In 2008 I was on the lookout for a small and affordable project to restore over the next couple of years and use as my first car. On Halloween 2008 I was hanging around with a mate (talking about cars obviously) until I was interrupted by my Mum calling me in. At this point I thought I’d done something wrong again and was about to get a bollocking, she called me over to her computer and imagine my excitement when she showed me that she had won a gorgeous 1988 Jaguar Sovereign for me on eBay! I’d dreamed of owning a Jaguar from a fairly young age back when I lived in Poland where Jaguars are a very rare sight, but never thought I would be able to get my hands on one. Certainly not at the young age I got mine at. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with Oliver!
The Ultimate first car? Wafting included.
A couple of hours later I rang the owner and arranged pick-up the same evening. There was however, one problem – the Jag was a non-runner – so we would end up having to drag it 40 miles home on a rope; if only we had a suitable tow car! After covering a whole 5 miles we decided that Mum’s 1.6 Volvo V40 wasn’t powerful enough to cover the rest of the journey safely. We left the Jag overnight at an ASDA car park and came back the next day in Dad’s slightly more powerful diesel. On Saturday November 1st 2008 the Jag came home, and after sitting on the driveway for a week was towed to my ‘mates rates’ mechanic and came back fully working the following weekend!
One of the rarer sights on British roads
The Jag then spent most of the winter sat in the garage and came out in May but failed its MoT on rust! The old beast needed some welding to the outer sills and on the floor to inner sill join – all taken care of by my ‘mates rates’ mechanic; for a very reasonable £250. The Jag was, then, mainly used by my Dad on his 5-mile commute to work. Throughout the year the Jag spent on the road; nothing went wrong!
The Jaguar post-MOT: Looking good for a 23 year old.
The only breakdown was when my Dad accidentally filled it with diesel (it was designed for bigger leaded pump nozzles so a diesel nozzle fitted the tank hole), and once when the Jag, on an icy trip to the shops, ended up in a field – the car had to be lifted out but luckily there was no damage to any part of it. In the summer of 2010 we drove the Jag on holiday to Plymouth and all that went wrong was a blown fuse and a failed air-flow meter on the way home.
British and trouble free motoring? Close enough.
Over the year that we had Oliver on the road we only managed to attend two car shows – a local Drive It Day event & a local airshow. Through both of these events however, people showed a lot of interest in Oliver and were amazed to see a young lad so enthusiastic about an older car.
After this, the Jag was taken off the road because it was starting to look untidy on the body. It has sat on the driveway since, and the process of bringing it back to former glory has been fairly slow; but hopefully it’ll be going into the bodyshop around March 2012 and be back on the road in time for the summer.
The comfort of leather seats and a straight six upfront
Just recently Oliver started running very rough making clouds of white smoke. This led me to think that the HG had failed. I spent a couple of months getting the cylinder head off and found the HG had literally fallen apart; presumably due to old age. I had a friend’s dad help me lift the head off the block, undo a couple of seized nuts, and later put the head back onto the block. It was a big learning curve for me and I’ve certainly gained more mechanical skills and patience after completing this job.
Straight six post being re-built