On May 1, 2002 my 2 years with the XK8 was up. The fact that I sent the car back to the dealership a few days early on a flat bed truck speaks volumes. I was not sorry to see the car go.
Report date: February 1, 2002
These are all questions that have been spinning around in my mind since my ignoble XK8 dumped me at work last weekend. I was absolutely furious! Here's how the events unfolded......
- Could I be any more pissed off with my XK8 right now?
- Am I getting the service I deserve from my local Austin Jaguar dealer?
- How can I get the Jaguar dealer to pay attention?
- Shall I cancel the XKR I have on order?
- Would Jaguar give a shit if I did?
- Wouldn't you think that two new Jaguars and a third on order might encourage the Jaguar service department to return my phone calls promptly?
- What exactly do you get with Royal Charter Service?
- Is the name Classic Ferrari already taken?
- Does the Dodge dealer have a Viper GTS in stock?
After a lonely, hardworking Saturday at the CJ office, I climbed wearily into the offending luxury sportscar, looking forward to my twenty minute drive home. Turning the ignition key fired up the engine - so far so good - but I immediately noticed that something was amiss. The climate control fascia flashed "ERR" and made a sort of "bing, bing, bing" noise. Not good. I then noticed that none of my gauges were working. Also not good. I then realised that even if I was prepared to put up with a non-functioning dash display, the gear selector refused to allow me to engage a gear. This was really not good.
I sat there stunned for a moment or two. I considered ripping the shifter out of the console. I marvelled at the irony which allowed the windows and the convertible top to work perfectly and the engine to purr quietly away in front of me - and yet I was being prevented from selecting a gear by something inside the dash that was making a "bing, bing, bing" noise. If the dash display had been working it would have reminded me that I have only done 11,000 miles in this car.
In a monumental fit of pique, I decided to walk the 14 miles from CJ to my home. I could have called a cab, but frankly wasn't in a stable enough frame of mind to endure the inevitable piss-taking relating to the make of car, its reliability record, "don't you fix Jaguars for a living", etc, etc. I really don't want to go to jail for punching a cab driver to death. You might think that I could have called home and asked Mrs M. to come and pick me up. I did not do that, for two reasons. Firstly, we rarely have the telephone plugged into the wall at home, and secondly, she only had two Jaguars at home to choose from. The chances of her getting one to start seemed slim to me in my temporarily deranged and fragile state.....
Having done no exercise for approximately 20 years, setting off on an extremely hilly 14 mile walk at a moments notice was perhaps not the wisest decision of my life. I could write a book about the events of that journey but for now, suffice it to say, I made it home in one piece. Amazingly enough, after only a couple of miles, Lawrence (of Team CJ Coachworks fame) happened along the road and very kindly offered to take me home. I declined his offer on the basis that I was walking home to teach my Jaguar a lesson. I'm not sure Lawrence ever understands a word I say, so I wasn't surpised when he said "Oh, I see. OK then. See you on Monday". He really is an amazing guy, that Lawrence. In many ways a genius, in others.....well, I digress...
I had decided to walk it and walk it I bloody well would. At about the seven mile mark, John Claydon and his wife stopped and asked if I needed a lift. Judging by the startled look on John's face, I think he would have taken me directly to the looney bin had I made the mistake of getting in his car. No thank you very much, I am quite happy walking....and I continued on my merry way.
Four hours and thirty minutes later, I made it home. It had been an amazing adventure. Being a person of extremes, the very next morning I got up and walked the 14 miles back to the shop......just to prove that I could.
Anyway, back to the plot.........It is now Friday morning and I am waiting at home for the XK8 to be delivered back to me. Apparently the car needed a new dash and someone forgot to expedite the shipping, and it wasn't anyone's fault, and there was nothing the service manager could do about it, and shit happens, and if you're looking for sympathy you'll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, etc, etc, etc.
I may go into more details about my journey at a later date. For now it's probably best I just bottle it all up......
Is there really a three year waiting list for a Ferrari 360 Spider?
Report date: December 23, 2001
I have finally made my decision regarding a replacement for the XK8. I am sure the accountants at Jaguar will be pleased to hear that I have decided not to spend my hard earned cash in Italy or Germany, rather I am 'upgrading' the XK8 to a 2002 XKR Coupe. I have ordered just such a car in the rather menacing looking anthracite and charcoal colour scheme (black/black) with a set of the massive special order 20 inch Detroit two piece alloy wheels.
Although the new XKR obviously costs a great deal of money, it really represents excellent value when compared with other marques competing for your dollar in the same market sector. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it ;-)
Needless to say, I will give you a full report on my XKR the moment it arrives in Austin.
Report date: December 21, 2001
Yesterday evening I was following Justine home - she in the XK8, me in my Dodge Ram truck - when I noticed what I initially thought was a wheel rolling along beside the XK8. In the next dramatic moment I watched the XK8 dive onto the hard shoulder and come to a skidding halt. Pulling in behind the XK8, I was obviously relieved to see that Justine was alright but had suffered a high speed blow out of the right rear tyre.
So far so good. No damage to the driver or the bodywork, and even the alloy rim looked like it had escaped relatively unscathed. This is when the drama started..........
I found my Jaguar tool box hiding underneath the proverbial bicycle wheel spare in the boot. Having worked on the odd Jaguar in the past, you might think that I would be able to handle a simple roadside tyre change fairly efficiently. Not so.....The ratchet scissor jack supplied with my XK8 was locked solid - defective, caput. No amount of ratcheting, reversing the handle, instruction reading or cursing would cause the jack to open up. In the end, I tried the old Apache trick of slamming the jack into the road as hard as possible and voila...it opened. I then used the pathetic contraption to raise the car (barely) a few centimeters off the ground, before the ratcheting mechanism began slipping. Not a good scenario...more cursing.
In an eighty grand car you'd think they'd put something better than a $5.00 jack, wouldn't you? I'm sure most XK8 owners would happily pay $80,050.00 and get a jack that is actually capable of lifting the weight of the bloody car.
Anyhoo....off I set in the truck to buy a floor jack. No such thing at the gas station up the road, never heard of one at the Home Depot, so I drove all the way back to the shop and picked up one of the workshop jacks. After that it was plain sailing: install bicycle wheel, drive home at 45mph, drink large Ketel One vodka followed by a bottle of Merlot and wait for the veins in my neck to shrink down to normal size.
PS. Next day (today) I discovered that the Pirelli P Zero 255/45/18 tyre I need is a special order item. I am now without my car until next Wednesday ;-(
Report date: November 1, 2001
Not much to report with the XK8 with only about 1,200 miles since my last update. The car continues to perform flawlessly and provide great enjoyment.
We carried out an oil change at 10,000 miles and put a couple of pounds in the tyres....and that was all she needed. This has truly been a superb car for me.
My significant other has expressed an interest in the new X Type Jaguar so I am thinking of getting one of those in the next couple of months. For myself, my impatience for the launch of the promised F Type is causing me to look towards Italy....shame on me, I know....
XK8 miles at close of this report - 10,268
Report date: July 29, 2001
Reporting on the performance and reliability of this great car seems almost superfluous. In the month since my last report, I have driven some 730 miles during which time she has not missed a beat. Exhilarating, carefree, roof down motoring at its best. Come to think of it, I haven't had to put the roof up since my last report.
As the burden of my relatively short daily commute is shared with a more mundane (but necessarily utilitarian) Dodge Ram truck, I'd guess I only average about six or seven hundred miles a month in the XK8. The other day I was fiddling with the onboard computer and took note of some of the data. For what its worth, I noticed that my average gas consumption was 17.8 mpg and my average speed was a surprisingly low 36 mph. I suppose this figure could be right as I tend to seek out 'B' roads during my commute and seldom (if ever) take the car on the freeway.
Just writing about this car makes me want to take it out for a drive.
Miles at close of this report - 9,030
Report date: June 26, 2001
This is my daily driver - my company car, if you will. Bought new in May 2000, it has now clocked up 8,300 care free miles. This is one of those cars that encourages you to get up and go to work in the mornings. It really is an absolute pleasure to drive and a beautifully put together automobile. Those that complain that Jaguar 'hasn't been the same since the Ford take-over' have clearly never driven one of these superb motorcars.
I consider this to be the finest car I have ever owned - and a Jaguar to its soul.
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