Start of a relationship…

Screenshot20101005at23.42.14_4cb2d8442d858-lightboxI’ve just broken all the golden rules!

I’ve always wanted a Jaguar XJR (X308 if you are a model code nerd, like me) and recently I decided that I was (nearly) in a position to buy one, and more importantly afford to run it.

Many pleasurable hours have been spent surfing the usual car porn sites (PistonHeads, Autotrader, ebay, etc) and my long suffering wife has been rolling her eyes for weeks as I show her more and more pictures of XJRs.

Then, last week I found what looked to be a diamond in a sea of rough old dogs, namely a Sapphire blue 1999 XJR with 84k miles on it, oatmeal leather, premium h/k audio and period factory phone kit. More importantly it had full history, the important changes to the cam chain followers etc, and four decent tyres recently fitted.


The car was a little under budget, so I chatted to the owner (a great chap called Alan), and discussed the car at length and got “a good feeling about it”, and after much soul searching, called him back and said that I would offer £3700 and buy the car if it was as described; he agreed, and took the car off the market once a deposit had been received.

So far, so normal.

The problem was now one of logistics… I live near the East Anglian coast in Suffolk, with Alan and the XJR residing in Inverness!

Time for an adventure and a mother of a road trip to bond with my new toy.

Friday the 8th October came round, with an early start (5am) when I was collected by a local taxi driver to drive me to Luton (who thought I was mad!), once at Luton, the orange airline made me wait another 40 mins past scheduled take off time, obviously knowing that I was feeling very mixed emotions; excitement & mild panic being the main ones, with a generous side portion of buyers’ remorse to boot.

Finally, in the late morning I landed at Inverness. Weather was great, the taxi driver I got from the airport (who also thought I was mad) spoke English clearly (always a bonus) drove me to the door, and offered to wait as I may need a ride to back to the airport…

So, it’s crunch time. Was I wasting my time (and money)? Would I have to return home to a bemused wife, and a pub full of regulars (most of whom, thought I was mad)? Also, if I needed to fly back, I didn’t have a booked ticket – how would I get back?

I opened the door to Alan’s hotel, and met the man holding my fate (well the keys to it)…

We walked round the back and there she was, stunning. Definitely as described so far!

A test drive later, and I can find no obvious faults, so it’s time to pay the man… Cash exchanged, phone call to my insurers and I’m off.

I call home, and confirm that I’ve bought the car, and am starting back – south via the A9, then past Glasgow into England, down to Penrith, across to Scotch corner and then down the A1, A14 to home. Google maps reckon that its 690 miles door to door.

Time to turn the key in my Jaguar XJR (I’ve wanted to be able to say that for years!) and start the road trip home…




Chris Mapey