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Jaguar MK2

Jinxed Jag? Published: 25th Apr 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar MK2
Jaguar MK2
Jaguar MK2
Jaguar MK2
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Jag Mk2s are always wanted, right? So when Alan Douglas put his well kept example up for sale he thought they’d be a flood of cat lovers beating a path to his door. Was it that 240 badge which put people off he now wonders…

It was the guy in Kalamazoo who was the worst. I don’t know much about him except that his name is Tim and he lives in what I had thought was a fictitious town in Michigan State. I also know his nearest sea port is New York…..because some of my 40-plus emails back and forward to him were steeped in the logistics of shipping from Felixstowe. He was the worst of the assorted bunch of metaphorical tyre kickers who have selfishly taken up hours, days and weeks of my life this year since I decided to put my 1968 Mk2 Jag on the market.

The car’s been a good companion since 2007 and it’s had a pretty easy life in that time. Despite the fact that it has been constantly insured and taxed – although as a historic vehicle no money changed hands between me and the DVLA and it was simply an annual exercise on the internet to renew it – the car ventured out of the garage only when it was a guaranteed dry, and preferably sunny, day. Living in the west of Scotland and having to endure our inclement weather that proved something of a limitation, which partly explains why the car covered only 800 miles while in my care and regularly clocked up barely 100 miles between annual MoTs – and I’m not alone in this respect I’ll wager.

It’s been pretty reliable for something that’s rapidly approaching its half-century with only the occasional need for some attention from my local enthusiastic Jag specialist, Jamie Gibbon of Gibbon and Wilson in Bearsden. New brake servo, coil, some hoses and a new battery have been pretty well the extent of my expense and it’s never let me down.

I’ve always made a point of starting it regularly and running it up to temperature even if I didn’t venture out to mix it with the traffic.

Sadly when I did hit the open road, the over-riding feeling was always just how much technical progress there’s been since the Sixties!

Without power steering, the car is pretty hard work at low speeds, overdrive was a valuable addition to the four speed box and the creaking and groaning from the whole structure when it was on the move was a constant reminder that this was an old lady and her joints weren’t what they used to be.


But the time had come for our ways to part. I’d managed to acquire an immaculate 1995 3.2 litre Jaguar XJ with barely 50,000 miles on the clock and it needed the shelter of the single garage, occupied by the Mk2, if it was to maintain its good looks. My wife also made the point regularly that “there’s no point in having the car if you don’t use it”. My justification that the running costs were only a fraction of what it would cost if I played golf, carried little weight.

So I took the plunge and drew up an advert with a good description, photographs and what I thought was a fair asking price which I submitted to the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club magazine and a couple of websites including Classic Cars for Sale. I sat back and waited for the flood of enquiries.

Weeks became months. Maybe I’d been over ambitious with the price? Maybe the classic market was dead? Maybe I’d never sell it and it would pass on to my children and grandchildren as an unwanted and unloved legacy?

Then one day, a call came through on my mobile. “Now then, about this Jag” said this gruff Yorkshire voice. He was brief and to the point. “How bad is it?” which rather took me by surprise as I’d never suggested in my advertising that it was anything less than good. It dawned on me that this was his particular style of negotiation by wrong-footing me from the start. He said he’d get back to me if was interested. I never heard from him again.

Then the emails started…from all round Europe and beyond. Holland, France, Malta and every corner of the country, they came, usually in broken or ungrammatical English… and that was just the British ones. Each one asked for more information and detailed pictures of under the bonnet, the inner depths of the boot, the interior woodwork and one who showed a deep interest in the dark depths of the wheel arches. Almost every one was never heard of again, except for Stateside Tim who, after endless email discussions over weeks about how we’d get the car to Kalamazoo, sent a brief message out of the blue to say he’d changed his mind.

I did get a couple of calls followed up by visits – two taxi drivers from Fife, one of whom swore constantly in between his chain-smoking, rolled up but lost interest after only five minutes and seemed to treat the exercise as a day out. Then the man who’d come 200 miles from the north-east of Scotland with his son, only to take one look at it and announce “no, it’s not what I’m looking for”, turn round and drive home again. Quite bizarre, considering I’d emailed him about twenty photographs and samples of the paperwork stretching back thirty years! One email offered to buy the car unseen for a grand less than I was asking. All I had to do was send my bank details for the payment. Clearly a scam..


I was clearly getting nowhere…until an enthusiastic phone call from Stuart who said it was just what he wanted and could I hold it for him until he could come and see it? I was happy to do that, especially when he offered a £100 deposit which, although I worried it might be another scam to get my bank details, true to his word, he paid in the cash that very day.

There was just one problem. He lived in Devon and would have to get an Easyjet flight from Bristol. Could I meet him at the airport and was I sure the car could make the 600 mile journey south? “Yes” and “no” was my response but I assured him that the car had never let me down but the further I’d ever driven it in one go was about 60 miles.

He arrived on an early flight a few days later.

My understandable optimism disappeared quickly. A quick look at it, inside, outside and under before he announced “I’m sorry, I’ve wasted your time. Can you take me back to the airport”. He wasn’t interested in haggling – and on the way back to get his plane it emerged he’d found another Mk2 only two miles from his home and he’d be seeing that the following day. He’d bought his air ticket to Glasgow so thought he should use it rather than just lose it. He didn’t ask for his deposit back – and I didn’t offer.

It was now almost a whole year since I’d first decided the car should go. My email outbox was full of endless messages, pictures and documents which had been sent to far-flung places and yet the car was still in the garage and the XJ was still enduring the elements.

Like the teenager who refuses to leave home, it looked the car was going to become a permanent resident. Then, out of the blue came a phone call from a Glasgow voice. “I’d like to come and see the Jag” it said, “….today”. Within the hour, Peter was on my doorstep. Ninety minutes later he was handing me a £100 deposit. The following day he paid me the full asking price and drove home which was just four miles away…

That was two weeks ago as I write this – and all the hassle of the past year seems a distant memory. If there is a message in all this then it has to be. Don’t Give Up. There’s a buyer out there for your car. You just have to find them and sometimes it takes a little bit longer.

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