Type “restored drivers” market is the growing trend today. The full-on 100-point restorations are commanding a $150-$200,000-dollar price tag just to restore and bring to the auctions. The interesting thing is that there seems to be a glut of 100-point cars going to the auctions and the bid prices are competitive and swing up and down like the pendulum on a clock. Even JAGUAR has gotten into the restoration business and will restore your E-Type to “factory original” condition for a mere 300,000 UK Pounds. Such is the market for E-Types Series 1, there are nice 99.500 “drivers” out there and they are well worth the investment. And, with a little patience and using the local restoration experts we have in *California, a near perfect E-Type is very possible.
Next on the list of a car to consider as investment is the E-Type Series 3 V12 roadster. Yes, there was also the 2+2 coupe, but these cars seem to be the ugly duckling of the litter. The ideal E-Type V12 would be an early model, 1971-2 with either a manual or automatic transmission. These cars were quite fast and did not suffer to badly from emissions requirements and crash bumpers as did the later 1974 models. Once again, these cars were built on the 2+2 chassis which gave even more leg room and storage for weekend trips. The big challenge was that wonderful V12 engine, keeping it tuned right, feeding it gasoline, and changing all those vacuum and water hoses. The car had fantastic performance, quick off the line, real top speed, wonderful exhaust note, air conditioning that worked very well, more passenger space, standard rack and pinion power assisted steering, optional steel wheels/wire wheels, improved driving lights, factory installed AM/FM radio, and more details. These cars have not appreciated as much a they should and are a bargain for the investor with vision and willing to wait for the surge. They are a lot of “car” for the money.
Rare 1967 Series I E-type For Sale
20,000 original miles
Restored to near-concourse perfection
Winner Muckenthaler Award, Best Jaguar in Class
JAGUAR was originally a coach builder, specifically saloons/sedans and were quite successful in that market segment. Fast forward to the early 1960’s when JAGUAR introduced the much-loved MK 2 3.8 Sedan and its variants. This unitary bodied automobile started the “Sport Sedan” segment with its high-performance engine, disc brakes, assisted steering, ample passenger space, all leather and wood interior, and sleek styling. These sedans were the unofficial “bad boy” car in many British films and the English Police would chase after those “buggers” in MK 2 sedans. Also, the MK 2 was a popular rally and track day racer during its lifetime.
The interiors were quite sumptuous with adjustable leather seats, wool carpet, burl walnut dash and door caps, optional air conditioning, that wonderful six-cylinder XK engine, power assisted steering, chrome wire wheels, a generous boot (truck), full tool kit and spare tire, optional sunroof, automatic or manual transmission, independent suspension, four-disc brakes, and chrome detailing everywhere. These were beautiful medium size cars and were extremely popular with the Hollywood and Long Island jet setters as a “town” car.
To purchase one of these gems today is a bit of a challenge, not that many survived the rust evil, and those that did have either been neglected or totally restored to original, some have been even restored to better than factory original. These cars are bringing anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 depending on condition with an average of $25,000 for a good driver that has been restored to near original condition. Are they worth investing in, well, if you like sedans, this is the “car” to get! The other variants such as the 3.8S and 420 sedans were upgraded versions with independent rear suspension, more wood and leather, the 420 got the E-Type 4.2-liter engine less one carb, two fuel tanks, better transmissions, more creature comforts, and slightly modern styling. As an investment these cars are a long-term love affair and you will not make a lot of money, but you will enjoy the “JAGUAR EXPERIENCE” in comfort, performance, and with style to be sure.
The next automobile, JAGUAR XJ6 Sedan Series 1, is the next quantum leap for JAGUAR as it negotiated the modern automobile market. In 1968 the XJ6 Sedan was voted the “BEST CAR IN THE WORLD” at the Geneva Auto Show. The styling was an evolution from the MK 10 Sedan, featured was 4.2-liter engine, BW model 12 automatic transmission, integrated air conditioning, four-disc brakes, power assisted rack and pinion steering, independent suspension all around, leather, and wool interior, adjustable seats, electric window and locks, sunroof, twin fuel tanks, full spare and tool kit, emissions/crash compliant systems, improved lighting, and more. These low-slung sedans were powerful, elegant, quiet, fast, and safe on the highway or in town. They were a bargain for the money and did very well. If you can find a restored or original well maintained 6 or 12-cylinder version short wheelbase grab it, it will give you hours of joyful driving.
Then in 1974 the USA EPA and DOT forced all automobile manufacturers to comply with more stringent engine emissions, crash zones, and passenger safety. Enter the XJ6 Series 2 with its massive crash bumpers, air-pumps, safety interiors, lower compression carburetor engine, added weight via crash re-enforcing, higher operating temperatures to lessen emissions causing higher gas use, this was a low point in the XJ6 Series automobiles. These cars were just awful and went away very quickly.
Enter the XJ6 Series 3 Sedan, the JAGUAR that saved JAGUAR! Yes, that is right, the XJ6 Series 3 sedan not only saved JAGUAR but also was the next evolution of JAGUAR CARS in general. The XJ6 chassis/platform was a robust unit and was being used with the new XJS V12 Coupe. The Series 3 had restyled crash bumpers, a more elegant greenhouse, a electronic fuel injected 4.2-liter engine, a new BW Type 66 transmission, better engine cooling, air injection and catalytic converters to meet EPA emissions, assisted rack and pinion steering, more powerful disc brakes, independent suspension all around, a GM Air conditioning system, leather and wool interior with wood accents, a long wheel base, standard sunroof, upgraded electrics, a 288:1 final drive for increased fuel economy, a full spare tire, improved electronic ignition and electric switch gear, factory radio, sunroof, electric windows, cruise control, and better dealer service which was always an issue.
The bottom line, the Series 3 XJ6 Sedan is the XJ Sedan to invest in, it has all the creature comforts, EPA emissions compliant, better cooling, steering, fuel economy, more power, better AC, reliable, classic elegant styling, better interior, and extra room available. If you can find a V12 XJ that would really be a keeper, rare, powerful, fast, and elegant. The XJ6 Sedans are a bargain now, you can get are a nice car for $10,000 and they are starting to go up in value as they get older and fewer. Parts are available at a reasonable price, service on these cars is simple. Most important is that they have been maintained routinely.
The JAGUAR XJS V12 and IL6 Coupe, Cabriolet, and Convertible are the most controversial JAGUARS ever built. When JAGUAR decided it was time to enter the Grand Touring Market of automobiles. This segment was dominated by Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. JAGUAR had the V12 engine to compete with in the horsepower competition, but it didn’t have a platform that would satisfy the Grand Touring formula. The E-Type was too small, even the 2+2 was not suitable. JAGUAR decided to use the XJ6 platform and the XJS was born. The styling was controversial but was done in house by Lyons, Sayer, and Dewis, so it was real JAGUAR inspiration all the way. You either hated it or loved it. I personally have owned four XJS’s and I love the look, it is unique and has a look all its own. The E-Type had a look all its’ own too folks, as did the XK-120!
What to look for when purchasing an XJS, the key issues are the routine maintenance records and the history of the engine cooling system maintenance. The V12 H.E. version, 1989-1997 is the car to get. This version features the Marelli Ignition system, upgraded engine cooling, DELCO AC, ABS disc brakes, power assisted rack and pinion steering, upgraded ECU, Recarro adjustable seats, leather and walnut/elm accents, cruise control, and more. The 1990 XJS came as a coupe and a convertible in the “ROUGE” Limited Edition and “CLASSIC” version which commemorated the Le Mans Victories,1987, 88, 90.
There were no 1991 XJS’s in the USA due to emissions compliance. In 1992 JAGUAR introduced the AJ16 six-cylinder engine into the XJS family. This engine is one of the most reliable engines ever produced and has almost as much performance as the V12 engine. The 1994 XJS IL 6 featured an optional manual transmission, a dedicated convertible with +2 seating in the back, improved suspension, and redesigned front and rear crash bumpers, known as “Facelift Cars”.
What the XJS offered was real Grand Touring for the JAGUAR owner, with interior space, performance, and styling like no other car. A well maintained XJS will go 200,000 thousand miles on the engine and transmission with routine maintenance, V12 or IL6. Coupes are in the $12,000-18,000 range and convertibles are $15,000-$25,000 for the 1995 V12’s. To me the XJS is the next big buy in Grand Touring exotic cars, in the UK XJS are selling for almost double what they are going for in the USA and the Brits are coming here to buy them up. So, look to the future, is the XJS the next XK-150? Could be, time and the market demand will dictate the outcome, I am betting on the XJS as a future “classic” car investment. Keep a look out for the rare XJS-R, 6.0 Liter TWR tuning, one just sold for $45,000 at auction. Check-out YOUTUBE lately, there has been a lot of articles on the XJS and restoration, auction prices, performance upgrades, etc. from the UK.
And now for something completely different, the next car to be looking at for investment is the XK8/R Convertible and Coupe, 1997- 2006. Jeff Lawson died before he could see the success of his XK8 design. Built on the XJS chassis, the XK8 was a homage to the E-Type roadster and Jeff did a wonderful job indeed. This car was not meant to be a total replacement for the iconic E-Type, but rather a Grand Touring automobile with lively performance and upgraded comfort features.
The first ever JAGUAR V8 motor was developed in partnership with the new owner, FORD UK, the engine block was a FORD design, but everything else was engineered by JAGUAR. This was a double overhead cam 4.0 litre engine, developing around 290 BHP, 290 ft.lbs. of torque and delivering 24 MPG combined. The “R” version was a estimated in the 380 BHP with upgraded suspension tweaks, bonnet vents, and interior detailing. Both cars had a “SPORT” mode which enhanced the gear shifting and gave lively performance in acceleration.
The XK8/R was the first modern JAGUAR Grand Touring automobile that featured standard Air Conditioning, 5 speed automatic transmission, active suspension, a folding top that was modern and leak proof, two stage paint, projector headlights, vastly improved cooling system and electrical systems, on-board OBD II electronic self-diagnosis system, outboard disc-brakes, a usable trunk, stainless steel exhaust system, and more. This was a genuine 150+ MPH Grand Touring car that was reliable, easy to maintain, and looked terrific in either coupe or convertible. I honestly believe that the XK8 model is the next “E-Type” investment opportunity at bargain prices. Parts are readily available, and inventory of nice cars is plentiful.
The build quality of these automobiles was the best JAGUAR had done in a long time. Especially the electrical systems, convertible top material, and leather seat facings. The aggressive tires and large disc brakes encourages spirited driving while handling is acceptable and linear. The “R” version is truly a car to seek out if you have a heavy right foot, it wants to move and will give you the performance of cars four times as expensive. This model of JAGUAR is way undervalued for the performance and quality it offers.
Word to the potential buyer, make sure the timing chain tensioners have been upgraded; inspect the aluminum radiator plastic tanks for leaks; the thermostat housing has been replaced or upgraded to aluminum; service records are available; beware of convertibles that have lived in the sun they have a problem with the hydraulic lines in the top lifting system and can leak oil; the coupes really have little fewer issues and are a delight to drive. All in all, the XK8/R would be wise investment and joy forever.
2001 Jaguar XK-8 Coupe For Sale
Features: 4.0 Liter V8 DOHC, 32 valve, 290 HP. Fully loaded with 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes (ventilated), traction control, stability control, One Touch Power Windows, anti-theft alarm. Also includes Jaguar’s Comfort and Convenience Package.
To sum up the INVESTMENT potential of these JAGUAR automobiles requires a perspective. First, you are looking at cars that were built along time ago and the materials and technologies reflected their respective development. Modern cars today benefited hugely because of the trail and error of those earlier efforts. What the older cars have is uniqueness, styling, freedom of design, classic in nature but modern in use, and above all these cars have historic value to a collector and lover of an era that we will not see again. Investing in older JAGUAR’S is an emotional experience appreciated by a few and admired by many.
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