Pondering an x150 to replace my VDP

I’m expecting to hear from my insurer that my ‘06 Radiance Pearl VDP was totaled by a falling tree. I’m pondering the switch from big sedans to an XK ragtop. I’m here looking for a little guidance on things to watch for in a purchase and understand about its weak spots. I am primarily interested in models with the 4.2 engine, and years ‘04-09, but willing to look at ‘97-03. I realize there’s a separate list for the ‘06-upwards and will post this there as well.

I am aware of the timing chain issue on the 4.0, nikasil, green rain, and the fact a “sealed for life” ZF HP26 transmission really needs to have fluid/filter replaced at 60K. Are there any other real biggies out there me or my mechanic should be looking for? Is the supercharger reliable over an extended period were I to get an R? Is the early cup holder design easily repairable/replaceable?

My personal desires in the way of equipment on the car are Bluetooth (it can pipe phone calls into my hearing aids); and a 6-CD changer. A heated steering wheel would be nice. I know Jag navigation is a joke and I just use my phone anyway. Are there other creature comforts a 70-year-old might like? Is it possible even over short distances to place a small adult turned mostly sideways in what otherwise might be the grocery bag back “alleged” seating area?

I thank everyone in advance for their willingness to offer advice.

Eliot Brenner
Annandale, Va.

I replaced my 1995 XJ6 with a 2007 XK while in a late 60s mid-life crisis. Although the XK is a gorgeous looking car I think I made a mistake. The XK gives a much harsher ride than the XJ6, because of this I am looking to replace my XK’s 19 inch wheels with the base 18 inch wheels in an attempt to improve the ride. Also the XK is not very practical, I can’t get our dog or a passenger in the back seat and can’t carry much luggage. Performance wise the XJ6 was just as much fun as the XK for anything but driving on a race track. Going from a VDP to an X150 XK is going to be a significant change and I would not suggest long multi-hour trips in an X150 XK. I have had no significant mechanical issues with my 2007 XK but the radio’s whip antenna is a bit old school, it was eliminated in 2008.

Thanks for chiming in to my query about switching from the XJ line over to the XK line. I had the same issues you are experiencing with the XK. I concluded it really didn’t meet my needs, and too boot I didn’t like the frame flexing and the road noise.

I ultimately decided to stay with the XJ series. I was unable to find an ‘06-09 VDP that had reasonable mileage and some assurance the transmission had been serviced. I was seeing far too many black-on-black ones. All of a sudden, up popped an ‘03 X308 with just under 30k miles on it about two hours from my home the weekend after I missed out on a ‘97 VDP by dawdling. It’s quartz grey on the outside, “warm charcoal inside.” Windows have a slight tint so that really really helps counter the fact there’s no supplemental AC unit in back as my ‘06 had.

I’m enjoying it. There are a few odds and ends to sort out, including a low-frequency hum that occurs on acceleration over about 50, but nothing I’m too worried about. Frankly, I like the seats better. The wings on the newer seats (‘04-09) were driving me nuts. Only downsides for me are a smaller gas tank and slightly lower mileage due to the weight of the heavier body, so the range is not as good as the X350 I had that was destroyed by a falling tree.

Keep an eye out. Maybe you’ll find the X350 that eluded me. Mechanically I thought they were exceptional.

Good choice, the ’03 X308 XJ8 has the V8 timing chain and nikasil bugs ironed out, and the car, in my opinion, looks better than all of the following saloons. My ’95 X300 XJ6 was a sort of transition model, it had the new X308 body style but retained the in-line 6 because the V8 was not ready for production. For 1995 Ford reworked the in-line 6 engine putting in coil-packs and other features which made it the best in-line 6 engine ever put in a Jaguar. Mine was sage green with oatmeal interior and tinted windows. It got many admiring comments, I still miss it.

I loved that 4.0 straight six. Bullet proof and good mileage. I had it in the BRG ‘97 X300L that preceded my Radiance Pearl X350 VDP. It was the 300L that sold me on the pleasure of driving the LWB vehicles. When the X300L got too tired to run well under my poor mechanical skills, I sent it to live at Peter Crespin’s (editor of the JCNA magazine) who lives nearby. He put it back in fine order and drove it for several more years.