Friday, October 26, 2012

Owning a Jaguar XJR is a stupid idea, no matter how cheap the insurance

THE woman from Confused sounded a bit, well, confused. When would I be interested in taking up insurance on a supercharged V8 Jaguar?

It's very nearly November, which in the Life On Cars household means enduring the expensive ordeal of insuring both a £300 Rover and a Mazda MX-5 at roughly the same time. With each year of driving around and not claiming for the cost of a crumpled heap of metal in a hedge my insurance has got a little bit cheaper, but I'm still paying more the cost of a year's insurance for the ancient Rover than the cost of the car itself.
Slightly depressed by that realisation, I turned to that opium of car enthusiasts, eBay, and immediately came up with a far more suitable banger. All 3.2 litres of a Jaguar XJ8, and mine for £750. I very nearly headed for the Buy It Now button, but then I clocked the wheelarch rot and a service history with more gaps than a jeans shop. So I moved on to the next offering.

Big mistake - I'd found a tidy T-reg Jaguar XJR, which back in the day would have set golfers back a cool £51,000 but was here, in the great Arthur Daley forecourt of cyberspace, for £1,750. True, it had 124,000 miles on the clock but it looked to be in good nick, and the thought of having 370bhp at my leather-lined, wood-trimmed disposal seemed tempting enough to look past the prospect of getting less than 20 to the gallon. It is, Jag people will know, a fabulous car; refined and graceful enough to wear the Big Cat badge with pride, but blessed with a 4.0 litre V8, beefy alloy wheels and sports trim and suspension for added zestfulness. Petrolhead heaven, basically.

Drunk with delight, I idiotically went to an insurance comparision website to find out how much it'd cost a twentysomething male working in journalism - which in insurance terms is about as dangerous a profession as they come - to make sure it was beyond my aspirations of automotive avarice. It wasn't. Someone as hamfisted as me could insure Coventry's finest, fully comp, for a shade over a grand, which unlike the Rover is less than the car itself cost.

I woke up the following morning and knocked the idea on the head, having realised in the cold light of day that having a supercharged Jag outside the house would be a stupid, expensive idea.

The only problem is, the insurance companies keep ringing me up now and suggesting otherwise!

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article included a picture of the special edition XJR 100 rather than the standard XJR. This has since been amended.

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