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What Jags to Buy

What Jags to Buy?

(one of the most enjoyable dilemas one must face)

Have been reading the postings to this list for the past several months and
am not sure I'm in line asking these questions. If I'm out of line I'm sure
someone will advise me accordingly.

I'm salivating for an XK120/140/150 and have been reading all the ads etc.,
but am a bit confused. There seems to be 3 or 4 organizations that have
decent quantities of cars from which to choose -- Hyman in St. Louis,
Gullwing Motors in NYC and "Doc" of Illinois. 

I am interested in a car that is driveable now -- although I have the
ability (at least some abilities) to accomplish some work, my scarcest
resource right now in my life is time. Therefore I want to have a car that
is original or decently restored that is in fairly good shape. I'm prepared
to pay the price for that. Concours is OK -- but some of the prices are
probably prohibitive -- and I intend to spend time driving the car which
would horrify some of the concours types.

Would some of you share your experiences with any of the above sources?
Other advice?


Bill Engelson
Alexandria, VA


First, welcome to the club.

The car that you are describing is a previously restored car. The chances
are almost nil of you finding an original car that has been owned from new
and kept in pristine shape. The questions that you face, whether you buy
from a dealer or a private party are:
What was done in the restoration?
What was not done?
Is it a numbers match car, or a marriage of random parts?
What is the quality of the body work?
How well do the doors, bootlid, and bonnet fit and operate?
Does the chrome show pitting, buffing, or grinding marks?
From a distance with the car on level ground does it lean?
Was the paint applied over a bare metal refinish, or is it a respray over
previous paints?
What type of paint was used?
Is it the original color?
Does it have the right wheel size?
What is the condition of the sills and shut pillars?
What is the condition of the battery box or boxes?
What is the condition of the gas tank, spare tire area, and rear inner fenders?
Does it have a vinyl top or a higher quality cloth top?
Hows the clutch, brakes, and drive shaft?
Has the motor been rebuilt, and if it has what exactly was done?
Hows the front end components and the steering box, or steering rack?
Hows the transmission shift?
Whats leaking and how fast? (All XKs leak, the rate is the important
factor. Puddles or weaping?)
Can you detect odd noises in the motor, transmission, or rear end?
Has the car been completely rewired?
Have the brake components been sleeved?
Are the hub splines, if equiped with wire wheels, in good shape?
Is the frame straight and solid?

Have someone drive the car on the highway, with you following.

Does the car smoke excessively?
Does the car lean and bounce excessively?
Does the car track and look right as it motors in front of you?
Do the wheels shake excessively?

These questions will keep you busy for a while, perhaps someone else on the
list might want to add a few more that I left out.

If you can determine the the truthfulness of the answers to the above
questions by yourself- great- if not hire someone who can. If you have to
spend $1000-2000 to winnow out the deceptive restorations from the honest
ones, it will be the cheapest XK fund money you ever spend!

Good luck take your time.


In addition to Wray's comments:
Be wary of fresh restorations unless you know the restorer. Fresh paint
over poorly prepared metal will show up flaws after about a year. Look at
slightly aged (roughly a year or so) restorations if you don't know the
restorer. Always check around and below the vent box area. The structure
underneath the vent box rusts out on the cars and is not always replaced.
This can be a good key (but not always) to the quality of the rest of the
car. Get connected with the local Jaguar club. Go to the car shows. Look at
their cars both outside and inside. They may know of cars for sale in your
area and who to avoid or not avoid.
Cleo Bay
XK120, XK140

Wray -
Thanks for the exhaustive list to guide a purchase decision. Do you think
there are any cars out there that can pass the test?
Rgds, Bill


Yes, but be prepared to pay the bucks, or find a compromise between your
budget and your Jag lust. If your budget is less than what it currently
takes to purchase a 98-100 point car, don't compromise on the condition of
the paint and panel fit (ie. the overall condition of the body) The body is
the most important, and most expensive, component to restore.



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