Will the Classic XJ Market Ever Take Off?
How long can the basement-level prices for old XJs last? Until they’re all nothing but piles of rust?
The classic XJ market has always puzzled me. Right now, if you go on Craigslist anywhere in the country, you can find examples of Jaguar’s gorgeous sedan for next to nothing — and sometimes they’re even running and driving.
Now, I’m a little biased, because the XJ6 was the car that made me fall in love with cars. I couldn’t have been more than three or four when I saw my first one, and that encounter is burned into my brain. My dad isn’t patient, and years or wrenching on old heaps just so he could get to work turned him into a fan of Japanese cars. But he spent a lot of time that morning walking me around that fateful Jag — it was either a Series I or II — pointing out details like the twin tanks, the door handles, the iconic four-headlight set up, and the delicate line which runs from tip to tail.
Then he told me not to buy one, because it would always be broken. Of course, it was advice I’d later ignore.
Truth be told, the chocolate-brown 1978 model I’d eventually buy had the common SBC swap, and I daily drove it for years. The old man never believed me, but the Chevy motor was the only part of that car that ever gave me problems — the pressure plate developed a crack. Aside from that, everything on my classic Jaguar worked fine, even the clock kept perfect time. I distinctly remember the moment I noticed a tail light was out, and thinking “so it begins,” but I grabbed a spare bulb from the glove box, and moments later, I was back in business.
Unfortunately, I had to get rid of that car, as I slipped on some ice and bashed up the front end. The amount of hidden rust meant a restoration was way, way out of my budget, so I swore that someday, I’d get another one — and it’s a promise I intend to keep.
But every time I go idly car shopping, I’m stunned by how cheap you can pick up a decent XJ for, and think about how it wasn’t that long ago that owners were paying people to tow old Mopars out of their yards. So I wonder if we’ll ever see an explosion in value here? I have to admit there’s a piece of me that worries I’ll be priced out of the market.
What do you folks think? Head to the forum and let me know!