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Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8 Published: 30th Jun 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
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Jaguar that looks like the Aston and also honours E-type is a bargain supercar

HOW MUCH CHEAPER CAN THESE JAGS GET?

Not much! This stylish and sophisticated substitute for the XJ-S that aptly honours the E-type can’t get any cheaper and now’s the time to buy a good one.

 

OK BUT HOW CHEAP IS CHEAP THOUGH?

We’ve seen them at classic auctions sell for less than £3000 and, while admittedly not show winners, weren’t bangers either. However, with so many around, unless you are on a strict budget, it’s best to pay around double this for a good one boasting a decent service history. Believe us, it will pay off in the long run plus when you consider that the XK8 is blood related to the Aston DB7, that’s still a bit of a steal.

 

AH YES, WHERE’S THE ASTON CONNECTION?

In a nutshell, both were conceived around the same time and used the venerable XJ-S platform as the basis for something swisher. The Aston is the more thoroughbred it has to be said because it was developed and produced by the legendary Tom Walkinshaw who, ironically, made the Le Mans winning Jaguar racers! The first DB7 (launched in 1994) also used a spin off of the XJR supercharged engine whereas the XK8 was always a V8 – but what a V8!

WHAT’S THE BEST?

It depends what you want; certainly the Aston Martin offers more style, exclusivity, the option of a V12 engine and also a rare manual transmission, albeit only on the six-cylinder versions; the vast majority were autos. Drive the two to compare and you’ll probably tilt towards the Aston for its added sportiness – and no doubt the badge! Yet while (like-for-like) the Jaguar remains some 50 per cent cheaper to buy, the Aston Martin certainly isn’t double the fun. Indeed, with its superior automatic gearbox, a supercharged XKR will show any Aston DB7 the way home and probably laughing all the way to the bank at the same time! Even entry-level models can do 155mph, yet 30mpg is attainable thanks to the relaxed V8 never having to break into a big sweat.

 

WHAT’S THE BEST XK8?

The XK8 has been around for two decades now, believe it or not, and the rule is the later the car, then the better the car; this really is one of the new breed of modern classics that allows you to have it all. If you can stretch to it, the 4.2 range of 2002 is the best, and best sorted, plus the fitment of a 4.2-litre in place of the previous 4.0 V8 unit means that the regular XK8 is blessed with virtually the pace of the old supercharged XKR (while this scalded supercharged cat now has 370bhp on tap!. Aside from the added poke, there’s also a raft of other improvements such as Xenon lighting.

 

AND WHAT’S THE BEST OF THE BEST?

There’s a handful of special editions, such as the ‘400’ (2003), based on the XKR and featuring Alcantara seat inserts plus black, silver or grey paintwork. A year later the (XK8/XKR) Premium arrives in coupé or convertible guises, with 18-inch alloys and a rear spoiler, while spring 2005 sees the S limited edition (based on either the XK8 or XKR) with a new choice of interior and exterior colour schemes plus even larger 19-inch alloy whels. In terms of classic status, we can see these garnering the most interest and so values. Yet, according to XK specialists, good unmolested XK8s, of any persuasion, are now becoming increasingly collectible but that’s because the majority out there are now shabby cats!

 

ERR, ARE THEY UNRELIABLE THEN?

Not horrendously so, it largely depends if it’s been a pampered pussycat or not. Any car that’s 20 years old is bound to show some decay and while the XK8 is known to rust, this Jaguar is surprisingly much better protected than the equivalent Aston because – unbelievably – the company actually stopped rustproofing DB7s around 2002 just to save a few quid! Check carefully the front footwells and rear wheelarches, the former located just behind the front subframe, as corrosion here can be costly to fix because of the poor access. Oh and the rear bumpers have been known to fall off due to rusty mounts on more than one car – so have a good crawl around is our advice.

 

IT’S THE ENGINES THEN, ISN’T IT?

Well, some XK8s built before 2000 suffered damaged cylinder bores through certain high-sulphur fuels. However, any car that’s survived this long should be fine, but a special blow-by meter will determine if there’s a problem with damaged cylinder walls. Some XKs had fresh powerplants under warranty; chassis numbers 001036 to 042775 were affected.

Cars that have had a new engine have a tag on the nearside of the block. The VIN indicates what type of cylinder liners the engine has; anything with a six-digit sequence at the end means Nikasil liners, while an A followed by five digits means steel liners are fitted. A good kerbside test is to see how quickly an engine ‘catches’ from stone cold and if it also displays any strange ‘chuffing’ or wheezing sounds, a result of lack of cylinder compression during starting up.

 

THAT’S ALL THEN!

Not quite, What remains an issue on the V8 is the secondary timing chain being thrown off after the plastic top tensioner has cracked. The engine is rarely wrecked, but new chains and tensioners will be needed; along with a £1100 cheque to have the work done using better 4.2-litre components.

 

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s largely run-of-the mill stuff, such as shot brakes, suspension bushes, dampers and so on. Like the XJ-S it’s based upon, wheel bearings can be a weak spot, not helped by the numerous large wheel and tyre combinations, with the optional eye catching 20-inch items really putting a strain on things. Actually, tyres are a good barometer on the rest of the car’s condition; if cheap rubber has been fitted, then expect similar penny pinching elsewhere.

 

IS TRIM ANY BETTER THAN IN AN XJ6?

Yes, but the Jaguar’s cabin still lacked BMW-stamina and you’ll often find shabby trim, failing headlinings and well worn wood or charcoal coloured dashboards.

By the same token, the car’s popularity within the aftermarket means that there’s a good supply of either standard or custom trim – it depends if you demand originality or not, although factory looking XK8s will always command the most value in years to come. Also ensure that everything works properly. Climate control repairs can run to £1000+ to put things right, for example. Also check the low-set front foglights, which get broken easily by flying stones; replacements are £90 apiece – headlights are £400 or so each, but there’s a raft of good second-hand stuff around. Don’t be surprised to see repairs on the snout as factory paint was inherently soft and prone to stone chipping.

 

LET’S TALK PRICES

There’s a definite pecking order when it comes to values. XK8s are worth less than XKRs and cabrios fetch more than coupés. Silver paint and a black interior can be hard to sell but, in contrast, anything with cream leather trim finds eager buyers, preferably with the exterior shimmering in Quartz Grey, Radiance Red and Racing Green.

The bottom line is around £4000 for a decent 4.0-litre coupé – 4.2-litre cars start at £6000 while convertibles carry a premium of around £3000. The newest, low-mileage cars in immaculate condition can still fetch £13,000, for a XKR rag top; prices are for warranted cars from a specialist carrying a worthy warranty which is where we’d tend to look.

 

IS THERE AN OWNERS’ CLUB FOR THE XK8?

Yes – and a very helpful and active one it is too, offering this advice: “Whatever you buy, shopping around is a must, and an independent inspection is advisable.

Look for a full history, with maintenance by a reputable specialist. As when buying any classic, joining a club is advisable; we cater solely for the XK, so if you’re looking at buying one, we’ll be only too happy to assist with a couple of very useful documents that will help you track down the perfect car”. Hear, hear.



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