1974 Jaguar XJ12L

I couldn't resist this picture of the leaping Jaguar hood ornament. These cars are so classy. I bought this car about 7 years ago from the second owner. It had 52,000 miles on it when I got it and now has clocked up 125,000. Real chrome, real leather and wood. Wool carpets. COOL! The V-12 makes the car. Yes, it gets about 10mpg but I'll pay the price for the smoothness and available performance this engine gives.

It's my Winter driver and has only let me down once. That was after I had leaned it out to pass our stupid emission inspections. Forgot to richen it up and it wouldn't start during the last cold snap we had. That's not its fault. Other than that and U-joints and an alternator rebuild, my work has been limited to routine maintenance and fixing a few nits. The engine has never been down and still holds about 80psi oil pressure at speed.

I would like to talk about "nits" for a minute. As I write this, I recall that I have fixed a number of them, primarily electrical. Taken individually, they are not much of a problem-a bad switch or relay generally. However, I never let them stack up. I deal with each one as soon as I can. These cars were(and still are) very complicated, probably representing a "Tour de Force" of early 70's automotive technology. Many of their systems interact with one another and a malfunction in one can damage another. Do yourself a favor and fix each small problem as it occurs. Don't wait for them to feed upon one another. You could be in for big trouble if you disregard this counsel.

One other bit of advice. When you are shopping for one of these beasts, check out the owner with as much care as you do the car. For the mechanically timid, Jags are expensive to run and maintain. If the owner looks like he or she can't afford the car, they probably can't and you can bet they have skimped on maintenance. Regular oil changes, attention to other fluids, belt (4) and hose (zillions) inspections, alignments and chassis lubes are expensive and are oft ignored by the penurious. Jags don't like this treatment and will bite the owner(hopefully not you, now that you know) eventually.

I would like to say, as most of the rest of the world does, that Jags are hopelessly unreliable and were designed by mechanics looking to assure their retirement. Jags do have this reputation and I, for one, am glad. This keeps their price down. I paid $6,000 for this car seven years ago. It represents, to me, great automotive value. I also think these older Jag sedans look nicer than the new ones.