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Is The XJ40 That Bad?

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Ballard
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:19 pm

Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby Ballard » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:38 pm

I bought a late X300 when it was 10 years old. I took it from 80000 miles to 200000 miles. It was excellent and very reliable.

I've had a 1990 XJ40 for a year and so far it has been perfect and needed nothing in 5000 miles.

Nonetheless, I've always assumed the German rivals from the same period were better built, better quality, less needy and more reliable. I accepted this because that is what everyone told me.

Recently, I've been reading up on what to look for when buying a BMW E32 and Mercedes W126 on behalf of a friend who sought my help in finding his next car.

I was surprised to learn that both of these cars seem to suffer from atleast as many issues as the XJ40, if not more.

The E32 does not seem to rust as much as the Jaguar, which is very much in its favour, but the W126 rusts just as much if not more.

Both the BMW and Mercedes suffer a variety of gearbox and engine issues which range in severity from the quite expensive to the calamitous.

Many of the annoying electrical niggles and ancillary issues that can plague an XJ40 are apparently also common to the E32 and W126, despite the Lucas 'lord of darkness' reputation associated with our cars.

And when either the BMW or Mercedes go wrong, it seems the parts and repairs are vastly more costly than they are with the Jaguar.

Yet among most car enthusiasts the XJ40 remains an object of humour and derision. Has it been unjustly maligned all these years or am I wearing rose tinted glasses?

At least it keeps them cheap.

KingfisherJon
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:29 pm
Location: Suffolk/Norfolk Border

Re: Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby KingfisherJon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:51 pm

I’ve always remarked how badly those old Mercs rust. I kind of like seeing one with holes where wheel arches once were, reminds me that actually the XJ40 doesn’t rust too bad for a car of its era.

Electrics, once again, surely must play up on all cars of this age now. Thankfully, they’re much easier to fix than any modern car!

Has the XJ40 been given a bad reputation it doesn’t deserve? YES!

Just ask anyone who’s owned an XJ40, and they’ll say what a great car it is. The criticism only comes from those who don’t know what they’re talking about, in my experience. Thankfully, I’ve had very little criticism though. Younger people especially love the XJ40. Of course, some will never see it as a true Jaguar, but then what’s one of those anyway??
1993 (92MY) Daimler 4.0 in Kingfisher Blue (667548)
2004 Jaguar S Type 3.0 V6 (daily drive)

Simont485
Posts: 2191
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:14 am
Location: Eye, Suffolk

Re: Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby Simont485 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:04 am

In a word...No.

Many reasons why its not popular though.
Main one, to my mind, is that it was meant to replace the Series 2 in the 70s. Had it done so it would have been a more modern looking car for that period, would have go better press and a more positive public response. But by 1986 it wasn't modern looking, the jelly moulds has started, the Series 3 XJ was 'the' Jag to have and the 3 box saloon design was starting to be a bit old hat. Then Jaguar took another wrong step and went retro with the X300 and S type!

Nevertheless it is an amazing car to drive and is still comparable to a modern car for smoothness and handling.
Jaguar XJ12 1994 704165
Jaguar XJS V12 1996 196529
Rover SD1 TP Vitesse 1986

Ballard
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:19 pm

Re: Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby Ballard » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:03 am

The looks definitely seem to bother people, which I never understand as the looks are what first attracted me to the XJ40.

It reminds me of other cars I love such as the Ferrari 400, Bitter SC, ISO Fidia and early Maserati Quattroportes.

You're right though, that it is definitely a look that was going out of fashion by the mid eighties.

The X300 is a handsome car largely because it shares the excellent proportions of the XJ40 but the detailing is weaker and I agree that it was a design dead end because it looked backwards rather than forwards.

Simont485
Posts: 2191
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:14 am
Location: Eye, Suffolk

Re: Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby Simont485 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:48 am

Although the X300 has the front and rear from the XJ90 design car......worth looking up on interweb!!
Jaguar XJ12 1994 704165
Jaguar XJS V12 1996 196529
Rover SD1 TP Vitesse 1986

Ballard
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:19 pm

Re: Is The XJ40 That Bad?

Postby Ballard » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:16 pm

Just remembered reading that the XJ40 was so popular at launch that there was a waiting list for it, in this country at least. Which suggests people can't have disliked the looks that much when it first launched.

I think things must have turned sour after the cars from the first year or two of production proved so problematic.

From that point on, it seems, the die was cast. Yet, the XJ40 still ended up being the best selling XJ of all.

Some interesting contradictions. Perhaps it's very ubiquity, especially as it aged and suffered neglect, turned people against it.

I also think that since the late 80s this country has developed a weird and unhealthy obsession with German cars. There are some lovely German cars but they're not the 'best' cars and certainly in terms of the modern ones not the best built.

Other countries don't seem to suffer from this disturbing condition. In America, for example, German cars are lumped together with British and Italian cars as fun, exciting, beautiful and desirable but definitely untrustworthy and a bit fragile. This attitude seems much closer to the truth in my experience of modern cars.

These days if you want something that won't give you trouble or cost you money and keep going seemingly forever buy Japanese or even Korean.

Ramble over.