Like a maturing cask of Talisker, the 21 year old XJS has had to weather the elements of a highland winter, waiting for the day it can roll again. The garage in which it is normally parked is packed full of building materials so, for the first time in over ten years, it has spent the wet and wild months out in the open.
In the summer months of 2014 it served as my daily driver and had a minor engine tweak in August to resolve an oil leak. Its last outing was a 2000 mile round trip to Birmingham in November for the Classic Car Show, where it was pressed into service, giving passenger rides for charity.
The 4.0 litre straight six is running smoother than ever, with the exception of a curious little fault which even a Jaguar dealership, in Coventry, couldn’t diagnose.
The journey down to Birmingham and back was an effortless waft, once the engine anomaly had gone through its little ritual
About ten minutes into every journey there is a subtle dip in performance – enough to cut the engine if the car is idling – lasting for about two or three seconds. This slight hesitation is followed by a noticeable kick as performance returns to normal and the Engine Management warning light illuminates.
From that point on, the Jag runs beautifully. Even the journey down to Birmingham and back was an effortless waft, once the engine anomaly had gone through its little ritual. A small strip of black insulation tape on the dashboard hides the bright orange warning light which remains illuminated until the engine is turned off.
Something tells me the fault lies with the automatic ‘choke’ system but, these days, no one can do anything without the right diagnostic equipment.
I had hoped 2015 would be all about the paintwork as some scuffs and paint chips – on the car when I bought it – are due some attention. But this engine fault might prove to be more troublesome and, to me, is more important.
At 62,300 miles, the XJS is still in fine fettle but I suspect it’ll not get as much use in 2015 as I’d like. Hopefully, I’ll find some indoor storage for it by the end of the year as the all-steel grand tourer will not take kindly to another highland winter.