the fleet: 1995 Jaguar X300

x300Meet my Jaguar XJ6 (X300) 3.2 Sport, currently on around 55,000 miles. It comes in the fairly rare shade of Aquamarine, which was the launch colour for the XJ-R – no other Jaguar paint colour before or after, with the possible exception of Heather Pink, has even been so, errr, ‘lively’!

Like many of my cars, it was in a sorry state when I bought it – having a football-sized scratch on the passenger door, bubbling alloy wheels shod with worn, mismatched tyres and the usual ‘shock knock’ that afflicts all ageing Jags. Oh, and it was also filthy inside and out, the engine was noisy, the transmission jerky and the electric radio aerial was stuck.

I knew it was a great car, though. Like many XJ6s ‘of a certain age’, it had one elderly lady owner who’d used it to go to the golf club; after her husband died she found a local gent who she paid to chauffeur her! She never drove the car but apparently the gent loved it! Still – after fifteen years the car was in a poor state of repair, and was going to get worse if someone didn’t intervene…

I bought it in 2008, when it was showing 44,000 miles, and went through the car bit by bit. The dampers were all replaced with OE Bilstein units (complete with new bushes to stop the knock), the oil was changed in quick succession several times. A machine polish restored the paint to perfection and the wheels were refurbed and new Pirelli P6000J rubber fitted all round. I scrubbed every inch of the interior myself, and the leather came up beautifully with Gliptone. The autobox and back axle got new fluids too, to prevent future woes.

It’s also had Gulf Competition Ester Synthetic oil and a K&N panel filter and is now beautifully smooth to drive, tracks straight as a dye and she pulls up her skirt and runs when the accelerator is floored. The car has proved superbly reliable – on another level to my many XJ40s I had previously, and attracts attention everywhere thanks to its condition, colour – and these days – rarity.

A good, well sorted XJ6 (of any vintage) is a lovely thing to drive – in my opinion on another level to any German rivals – and the ability of this car to cover high mileages in utter calm and comfort is breathtaking. I love the way these big Jag saloons seem to shrink down to something the size of an MX5 when on the road, only to re-expand when you try to park them! As a high speed mile masher, only Jaguar’s own XJ-S betters it – not even the later XK8 can compare.

These days, XJ6s are getting rare – it’s the XJ8 that’s flooding the pages of Autotrader and most punters think the V8 has got to be better than the inline 6, because it’s ‘2 more’, innit? Those in the know, know it isn’t. Still, XJ6s pop up from time to – and they are things of loveliness and wonder – providing you can live with the 25MPG fuel consumption, that is. Catch one while you can, spend some money on it to sort it, and you’ll have one of the best cars in the world (still) – and one of the most beautiful.

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