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Jaaaaaag XJ40: Game Over - Death by Alfa Romeo


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I hopped on a train this afternoon for no particular reason to look at a Jag. I departed having chipped £300 off the price and said I'll have to think about it. Anyway I've since said I'll have it and will collect on Saturday. Sneak peak photo below. So its a G-reg Jag XJ40 (it's as old as me!). Just like the old X300 I had it's the 4.0 litre. Ideally it would be a X300 4.0 Sport, but the right one was illusive and this XJ40 was close by. At one point I nearly went for an X350, but it sold before I got to it. This is a SWB Sovereign. Very rakish. Compared to the X300 it's definitely a step more old fashioned, definitely feels like crossing into classic car territory.

The reason I walked away from it initially is twofold. I'm now mature enough not to jump into things. Second, there was a slightly worrying amount of white gunk under the oil filler cap and all down the oil filler neck and a very brief timing chain clatter on startup. Doing my homework says the mayo is not the headgasket, but a lack of use. The timing chain tensioner is something I'm going to risk living with, many just seem to live with it without further trouble. That said it does seem to run very nicely on the test drive and all the needles point in the right direction on the dash.

The main reason I bought it was the lack of rust. Cosmetically it is rough inside and out, but that is mainly dirt. Unfortunately the former owner had strange taste and put hideous stickers and badges all over the shop. It looks like a UKIP councillor's car at the moment with a bonus England sticker on top of the engine for extra giggles, but it can be recued. Now back to the rust situation. The sills are perfect and there is no rust that I can see on the wheelarches and front wings, or anywhere on the body for that matter. Considering its 28 years old I think we might be winning here. Also it's passed the last 10 or so MOTs first time and rust has not entered the equation.

I have a couple of days to sort out insurance. I'm already insuring a Dagenham wheeliebin, so I'm thinking classic insurance. Never done it before, but the policies seem very flexible with commuting and travel abroad allowed. Any recommendations/experience? Does a classic car policy mess with your no claims on concurrent policies?


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If you join the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, you get a decent discount with Footman James.

The membership is £40 but from memory the discount with FJ was worth £80 when I insure my XJ40. I think I was paying £120 a year for 8k miles including commuting use and a month or so European cover.

That was with a reasonable postcode but left in public parking.


It wont interfere with your "regular" policy.




EDIT - to clarify I joined the JEC specifically because the membership was outweighed by the discount with FJ. They send you a nice magazine each month and a welcome pack, but it wasn't really my thing. The discussion forum etc set the standard for "one make forum" nonsense.

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If you join the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, you get a decent discount with Footman James.

The membership is £40 but from memory the discount with FJ was worth £80 when I insure my XJ40. I think I was paying £120 a year for 8k miles including commuting use. With a reasonable postcode but left in public parking.


It wont interfere with your "regular" policy.

Footman James asked for £500, which was a bit of a shocker. Currently the best I got off a comparison site for classic policies was £297 with Lancaster. 5k miles a year and allows for commuting and EU cover and parked on the drive at a reasonable postcode. I saw someone recommend Lynbrook, but that will have to be on the phone tomorrow.

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Footman James asked for £500, which was a bit of a shocker. Currently the best I got off a comparison site for classic policies was £297 with Lancaster. 5k miles a year and allows for commuting and EU cover and parked on the drive at a reasonable postcode. I saw someone recommend Lynbrook, but that will have to be on the phone tomorrow.


Go directly on the sites and get a quote, or phone up. Don't rely o the comparison sites.

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A lovely car and so much nicer than an X300.


What is that  just under the leaper? The poor old thing hasn't lost its false teeth has it?



Rust is the main killer of XJ40s. A rust free one is a good find. The mayonnaise in the oil filler tube is likely to be caused by short runs in cold weather. "They all do that, Sir," when used in that way. The start-up timing chain rattle is generally a weak upper tensioner. Again, not a rare problem. It is worth fixing if you are keeping it long-term but I haven't heard of one that has failed catastrophically - just got a bit noisy. The AJ6 is one of the toughest engines fitted to any car.

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@Nyphur It was actually Footman James direct who gave the quote for £500. Prices were lower on the comparison site, but I use that as a starting point and won't rely on it.


No chrome wheelarches of excellence for me unfortunately. No the modifications are far more subtle*. We have fake wood decking stuck on top of the front armrest with a chrome J for extra class. We also have a polished ally gearknob probably nicked out of some teenagers 1.0 Corsa. I genuinely have no idea what the thing in front of the leaper is. I think it got it's teeth knocked out in a fight or something. I'm annoyed about having the leaper again. It will have to go this time, but I know that will leave me with two holes in the bonnet.

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FJ are usually pretty good. It will be the commuting element that will bump it up I expect. If you don't need to drive it in connection with work try taking that out of the quote. If you are parking off-road or in a garage that will reduce further. You could get a banger for commuting work?

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Try Peter S Taylor. You'll have to phone up, but then I've found that phoning up is essential to get a half decent classic quote from anyone. Great service and they're good on price too.

Club membership helps. Most insurers will offer a discount.

Oh, and I should probably say give Hagerty a go too.

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Your leaping cat looks like it's puked.


I'm afraid I have to agree, I came to the same conclusion when I saw those pictures.  It doesn't stop me being a bit jealous, mind, and also means I'm again missing the shambolic XJ40 I sold to Nyphur.  That was a 4.0 too and almost completely rust-free on the bodywork despite the state of the paintwork, the engine was an absolute gem as well.  

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For old time's sake ;)




Dislike because it is no longer outside my house ruining my life.  I have never missed a car so much, although rose-tinted spectacles help considerably.


Thread derailment but whatever happened to it?  I remember your buyer was going to put nitrous in it.  It's vanished off the MOT and tax history sites so presumably is on a personal plate again - MOT histories stay online post-scrapping so I don't think it's been crushed (and why on earth would someone do that to it!) - fingers crossed it is enjoying some care and attention.  

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It vanished off the sites within a week of me selling it, so I presume that yes it went straight on a personal plate.


The guy told me he was planning on using it as his daily, but also putting nitrous on it for dragging as you say. I can't remember how I found it, but I saw a listing of his for a Granada which he was selling as a rolling shell, which he'd been using for drag racing, but had since removed some monster engine, box and diff from - so its possible the Jag could have been chopped about to have the new drivetrain fit into it.


Honestly though he seemed absolutely made up with the car and how it drove/went, so I reckon its just on a private plate, possibly with/without N2O.

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Annoyingly there is now a rather amazing looking XJR X300 on Autotrader for £1200. It's miles from me (Slough). Someone here ought to go look at it. Had it been there yesterday I might have had a go, but it would certainly have ruined my life. @dollywobbler I gave Haggerty a go, very pleasant staff, but they wont insure under 30 year olds. I've got the insurance down to £243 with Lynbrook sans commuting, which isn't bad. Still waiting for Peter S. Taylor to call back with their price.


The bulkhead was the first thing I looked at. I still remember DW's Daimler videos so I was looking particularly around the windscreen and bulkhead area, especially for delamination at the bottom of the screen which seemed to be one of that Daimler's many problems. Of course you could have something bad somewhere under the scuttle, but there is always some risk to be taken. I'm hoping it's already done the worst of its rotting, the front inner wings have been welded in the past, but are solid now. I'm going to pick up a good quality wiper blade for the drive home in case it rains. The current one just spreads water across the screen instead of clearing it. Gotta love rakish single wiper action!


Here are some more photos taken from the advert.





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