It goes well, is comfortable and has a pleasing interior. But alas, one thing somewhat spoils this car.
There are three ways a used car can be a bit rubbish. We usually see them (1) edging into decrepitude and (2) we can see them as bad as their maker intended. In this little item we see Category 3…
Customisation. I assume that this is a customer-led effort: a Jaguar X-type with a two-tone paint job. ‘Angry of Brown’s Lane’ will write in to say it the car is obviously a special edition to mark the 20th anniversary of Jaguar’s decision to move back to metric measurements again**.
Customisation takes taste and a lot of money to pull off. Usually the customer has the second but not the first. I must admit to being on the very outer edge of the community of customisers in that I had my car resprayed a non-original colour but at least the spray-shop used only one colour. Only a Citroen XM fetishist or Volvo enthusiast would notice my colour gleamed a little more darkly than the one plastered on it at the factory.
The skill required in customization is not the technical part but the taste. A convincing customization needs to do something the
manufacturer might have thought of but didn’t. Very often customization is simply a form of irony: look what we did to this dull old Nissan, we gave it chrome “gangsta” wheels and lowered it by 40 cm. Or in this case, we painted it upside-down two-tone.
The Jaguar here at least has a natural split for the body-shop to follow, until you get around the back to where the bootlid mates to the number plate trim. You wouldn’t draw it like that.
The colours chosen aren’t offensive. What is most unsettling is that the dark paint covers the upper body and the light paint covers the lower body, the reverse of one’s psychological expectations. Everyone knows that dark is heavier than light. Subliminally one knows not to put a heavy thing on a light thing, the light thing will crush. Secondarily, the proportion of one colour to the other is wrong. I realise now that the chrome strip in the X-type is set slightly too high. Instead of nicely gilding this lily, the paint-job is tarring it with Bovril.
It takes about an hour to read the basics of colour theory and a lifetime of experimentation to apply them. I think that for many people think it’s “just colour”. Actually, colour has the power of a crossbow bolt fired directly into your head. It by-passes thought and can confuse things. The patron of this particular automotive artwork probably didn’t get that. He or she thought cream and blue look nice, my X-type looks nice and together it will be nice to the power of three.
Not so fast, Mr McGinn. There’s a horse in your bath.
Facts: The car on sale is a 2001. 2.5 litre V6, 4×4, 5-speed manual, 1550 kg. 245,000 km. 99.000 kr – making it the second cheapest X-Type on sale at the moment. There is an unmolested 2003 2.5 with just 179,000 km on the clock for 200 kr more. For the price of a bag of shopping you can have a car with more miles and a colour scheme redolent of a flood in a paint factory.
**Joke source: “Brazil” by Terry Gilliam.