Your article on the lovely old XJ6 (Three Lyons, January 2018) took me back more than 45 years in an instant. As a young sales trainee with Henlys at the Jaguar Centre in Hendon I was then at the grease monkey stage, working alongside a mechanic and learning what made Jags tick much like an apprentice would do.
One day I was sent to check on a non-starter that had been trailered in, expecting the usual faulty AED (choke) device. I wasn’t prepared for the sight in the engine bay!
I was presented with a row of pistons, two of which had ‘eyes’ or large holes staring back at me. Yes, it was a 2.8 and the owner (Dunlop as I recall) had put it through its workshop expecting a blown cylinder head gasket. I believe this was the first sign we’d had of the major problems to come.
What a car the XJ6 was though. I was fortunate to drive all models up to 1975, including the XJ12, and apart from a host of minor niggles (the collapsed brake servo hose was a particularly scary one), it was a quite serene car to drive.
Regrettably, the fuel crisis came along and we went from a £50 deposit securing a place on the waiting list of up to a year to ‘which colour would you like sir?’