How Much Jaguar Can You Get for Under $4,000?

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XJ8 Vanden Plas for under 4 grand.

The answer is quite a lot, and particularly if you want to enjoy the luxury of a late 1990’s XJ8 Vanden Plas.

There have been some great cars popping up lately in the Jaguar Forums Marketplace, and when someone in the office asked, “How much Jaguar can I get for less than $4,000?” that’s where we found the answer. For a few hundred bucks under, we found this ship-shape 1998 XJ8 Vanden Plas. The Vanden Plas designation is named for a European coachbuilder and it’s the higher luxury spec and, unless it’s super-rare, adds a little space into the grace, pace and space equation by having a longer wheelbase than other models.

The extra luxury includes all the luxury features available at the time, including walnut burl picnic trays. The only thing it doesn’t come with is a driver you so you can enjoy that extra rear legroom yourself. Still, whether you’re in the front or back, the softer suspension and the super-smooth AJ-V8 before mixed with suspension and bushing upgrades makes for a really nice ride that’s low on noise and vibration. In fact, 1998 was a big improvement year for the XJ8 in general. All versions got ZF 5-speed transmission with a taller gear ratio to replace the 4-speed GM unit. The structure was also improved and crash safety improved with the B-pillars being reinforced along with side-impact airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners at the front.

Despite the reputation of this period of Jaguars, if the known issues are taken care of then they can be fantastic cars. The AJ-V8 made it fast enough, and the improvements to ride quality encourage the use of the word plush to describe traveling in one.


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This one being advertised here is the kind of thing we would look for. It’s owned by an enthusiast, maintained by a specialist, and also according to the seller, had all of the known issues addressed. A few little dents and scratches…Well, you can’t see them from inside and some wear on the driver’s seats are to be expected with just over 100,000 miles on the clock. Besides, all that money saved over a brand new Jag means you can hire a driver to cover the issue, right?

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Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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