Buy­ing Clas­sics Abroad

Jaguar XJ-S/ XJS

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

Al­though im­port­ing an XJS (or pre May-1991 XJ- S) can be ex­pen­sive, you’ll hang on to your in­vest­ment if you find a stun­ning ex­am­ple and pre­serve it. There are plenty of lovely cars – es­pe­cially the later con­vert­ibles – in the USA (a key ex­port mar­ket for Jaguar) and some spe­cial­ists are bring­ing them in to the UK. The 4.0-litre model only be­came avail­able in the States in 1993, so most are likely to be V12s.

But with con­ver­sion to right-hand drive dif­fi­cult to jus­tify ( you’ll pay at least £3000 us­ing sec­ond­hand parts) you might not be able to en­joy the new-found taste for over­tak­ing which a V12 in­evitably brings. You’ll be in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion if you buy one in main­land Europe, but at least you’ll get a fun road trip out of it. Just don’t ex­pect the weak pound – or the Jag’s no­to­ri­ous thirst – to count in your favour if you do end up driv­ing one home to the UK.

For­tu­nately there are plenty of right-hand-drive Jags to be found in dry climates. Gary Robin­son of in­de­pen­dent Jaguar spe­cial­ist, Swal­lows (www.swal­lows-jag.co.uk). Gary used to bring high num­bers of XJSs from a dealer in Ja­pan, and still raves about their rust-free con­di­tion and low mileages, but warns: ‘It can be fraught with prob­lems. I’ve seen a lot of ac­ci­dent-dam­aged cars, and the Jag’s sus­pen­sion rub­bers suf­fer in the heat. Head­lin­ings and dash­tops of­ten need re­plac­ing for the same rea­son and the ra­dio and alarm fre­quen­cies are dif­fer­ent, and can cause dif­fi­cul­ties in the UK.’

Other right-hand-drive drycli­mate mar­kets where XJSs can be found in­clude South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, but rust al­ways de­pends on a car’s prox­im­ity to the coast. ‘I was in South Africa at the be­gin­ning of the year, and the cars I saw were rusty and far too ex­pen­sive,’ says Gary.

If you’re buy­ing un­seen, al­ways get the car in­spected by an in­de­pen­dent spe­cial­ist be­fore part­ing with your money. We’ve driven a cou­ple of im­ported XJSs that don’t han­dle as well as they look, some­thing that sup­ports Gary’s warn­ing about sus­pen­sion rub­bers.

You’ll find a few lovely ex­am­ples in New Zealand and Ja­pan, but Gary ad­vises that prices are strong. Theo Ford- Sagers

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