As we approach the end of this month’s theme, we ask whether there is life beyond secondhand
You may not have reached that age yet (though I think I did at around 16) but one day you look in the mirror and ask yourself “how did I get to look like this”? The physical proof of the passing of time seems totally out of proportion with the short period you feel you have spent on the Earth.
This appeared near to where I live in South-West London last weekend. It’s sitting in the street, the passenger window wide open to the elements. Has it been stolen and dumped or has someone local bought it, with the prospect of restoration, only to find that the electric windows go down, but not up?
It’s an XJ-S Cabriolet. Introduced in 1983 but, even though it was buoyed up by Jaguar’s 1980s sales renaissance, still relatively unpopular with just over 5,000 produced before it was replaced by a full convertible. Personally, I find it one of the more interesting XJ-S variants, since I enjoy open-air motoring, but feel a bit self-conscious when exposed to the world’s all round gaze. It’s also a V12, which would be the essential choice for me.
So this car is probably just over 30 years old, which is a fair age, but still begs the question as to how it has ended up like this? Who cared enough about it to keep it going, but made no attempt to prevent the ravages of rust?
Does it have a future? Currently someone has a pristine, apparently genuine 35,000 mile version, in the same colour, for sale at just under £20,000 and you could probably pick up a pretty fair one for quite a bit less than £15,000. Even assuming the underlying state is solid, if you wanted someone just to restore the bodywork well there’s at least £10,000 worth of work here, without even starting on the upholstery or the oily bits and pieces.
Which leaves two options – restore it yourself or run it as it is. As for the first, maybe someone with an awful lot of spare time has that in mind. To me it looks like a car that has been sitting around for a long time with its owner promising themselves they’ll get round to it some day – I know that feeling only too well and, if that’s the intention, I wish them the best. As for the latter, it’s a personal choice but some cars suit the ‘Oily Rag’ philosophy, others don’t. For me, the XJ-S doesn’t.