Sunday Column: An Introduction – Ram Kanadia

As a new contributor to the Retro and Classic Cars website, I thought an introduction would be most appropriate. Primarily a law student in his penultimate year at Law School, and a business owner but with a keen interest in the world of cars, some might even refer to me as a motoring hedonist.

The type of car which I most liked to drive is most probably nothing like what someone my age theoretically should. Ignore the cliché of 4” trash-can sized exhaust, the 15” subwoofers, and colourful seat belt covers; as far back as I can remember; I used to drool at the sight of a Rolls Royce or Bentley. When it came the time to buy my first car, I knew that those were most definitely out of my league, though I did spend some months researching, still trying to convince myself that it made financial sense.

A car manufacturer which I respected greatly throughout my youth is Jaguar. I set my eyes on an X350 Jaguar XJ SE (3.0 V6, mind); quintessentially British design with elegant and traditional styling, something not normally associated with anybody not yet receiving a pension. I loved the idea of sitting in what was more like a chesterfield being comforted by a splash of walnut panelling and listening to nothing else, but that which I played through the stereo; being taken from A to B and back again in perfect  “waftage” and with rear-wheel drive. Spiffing! I thought. I loved how no “boy-racer”, ever drove anything close to a Jaguar. Fine, it’s no Bentley but in my eyes, it is not that far off.

After spending all of 26 weeks trying to find the perfect car in the correct specification, and flawless throughout while still in budget; I set my eyes on a SE model with almost every option fitted. So, at eighteen years old, I was the owner of a Jaguar XJ, I collected the car two very long weeks later with my mother, who had never seen it before. (She was astounded by the sheer size of it, especially when it was parked next to a 3 series).

The day I picked up the Jaguar

 Once the honeymoon period was over, the reality of ownership was more in keeping with the traditional view of British cars. My Jaguar, just like many others, though modern had many intermittent electrical gremlins. One of the most annoying problems was when the car did not start until you took the key out of the ignition, replaced it and then it would start first time. Even the satellite navigation would work perfectly; until you had to use it to get somewhere at which point it would panic and freeze or even shut down completely; at one point the driver’s side door deadlocked itself; climbing out of the passenger door is not the most convenient way of entering and exiting the car.

Recovery after an air-suspension failure

Suffice to say, the car was at the Jaguar dealer more often than it was with me, my calculations led me to believe that 3,000 of the 10,000 miles I accumulated in that year was simply driving to and from the service centre. The experience there inconvenienced me further; I was apparently too young to get a courtesy car! After spending an arm and a leg at the “stealers‟ across the last year, I thought it was probably about the right time to move into another car.

Jaguar dropped off to new owner

Throughout the year, I had been invited to numerous Range Rover events, first was the new experience centre where I was able to test the off-road capabilities without the worry of scratching the paint on a car that had only 63 miles on its odometer. The most recent event was a complementary invitation-only day of off-road and on-road driving, clay-pigeon shooting, ice-surface testing, and great food at a prestigious country club to test the latest 4.4 TDV8.

My Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography for the day

All the other Range Rovers

I was more than impressed with the service and more fundamentally, the Range Rover. As you can gather at this stage, I got an itch for one of these monsters and only a few weeks ago, I went and bought a fully-loaded Range Rover L322 4.4 V8 Vogue! As soon as I saw the car, I thought to myself “Ding Dong” until recently, a very lazy me, took the car to a hand car wash – only for them to break one of my light guards and not assume any liability for the damage. Charlie may agree with me here, when I say it does get very tempting to order a few other parts for the car while on the phone to Land Rover. £250 lighter I ordered a few other bit and bobs including a new fuel filler cap (common problem of the little restraining rubber perishing over time) and the car now is restored back to full health.

Also, my MPG figure has dropped drastically from the 27 mpg I averaged across 10,000 miles in the Jaguar to the slightly worrying 15.7 mpg I achieved on my recent 100 mile journey through the countryside. Anyway, that is enough of a rant about my two cars; do not even get me started on the others.

Will keep you guys updated!

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3 responses to “Sunday Column: An Introduction – Ram Kanadia

  1. Excellent! Jag XJ is the first car to end all first cars. Had I tried something similar as a 17 year old I would have almost certainly been broke in no time, and even now I’d struggle to own an XJ thanks to our wonderful fuel prices…

  2. Jay,

    My apologies for the late reply – I thank you for taking the time to air your opinions on the article and would appreciate feedback from others. I am hoping to get an exclusive feature on a very special Rally car from a private collection, in the next few weeks that I am sure you will really appreciate.

    Thanks again,

    Ram Kanadia

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