A legendary English sports and luxury car: Jaguar has been one of the world’s premier automobile brands for decades.
The E-type, introduced in 1961 is a very sexy looking car and paved the way for the XJ-S and the XKR models that followed. Even today Jaguars are among the most attractive looking cars on the road.
On the downside, it was said that a Jaguar car spent as much time at the shop as it did on the road. This statement was true for many English cars of the past but more so for Jaguar due to their complexity: overhead camshafts, 6 cylinder and V12 engines with multiple carburetors and on earlier models, a problematic fuel injection system.
While a great running V12 engine is hard to beat for smooth power delivery it has a lot of added complication with those 4 extra cylinders and Jaguar, eager to get the best performance from such an engine pulled out all the stops with multiple carburetors. This is an absolute nightmare to keep in tune. As cars have evolved and incorporated electronics, the tuning – thankfully – became obsolete. Fuel injection replaced the carburetor and while the early Jag system was problematic, later systems made for quite a reliable high performance engine.
As Jaguar changed ownership to the Ford motor company in 1989 the V12 engine was eliminated and replaced by a few different V8 options, one of which is supercharged and provides superb performance.
A unique feature, introduced in 1961 on the E-type was Jaguar’s legendary independent rear suspension. To this day, on many models, this system is still used. When introduced, it was truly light years ahead of its time. On this suspension system the drive axle and u-joints form the top link which is amazing as it eliminates many parts. I am often amazed at this design for its simplicity and how the u-joints can handle not only the stress of propelling the car, but also holding the rear wheels in a vertical position. While this suspension system evolved undoubtedly the biggest change occurred during the mid 1980s when the inboard disc brakes were moved out to the wheels.
Modern Jags are quite trouble free which is surprising for an English vehicle.
While recurring problems are few, they suffer from broken plastic cooling system parts in much the same way that BMW and Volkswagen do. Jaguars can be quite expensive to repair as many parts are of limited production and are available from the dealer only.
Depreciation is quite hefty (typical to many high end luxury cars) and many low mileage models are available used for a fraction of the original purchase price. If you are looking for a nice luxury car and are prepared for some higher repair costs a good used Jag could be the car for you.