As those who attend Shed's local Bonfire Night will confirm, Mrs Shed loves a good bang. Anti-Jaguar types with a low opinion of the XJ's mechanical integrity will say that she is likely to hear another one if Shed can't stop himself buying this week's Shed, a supercharged XJR with a near-full MOT for just £1,000.
In terms of sheer power for your pound, this car's only challenger in recent, distant or possibly all Shed history was the gangsterish 'SOLD AS SEEN' Mercedes S500 that appeared here in summer 2015. New, the Jag was slightly more powerful than the Benz and, at 1,875kg, around 130kg lighter.
If nothing else, the X300 XJR with the Eaton-blown AJ16 4.0-litre straight six is historically interesting. Not just because it was the last six-cylinder XJR - the aluminium-bodied X308 of 1997 came with a V8 - but also because it was the first Jaguar with a supercharger, a power-boosting device they're still using today.
Modern isn't the first word you would have applied to this XJR when it was built in 1995, six years into Ford's ownership of the company. By that time, the XJ concept was 27 years old. It was a good concept, mind ye, and the last Jaguar to bear the imprint of acknowledged genius Sir William 'Mr Jaguar' Lyons, who co-founded the company in 1922. Here's an interview with the great man (conducted by none other than Magpie stalwart, Alan Partridge forerunner and Half Man Half Biscuit hero Tony Bastable) in which Lyons comes up with a surprising answer to the question of what was his favourite model.
Get into any XJ and you'll soon understand why Lyons loved it. Measure the interior space with a laser rule and you'll be disappointed. Savour the Connolly leather and wood with your non-laser body, though, and you'll be wishing all cars were like this.
Fire up the motor and you're in an Edwardian drawing room. Put some pressure on the right hand pedal and you're somewhere else entirely, literally as well as mentally. The dozy GM 4L80E auto is not the most inspired partner for this barrel-chested engine, but 378ft lb of torque butters plenty of parsnips. As long as you're not constantly dipping your bucket into the well, provoking the trademark whine-cum-snarl (wharl? snine?) just for the hell of it, you'll get fuel economy in the high teens.
While we're on the numbers, 174,000 miles sounds like a lot, but if you were on a trip to the Moon you'd still have another 50,000 or so to go, so astronomically speaking at least this car's mileage is nowhere near galactic. It's important to keep a sense of perspective on these things.
If you 'get' the XJR, you'll be in like Flynn on this one. But if you're interested in a more dispassionate way - maybe you fancy a bit of pendulum fun through winter, some luxury Le Mans transport for you and your mates next year, or sublime steering, suspension and speed all year round. If you are that person, you will want to know what might go wrong.
Surprisingly little. The AJ16 is a robust unit that, with even vaguely proper maintenance, will easily complete your lunar journey. The upside of the GM auto is that you can change the oil in a conventional way (the later V8s had sealed for life trannies). Interestingly, a very small number of manual XJRs were built, but they're very rare now. Shed thinks that there were fewer than 300 all told, LHD and RHD combined.
Anyway, back to the possible fail list: oil pressure sender units, blower belt tensioners, water pumps, seat motors, transmission mounts, LCD instrument readouts, boot opener, exhaust manifolds. It's an old car. Why even raise the issue when you're paying so little for so much?
Back in 1995, an E34 BMW M5 was £52,000. Now, a 1995 M5 would be, what, £15k minimum? That's if you can find one. The nearest thing to it in the PH classifieds right now is a 1992 car at £17k.
In 1995, a Jaguar XJR - with comparable performance to the M5 - was £45,000. Now, a 1995 XJR is £1,000. And best of all, a 1995 XJR exists. Here it is.
Live a little - or, with luck, a lot - and get your wad out. Here's the ad.
- Recently MOT'd in the past month. (Expires:16 July 2019)
- Drives and runs great, a really quality drivers car and lots of fun in comfort.
- With a small amount of effort could be a really excellent example, as mechanically sound.
- Owned and used daily by highly skilled and experienced motor mechanic.
- Only cosmetically started to deteriorate slightly due to recent neglect from illness (Hence only reason for sale.)
- Minimal rust after some minor rewelding, but does require some additional paintwork (after model typical clear coat peeling on bonnet) in order to look the part.
- Minor and relatively inexpensive cosmetic features to really smarten up the interior will include fixing the slight sagging of headliner and replacing the auto dimming rear view mirror and clock face.
- Bargain for the amount of car at this price (£45,450 when new).