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alfadriver MegaDork
4/11/19 9:02 p.m.

Do some real research on any car like this- more than just listening to someone who posts and pretends to know everything about the car.

Find the actual weak points- so that you can either re-engineer them OR have the right spares.  Or both even.

And then go out and prove that people who think car X is an unreliable POS wrong.  

I'm quite certain that people think Alfas are very unreliable.  We've never really had reliability issues with our car.  But it took a real solid rebuild by an expert, and the same expert to change stuff that looks questionable.  The only "major" work after the rebuild (fresh trans and engine) has been a head gasket after many, many hours on the track and autocrossing.

We plan on taking the car across the country after we retire in a few years.  I can't wait.

I really hope the Jag turns out good, Robbie.  Get the car that you can just take on some cruises. 

frenchyd UltraDork
4/11/19 10:57 p.m.

If In reply to Robbie : There is every probability the rubber bushings, mounts etc have either perished  or are on their last legs.  Even if they have been replaced in the last decade some of the aftermarket replacements aren’t up to snuff.  

Don’t worry,  you can still get almost every part new from places like XK’s unlimited, or Welsh Jaguar.  Plus those parts if they fail won’t prevent you from using the car, just won’t have the typical Jaguar  ride or handling.  They are straightforward to replace too. 

Expect the leather to be hard, but that’s easily dealt with by a couple of applications of Leatherique.  Two applications over a couple of weekends and the leather should be that glove softness it had when new.  A few people object to the smell of pears the treatment gives.  But left with the windows open ( hopefully in a garage ) the smell seems to disappear over time.  Seats that old are likely to have stitches pulled maybe even a few tears,  easy to fix tears and not horribly expensive to have restitched. 

Let’s be honest Jaguars leak. That engine was designed during WW2 at night  while on the roof watching out for fires.  All British engines of that period used a reverse screw rear seal assembly, if a new engine with oil in it is set on its flywheel  oil will leak right out. Doesn’t matter, Jaguar MG whatever. They will all leak. 

Plus gaskets of that era combined with mechanics with poor or no training, well they will leak. A piece of cardboard underneath will collect drops even from the best and keep from staining your garage floor. 

Rust though will condemn the car to the scrap heap. They don’t all rust, only those driven in the winter roads or those badly neglected.  Some, even rust belt cars remain nice and rust free.  

Robbie UltimaDork
4/12/19 10:01 a.m.
buzzboy said:

 I'm used to dancing with a fat chick, but the XJ6 was more like dancing with a with a water polo girl(?). You feel the weight and dimensions but it's still sporty and direct feeling. It's probably in my top 10 if not top 5 cars I've ever driven.

It's interesting that you say this, as my BIL is a gym teacher and the water polo coach at the local high school. So we see a lot of water polo as a family. haha. 

I too like cars that can do both. Can cruise, but can also hold their own in the twisties. 

dculberson UltimaDork
4/12/19 11:02 a.m.

I Lemons raced an 80s xj6 and it was a blast. 

frenchyd UltraDork
4/12/19 11:20 a.m.
NOHOME said:

Yes you can as long as you put the time required into the maintenance. Most of the reasons that these older classics are deemed unreliable is because previous owners gave up on the maintenance expense/effort. For example, if that thing hs inboard disc brakes in the rear, go look up the cost to do a brake-job.

Since a large part of the maintenance expense is labour, and lots of it, you should be able to keep one on the road for a reasonable outlay of $$$ if you are using your free labour. The previous is assuming that there is no major mechanical apocalipse to strat with.


It is too bad that your taste in classics are not Japanese based. Japanese cars were on the upswing in terms of reliability by that era, while the Brits were at the end of pre-historic designs that may or may not have benefited from continuous product development cycles. For example, I would not hesitate for a second to drive a well maintained 1990 Miata across the country, but a 1980 MGB would make me want to pack a lot more than a small travel bag.



You have that right.  Cars like that Jaguar can be owned and used for very little money and give you great pleasure. If you are willing to provide your own labor. Active members of the local Jaguar club seem to be of two sorts.  Those who run to the dealer for every perceived  problem tend to spend  a fortune and complain loudly to anyone who will listen about the costs and problems of ownership. 

The other sort of owner really understands how things work and when work is actually called for. Then set aside the time to do a proper repair.  

Their ownership experience goes on for decades with  a line of buyers eager to own their cars.  

One thing I mentioned earlier was saving parts from a spares car.  Swapping rear ends is a quick job, while rebuilding rear brakes isn’t.  With a spare rear end you can take your time rebuilding everything on the rear end. Carefully detailing and painting it so when rear brake time comes it’s just a matter of R&R time, a few hours typically.  You can do that with the front crossmember as well.  

Robbie UltimaDork
4/13/19 7:41 p.m.

Looked at the car today. I think it is solid though it does have some issues not disclosed in the ad (surprise!)

Overall very solid body and underneath looks great. I think it would look EXCELLENT after a clay bar and polish.  Very clean inside, great looking car. Drives without clunks and pulls. Tires are old. Shifts good. Great oil pressure, even at hot idle. Diff did not look to be leaking, I couldn't see the rear rotors.

Things I noticed that I don't love:

1. It has the gas tank issue. Owner has a bunch of fuel lines "blocked off" yet it still leaks fuel on the ground after a drive. Starts and runs great however.

2. Paint has a couple of poorly done touchups on the leading edge of the rear driver's fender. You've really got to be crouching there but boo.

3. Power antenna inop (could be the aftermarket head unit isn't running it, but I doubt it).

4. Headliner in the rear has obviously sagged and then was reattached only semi- professionally.

5. Wood was cracking on the dash. Not sure if this is just the finish and could be sanded down and re-finished, or if it needs to be redone all together. It seems dumb but it really lets down the look of the interior.

6. Grinding from the front driver side on the brakes. Not sure if this is just rust from sitting but I think it is more than that.

7. Owner claims to have changed the spark plugs and oil this winter (did it himself) but couldn't get one of the old spark plugs out. So he really only changed 5/6. I'm glad he told me this, but it doesn't give me warm fuzzies.

Oh, and the story is this guy's brother bought it at auction in 2012 and never really drove it. Traded it to his brother (the seller) recently and the seller was going to keep it but found a c5 instead.

So I like the car, but going in there are already some projects on that need fixed. I'm looking into the gas tank thing right now, and frankly I was hoping to not have to buy tires right away.

Decisions. Decisions.

frenchyd UltraDork
4/14/19 6:47 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

You decide if it’s something you want. However in my opinion Based on your comments here are some of my thoughts.  There is no way given the unrevealed items  I would pay him his full asking price. At a minimum I would deduct the parts prices and a modest allowance for the unknown.  

Tires that size should be very affordable.  However since in all probability they’ve lived an indoor life I would expect them to remain usable far beyond ordinary life.   

Changing spark plugs on the XK engine is about as straight forward a job as there is.  Why one plug wasn’t changed would make me very nervous.  If plugs were installed wrong in that aluminum head wrong ( cross threaded, or without anti seize)  it can be repaired without pulling the head. But it sure doesn’t say much about previous work done.  

The leaking gas tanks is not something that is likely to be a simple repair.  While it’s possible it could be bad hoses, without knowing more details and careful inspection I’d fear it’s time for new tanks. For a long time the only source was to either repair those tanks or find good useable ones in a specialty Jaguar yard.  

However I think I remember XK’s unlimited featuring new replacement tanks as being available recently m.  

Front brakes are very straightforward to work on and last I checked most places like Rock auto, NAPA, etc. still stocked them at very reasonable prices. You won’t need  to pay XK’s unlimited or dealer prices. 

The finish on the dash is a really long and difficult job to do properly. It simply cannot be done without pulling the whole dash, removing the instruments and very careful sanding, gentle re-staining.   Followed by spray painting  with a clear lacquer and then all the color sanding, polishing and careful reassembly work.  

Yet following that, there is a very good likelihood that electrical/ HVAC connections will have been compromised  and  the dash removed again to sort those out.  

ddavidv PowerDork
4/14/19 7:57 a.m.

I spent a couple of decades in the Fiat world while Fiat wasn't selling cars here. My standard advice to people who wanted to buy a 124 Spider was to allow about a year for 'teething problems', most of which were fixing things caused by the PO. After about a year of tracking down and fixing bodged repairs or deferred maintenance they would be reliable cars. I think this is a reasonable approach to any older car.

There is no reason an old car can't be used as daily transportation. There is nothing magical about modern cars nor scary about old cars. I used to tow to the track with a '65 F100. People thought I was nuts. But it was just a truck, made up of nuts and bolts. Provided you kept the bolts tight and the fluids contained it would always work.

When it comes to XJ6's my only experience was working at a car dealership where we sold a few of those as used vehicles. They seemed to either be really good or horribly bad.

Cousin_Eddie HalfDork
4/14/19 8:01 a.m.

Any man that will disclose that only 5/6 plug job was performed due to difficulties is well on their way to being an honest seller. That would make me feel warm and fuzzy. But, I build cars with me heart, not my head. Like choosing a mate, they either talk to your soul or they don't. What's a set of tires or a gas tank in the big scheme of things ?

Dirtydog Dork
4/14/19 8:31 a.m.

As someone who has been quietly lusting for an XJ6, I feel the yen.  That era is worth about $4500 on the top end.  Is it worth it to you to drop 2-3 grand into it?  If so, pull the trigger.  If not, look for one that doesn't have the issues described.  Budget and emotions, budget and emotions...........

Robbie UltimaDork
4/14/19 10:23 a.m.

Well, looks like I may be picking this up today - wish me luck!

(When other people scheduled to come look at a car go all Craigslist and no show, it gives you negotiating leverage, devil)

Vigo UltimaDork
4/14/19 10:59 a.m.

Glad you went this way. IMO it's completely unreasonable to find a drivable one with as good of paint and body for any cheaper than this. The kind of problems you described fall neatly within the lines of 'old car ownership' and i wouldn't hold them personally against this car. Anyone that keeps a car in BETTER condition than this after 30 years knows what they have and won't sell it for $2400 anyway. 

Good luck!

Run_Away Dork
4/14/19 11:49 a.m.

In for the build thread!

Robbie UltimaDork
4/14/19 1:01 p.m.

So, loaded up the kids and wife and got on the road. It was just starting to snow, but I didn't think anything was going to stick. An hour later after going about 20 miles (car is 60 miles away from me) and seeing 2 crashes on the interstate I had to call it off. We still have the snow tires on the van and it was uncomfortable. The highway was developing serious slush ruts and changing lanes was iffy. It may not look like it but the combination of conditions means it is quite crappy for any driving. I'm not super interested in driving an unknown car home in this weather and am really not interested in making my wife and kids drive home 2-3 hours in this either.

Taken yesterday

Still snowing sideways now that we are home safe (sans new jag of course). I was outside in a t-shirt yesterday.

Seller is not exactly happy and I understand - when you have a fish on the hook, catch it - but today is not a good day to be on the road for anything.

And I'm supposed to be flying out of town for work this week. So we wait. frown

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/14/19 1:10 p.m.

Wow, just 5 hours due east of you I have gray, rainy and 44 degrees.

Robbie UltimaDork
4/15/19 6:24 a.m.

I had a bit more communication with the seller, and now I'm starting to get emotional about the deal in not a good way.

Saturday afternoon I looked at the car. Made an offer, and he countered, but I stood. He said another guy's was coming so I said "if you get a better offer than mine go ahead and sell it". Later that night he texted me back that the other guy didn't show. 

So he took my offer, and said "how quick can you get it out of here?"

When I responded that I wanted to get it Sunday but if the weather got in the way (snow was in the forecast) it would have to be Friday or Saturday next because I have work travel, he responded "please remove it tomorrow".

Ok man I understand your perspective but no need to be a jerk!

He was understandibly dissapointed that I wasn't buying the car yesterday. But then he started getting a bit weird.

He asked for a deposit over PayPal, so I said I'd be willing to do a small deposit if he was willing to hold the car for me until Friday or Saturday. Then he responded that he could not hold the car for me and would keep the ad up, because he could "use the extra cash".

Ok fine, but no way am I sending you a deposit if you're just going to sell the car to someone else!

So who knows. Part of me wants to just let him sit on the car a couple more weeks and then cut my offer in half. Part of me still just wants the car. Part of me wants nothing to do with a jagaur with a previous owner who is both a jerk and desperate for cash.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
4/15/19 6:59 a.m.

Funny, I love me some "econoboxy" Japanese 80s cars and have little interest in a Jag like that.

If I had to skip my go-to of angular Toyota/Nissan/Mazda/Subaru, then I'd probably say go with something American from the 70s or 80s, the more gigantic the better.  Cheap parts, relatively reliable, at the cost of fuel economy.  Sedans seem to have escaped the old guy tax (coupes) and hipster tax (wagons) for the time being.


gunner HalfDork
4/15/19 7:03 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

You have it right. A deposit is an act of faith to the seller that you intend to buy the car and if he agrees to take a deposit then the car is off the market until saturday night or whenever you agreed to come back(within reason). After that time if you didn't show he keeps the deposit and the car is back on the market. If he sells the car out from under you while during the deposit time, he owes you back your deposit, and is a jerk.

At this point I would not put a deposit down, however, if you still want the car go back next weekend, or whenever you can at your convenience and either buy it at your original offer or renegotiate and buy it. It's hard not to get emotional, but this is the exact time to be rational. If it sells, there will always be another car.



frenchyd UltraDork
4/15/19 7:51 a.m.

In reply to Robbie :

I’m glad you aren’t emotional about it because as others have said, there are other cars.  

Will they be as nice?  Maybe? Will they be as nearby?  Probably not.  

That design is the last of the Sir William Lyon’s designed  cars  and the last use of the classic Iron 4.2the next model. ( I call the square Jag ) doesn’t have any Lyons touch in it at all  but after that they reverted to a retro design that hints of Lyons elements.  I just made a bid on a nice 1996 XJ6 with the 4 valve all aluminum engine out in California. At $350 it’s top money out there and my buddy tells me it sounds nice and seems to drive well.  It does need a serious detailing and stinks like cigarettes.  

Plus that model car has a sterling reputation for reliability and low operating costs. If I win the bid I can fly free out there and drive it home in a weekend.  

If not I’ll keep bidding on 6.0 V12’s  but they seem to go around $1000 even with body damage.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/15/19 8:21 a.m.

You're just on the receiving end of the sellers frustration.  

I'm sure he's thinking:

  • this should be easy...its not
  • this should be worth a lot of money, afterall, its a Jaguar...its not

You were customer #1.  He gambled and passed on customer #1 in hopes that customer #2 would be better...it was not.  He then got you, #1, to recommit, but then #1 gave him a weather related excuse.  He may not have been getting the same weather where he was located.  Therefore, he thinks that your excuse was just that, an excuse.  So, he pushes for the following day and #1 gives him another excuse of "business travel."  The seller keeps hitting roadblocks.  He now really regrets not having taken #1's money while he could.  All this anger and frustration comes off as desperation by the seller.  

Robbie UltimaDork
4/15/19 8:48 a.m.

Yeah, I know the weather thing is an excuse. But over 1000 flights were cancelled yesterday in Chicago and this guy lives on the other side of Chicago from me.

So yeah, he's allowed to be frustrated about the weather (I'm guessing about 150k other people with flights yesterday are too) but he knows I'm not making it up.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/15/19 8:57 a.m.

I agree the weather was real.  He may know the weather was real too.  But, there's little satisfaction from being mad at the weather so he has spun that to being mad at you.  Don't take it hard.  

Whatever you do, don't let him think you have a house in Chicago and a house in NYC.  He'll think, "this rich, cheap berk is just too cheap to pay me what this Classic Jaguar is worth."  

keithedwards New Reader
4/15/19 9:00 a.m.

Seller may not be a jerk, but simply very desperate for money. For a buyer, that is a good position to be in. I bought a running 1975 Suburban in the mid-'80s for $300. I think it was advertised in AutoTrader. Selling for a friend and he followed me to the DMV to transfer the title. My conclusion was that the seller was in jail and needed bail money, but who knows... Turned out, both heads were cracked, so it eventually overheated, but that's another story.

mtn MegaDork
4/15/19 9:07 a.m.

I would tell the guy to pound sand for a week. This isn't going to sell today or tomorrow. And yeah, the weather was seriously crappy yesterday. My wife had me drive her to work it was so bad. That drive should take roughly an hour with no traffic, you guys would have been in the car for at least 4 hours roundtrip yesterday based on what I saw at the halfway point and my parents were telling me (they live in the same town as the Jag)

yupididit UltraDork
4/15/19 9:38 a.m.

This xj12 is $2400 just needs paint. There's this xj6 with 65k miles for $3000 local to me. 

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