As most of you probably know I've been hanging around this forum for a while now, almost exactly 2 years ago, after being a member of several others which I left due to all the infighting, name calling and clickiness. (Anyone else that was around at the time knows what I am talking about). I also own and run the website http://www.jaguarsport-xjr.com
, which I started because of my love affair with the JaguarSport models of XJ40.
Anyway, to cut a long story short my best mate had a 1991 Solent Blue XJR and I had it as my wedding car. 10 years later he decided to emigrate to Australia and I was lucky enough to be able to buy his old car. Unfortunately he had taken it off the road several years earlier to restore it and the years sitting in his garden hadn't been too kind to it. The underneath of the car and the sills looked like lace dollys. A bit unfortunate but I was going to give it a go anyway, the car and I had history together.
Then along comes ebay with its varied bag of treats, and I find a 1993 XJR manual up for grabs. It had a few issues, holes in inner wings and bulkhead etc but having always lusted after a manual I decided I had to have it, and won the car, unseen, at £471. My dads a car dealer and one of the first rules of buying a car he taught me was never buy a car unseen and on someone elses word. Well, I had just thrown all that out the window!!!
I went to pick the car up and as it happens it wasn't a bad old motor, all very original and with a personal plate. One owner from new, body had a few dings, interior was excellent for the miles (120k) and it fired up first time. Drove the car home and it was fine, a lovely thing to drive with a back end that was very easy to get out of line!!
So I now had two of these things on the drive, our car out on the road and a wifes abuse to contend with!
They just don't understand!!!
I (WE) made the decision one had to go, and so my ex-wedding car lost. No way was I losing out on the manual one!
So it got stripped and sold for spares, mainly to help pay for the work I knew was going to be involved in getting the manual up to scratch. I had been talking to Keith Parrington of XJ Restorations (http://www.xjrestorations.co.uk
) about the work that would need doing and so was aware of the costs that I was about to get involved in.
Anyway, ebay was once again my friend and the parts flew out. I was quite lucky in as much as the car had a bootful of NOS Jaguar parts for XJR's which was rare enough in itself, but also lucky that xjr-ant also has a solent blue XJR the same year as the one I was breaking, he seemed to buy most of it!!!
It ended up being dragged away looking like this!
So then I started collecting parts for the rebuild. I had a fair idea of the work that was going to be needed and it was quite substantial. Heres what my inner wings and bulkhead looked like.
I start wondering how rare the car actually is, and if its worth saving. At the time there are no figures around about these cars, just made up figures that had been bandied around for years. So I get into contact with Anders at JDHT and he advises that he has all the original JaguarSport build cards there, if I want I can spend some time in the archives and research to my hearts content. So I trot up to Coventry several times over the year and create a database of all JaguarSport XJR's ever built.
In case anyone didn't know....
252 3.6 litre, all RHD, all auto.
991 4.0 litre. 567 RHD, 548 auto, 19 manual. 424 LHD, 360 auto, 64 manual.
So my car is one of only 19. That makes it fairly rare I thought. Then I find out it is actually the second to last ever RHD manual XJR. I have a look for the last one and seeing as it hasn't been taxed since 2004, I guess we can safely assume we will never see it again so my car is actually the last manual RHD XJR.
So that decided it, I have to rebuild this and get it back on the road.
Then when I started stripping the car I found all the floors were also rusty!
So the car gets trailored away to the sunny coast near Brighton for the work to be done. Here she will stay with Keith until the bodyshell is rigid and proper again, probably 3-4 months.
Keith has started sending me some pics of the mess the car is in and the work he is doing to it.
Heres the rust under the car.
Heres the floors before Keith started cutting, and also during the cutting.
And rusty bulkhead.
I will post any more up here for you all to see and enjoy. Needless to say this is becoming a labour of love. If I think without emotion about the amount of money I am throwing at a car worth about £500 I want to shoot myself! But then I think about it being sorted and driving the thing, in the knowledge that its a fairly unique car then I smile and believe its all worthwhile.
And if they take away my house cos I haven't been able to pay the mortgage, so be it!
Also had the wheels stripped and refurbed by a friend who does it for a living. Look at these bad boys!!
So thats were I am now. I'll try and keep this updated as much as I can and I will also be putting a blog about this up on my website as well.