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Todd's 1998 Jaguar XJ8-L
Model: XJ8 L
Power: 290 HP @ 6100 rpm, 290 ft lb torque @ 4250 rpm
Added: May 25, 2008
“You want a WHAT ?” was how my wife responded when I began to shop for a Jaguar. “Are you serious,” she asks. Unfortunately, I was. Having always loved the elegant styling and rock solid feel, I now had my sights set on one to replace my aging Mark VIII.
My wife had good reason to be concerned. Over the last 3 decades, Jaguar had become firmly linked to a not-so-favorable reputation for reliability. She was also thinking about the limited dealer network and the sometimes ridiculous cost of parts, (“because you WILL need them !” she says). She has a point.
The Ford Technician side of me was concerned as well. The average person will tell you, “Yeah, I knew someone who had a Jag once. It spent more time in the shop than anywhere else, cost a fortune too.” For those of us who turn wrenches for a living, this statement takes on a whole new meaning. We have seen firsthand Jaguar’s unique ability for producing some of the strangest engineered vehicles you’ve ever seen. A task which should be easy, like replacing rear brake rotors for example, takes 10 HOURS to do on some Jags.
Undaunted by this, my search began. The XJ series had recently been completely redesigned, quite beautifully in my opinion. The deep red paint on this particular car caught my eye from the road. The 46k original miles, all the books and manuals, and a clean Car Fax made me ask questions. I was in love with the beautiful styling from the start, and was hooked after the first test drive. On January 24, 2008, I became the owner of one of the smoothest, quietest, most comfortable cars around.
This generation XJ was designed after the Ford buyout in the late ‘80s, which resulted in HUGE quality improvements. However, that doesn’t mean all the old habits had completely disappeared. The purchase of any Jaguar always includes admission to the “Jaguar Ownership Experience.” Within the first couple month of my ownership, I had to replace the water pump (a known issue), the fuel tank sending unit (ditto), and the front wheel bearings (ditto again).
Yet, despite the hiccups, I loved driving, looking at, and riding in this car. There are few cars that can match the ride quality and interior noise levels of this Jaguar. It has a beautiful exterior, an elegant and comfortable interior, good power, and gets 25 mpg on the highway. I’ve encountered few vehicles that feel this good behind the wheel.
Over the next two years, my wife and I would add 40k to the odometer. Included in that figure were several trips of more than 1800 miles in one sitting, all of which were trouble free. But, as the mileage approached the 90k mark, the time for an upgrade had arrived. On March 20, 2010, I traded the ’98 XJ8 on a totally redesigned ’04 XJ8. This Jaguar experience had proved so positive that once I had experienced it, I didn’t want to go back to an "ordinary" vehicle . . .