Thanks for that Steve.
I didn't explain myself very well, £2k seems to be a very common price.
i can probably stretch to £5k plus if that would bring a good v8
but then you have the possibility of just someones inflated idea of his cars worth.
Worth considering paying a bit more to a dealer/garage?
That puts a different slant on the deal - yes, 5k will buy you a very good XJ8 but I'd suggest you keep some cash back for a gearbox oil change and having the top timing chain tensioners changed for the metal bodied 3rd gen versions. As far as value goes - well we all have a different view on how much a car is worth and you need to pay no more than what it's worth to you.
Personally I'd look for the best example I can find then start considering what to pay. If, and only if it's pristine and the car I really want then there's no point in loosing the deal squabbling over a few hundred quid or whether the tax disc stays in the deal or not - chances are the money you might save walking away from the best car and buying a cheaper example will sooner or later get spent on repairs or maintainenece, and no matter how much you end up spending on that you'll still have a car that's not as good as the more expensive one you turned down.
As far as dealers or garages go then I'd say no. Pretty much all the cars I've looked at for both myself and other people have been in poorer condition and cost more money than a private sale. The difference in what's described in the dealers advert and what you actually see on the forecourt when you visit is often astounding. What you need to find is an caring enthusiast selling a car that has been looked after really well, and that'll mean looking in the Jaguar World classifieds, carsandclassic, and maybe consider joining the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club to get access to the club classifieds.
Mixed up with all the stone rashed shagged out rubbish you'll find easily enough there are some superb cars available - chances are though it'll take a lot of miles and time finding one, but at least if you do look at several you'll know a good car and deal when you eventually find it.