What do you consider a terminal failure?

When I first got into the XJ game 20+ years ago, there were plenty of SIII cars that were just used cars - they needed some TLC, but were otherwise reasonably solid. The conventional wisdom back then when car shopping was to hold out for a good example.

We’re now at a point where the youngest US market XJ is over 30 years old. Many more have now been sent to the scrapyard, and the those still out there have that much more aging and wear and tear. Unless you are buying from the kind of person who frequents this site, those aforementioned good examples are becoming more rare.

I’ve recently been pondering the questions below, and thought it would be interesting to get the thoughts of everyone. There are no “correct” answers, and everyone has their own skill sets, finances, pain tolerance, etc.

  • When looking at an XJ for sale, what are your dealbreakers? It might be combination of issues, rather than a single problem.

  • When owning an XJ, at what point do you part it out or call the scrapyard? Same as above, in that it may be a combination of issues, rather than a single failure.

  • If you’ve been in this group for a while, how has you above criteria changed over the years? Do you find yourself considering or doing major repairs that you wouldn’t have done before, because you could simply find a better example?

Yeah, I’d like to hear answers on that. Seems to me when you’re not willing to actually drive it, it’s too rusty/ugly and possibly even unsafe, and putting it right is simply not worth it. But I’ve seen rustbuckets sit in people’s carports for decades after they ceased to be viable as transportation, so clearly others have different criteria.

Personally, when I recovered my father’s one that had stopped in the garage for thirty years and with a few km, I first considered the rust then the interior and the engine: everything was ok and therefore I have been using it frequently for about three years; if I had found rust through engine blocked interior to be redone it probably would have ended up in the demolition also because it was not as much loved by my father

By now, it’s hard to fix rust/ paint and interiors that have seen it all, with lots of small items worn or repaired so it will never be worth getting right.
If the AC is not functioning correctly or the engine has exploded it depends on time, skills and what it’s offered for. If you don’t do that yourself it is a deal breaker.

I am now less worried about mechanicals and more so about the details and the paint since with good help I feel up to doing almost everything but metalwork. As Carlo says it depends on the history too, and you can’t see some things like engine internals. If it runs and drives well, parts work and it’s not smelly inside it is worth a few thousand more than if it doesn’t.


unlike other cars XJ Jaguars have combined the properties of limited, but expensive failure and a faint hope of rising values which, together, have made many specimen survive in garages, barns or backyards. Given our humidity averages in Middle Europe, even a low mileage example will in all likelihood have deteriorated in a way only a MIG artist can resurrect it. The good thing is that there are still quite a lot of decent original used parts around, as these cars now tend to get parted out.

That being said, good and rust free cars are not plentiful and command a serious premium in the meantime if a buyer appreciates the car enough to spend it.

Talking about myself I like to drive a car and don’t have the time to do a full 1000 hours restoration myself nor the money to pay for it. So I wouldn’t even think about a basket case in serious need of the full monty. With only less than perfect cars around I’d first forgive lack of showtime qualities (paint job, chrome, sad interior), as most parts can be chased down on ebay or from parts dismantlers and straightforward exchanges are satisfying Sat afternoon jobs.

Rust beyond bolted-on panels (front wings, rear quarter panels, front cross members) or flat surfaces would be a deal killer as would be non-driveability at the time of purchase. If you get into a car, tune the carbs, check liquids and hoses and just drive her home you get a wonderful chance to assess what’s wrong and what you want to do about it. No chance with a non-runner.

Mechanical issues are a question of patience and time available.

The longer I think of it I think I’d walk away from any car below a serious 2-, original and with documented history (while I would not talk anyone with time at their hands out of buying a running - or in David’s case a non-running - 3-4 car). BTW, I’d grade my own car 3+, but have had a chance to learn about its weak and strong points over 13 years now.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

1 Like

I will give you my story for my 1978 XJ6 series 2.
I’m seriously thinking of selling my 78, due to her passing
this September and I still have my X type.

We both liked our XJ since it was new, we lived in New Mexico
since 1970, so for one thing the car has no rust anywhere with
a very good paint job.
Mechanically the car is in excellent shape, with electronic
ignition. All my workmanship is documented.
The power steering was replaced with a new unit.
The fuel injection is in very good shape. All the hoses are good.
So on and on .
My wife and I enjoyed driving it into the mountains to go skying.

So sorry to hear about this, Walter! - You mentioned you were about to sell your car, but never mentioned why … so sad! In a similar situation Carl kept their car for the fond memories attached.

Only last Friday we buried my brother-in-law. He was a wonderful guy and would have deserved many more happy and good years. Destiny has little to do with justice. His passing away is as hard on his wife and daughters as can be, but seeing his mourning mother just made me cringe. Just a few weeks ago we heard a similar tragedy from our own mates on this forum.

Just let us know if talking fuel over the internet is giving you any kind of relief! Keep the faith


1 Like

Though part of life’s circle, death can be so tough.

Walter, my most sincere condolences.

My sincere condolences as well.

For a true terminal failure, or should have been, google “rustbucket xjc restoration anjum”
It’s still progressing though I haven’t posted any updates for a long time as a sad passing in my family made me lose interest for a couple of years.

I’m fortunate that I have always been able to buy good examples,of my Jaguars especially rust free here in Oz. I have four and don’t intend parting with them anytime soon as they are all rust free and I love them all.

The thing for me has always been a good rust free body. We don’t get the horrendous decay that the northern hemisphere suffers. The mechanicals should be the least of your worries because getting significant rust repaired properly will cost you a fortune- you get what you pay for at a Panel Shop.

I have the advantage that I can properly repair the common rust problems here- sills, door bottoms, front and rear aprons, floors etc having gone to a Technical College to learn panel body work and painting.

So I rate the body and the interior condition as prerequisites to buy a Jaguar.

If a car is a rare example such as a very early production run or a prototype and had a famous owner then that’s different.

My 20 cents worth


1 Like

Coming in a bit late without much more to offer but, you know me, in love with the sound of my own voice :smile:

Personally I wouldn’t let any mechanical issue be a dealbreaker. Most mechanical stuff is straight forward on these cars with reasonable parts costs… and lots of good used stuff out there, too.

Lousy cosmetics would be a dealbreaker. Rust repair, paint, leather, chrome…all very expensive and not in my skill set

I don’t think much has changed at all except that 20 years ago good examples were easier to find. One thing has certainly changed though. Twenty years ago there were still quite a few of these cars in daily use. Nowadays, not so much



I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about a similar post.
For me, I came to Jag-Lovers almost 16 years ago. At the time I had never even changed the oil in a car, much less thought about anything further than that. Now I’m at a point where I know the nuts and bolts of these cars. If I had to guess how many I’ve taken apart, I think a conservative guess would be about 60.
A lot has changed in those 16 years. There were so many of the Series 3 in junk yards I could say that I would always have a part on hand, because if I didn’t, I’d just go next door and grab it. Not the case now… But even with that, there have been a handful of cars that were so special I knew they had to be saved rather than parted.
To answer your question, from dealing with Series 3 owners for years, I think a lot of it comes down to location and emotional attachment. I’ve seen a lot of US cars that were parted for things that would have never been considered in the UK.
Personally for me, the decision to part or not would come down to body work. I don’t know it or do it, and know that a big price tag comes along with it. And I’ve seen too many cars that look pretty good have a lot of hidden issues when you start taking a few things off…
Either way, I think the Series 3 is slowly starting to rise in value when it comes to the really solid ones. I’m still seeing a few guys doing some extensive work to save them, but mainly as a labour of love…

1 Like

I extend deepest condolences. Live the memories.

Aye, as Jochen says, indeed, i kept Ellen’s Jaguar. She liked it immensely…


1 Like

I was going to ask you to chime in David, so I’m glad you did. On the cars you have decided to keep intact, was there any one thing that brought you to that decision, or just the sum total of the car?

Remember @teddykan and his pile of Rust? Very brave guy.
Wonder what happened…

Ill have a punch at this. you have asked more than one question. so the first and short answer is based around. you can fix any thing mechanically but you can never fix a body to original! so good body then its just a question of time and money. Being a rather handy sort of bloke with an engineering/mechanical background ( its what I do) so nothing mechanical daunts me. but a rusty body. now there is no way to really repair that. Having written that I have med a few Landover s1 firewalls. I’m not adverse to a few upgrades. if a latter model or aftermarket brakes are more suitable for modern driving, then do it and bugger the wingers. but dropping in a chev V8 is not an update, worse that XJ stuff is still available, just my 10c

Twas at least two piles, one XJ6 and one XJS. Each quite crusty. And, It was about the last post that described the delivery of more to add to the pride.

I hope he is OK!!


Oh, there definitely is, but it takes a buttload of hard work, specialized tools, and massive time.

Witness some of the cars Classic Jaguar has rebuilt, or the E fellow lister, @69Cat is currently doing.

so true. i have seen ww2 aircraft pulled out of a brackish swap, all they salvaged was the ID plate. and she is flying again. i saw in NZ many years ago, E types being dragged in from the USA. new panels being pressed. converted to rag tops or from rag tops to hard tops, and then exported to the UK. so yes i guess any thing is possible. not my game though

Really it’s rust which is the killer. For me the body has to be good , though paintwork not so important. And it must drive because I want to use it from day one. Then it’s a rolling refurbishment to improve

Lets all look out in a few years for a beachem XJ. It’s only a matter of time. Let’s face it, an XJ i s a better starting point than a MkII.