My Black Beauty
April 16, 2017
I bought my 2003 black on black jaguar XK8 roadster in Detroit three years ago and imported it into Canada. It now has 77,000 miles on it. Actually, my wife bought it for me. Got a love a woman with taste like that!
I love this car. One of my Dad's friends had an XKE in the late 1960s, and there just was no other car on the road that was as beautiful as that one. Before this car, I had a BMW Z3 roadster and it was a great peppy little vehicle, but cramped and difficult to get into for my 60+ arthritic frame. So I sold it and started looking for something a little bit bigger. I actually started looking for an old E-type, but they are hard to come by, tough to maintain and tough to get into.
My XK8 is a gorgeous vehicle, it's shape totally evocative and maybe even more balanced than the E-type it emulates, easy to get in and out of, as spacious as one could ask for in a vehicle that is essentially a two seater (only room for the doggie in the backseat and that's a squeeze!), with that beautiful burled walnut dashboard, the great Mercedes J shifter, comfortable leather seats, lots of legroom and the view over that long powerful hood of the road ahead with that purring 4.2 L V8 underneath. The trunk is spacious, with enough room for my briefcases, clubs, and weekend clothing for the trip to the cottage on Lake Huron all summer long. My wife and I have taken several weekend trips with this vehicle and it is exceptionally comfortable for long drives and has more than ample room in the trunk for everything one needs.
I acknowledge that the XK8 doesn't have quite the same power as the XKR, but it has more than enough for me, still growls off the line and leaves everyone else behind, provides the exhilaration I want in a summer car, and to my taste is more refined and elegant than the higher horsepower XKR
I drive my Mercedes in the winter, and the Black Beauty sleeps, but I just got it out two weeks ago and once again felt like I was 25 years of age. I drive it all summer long and without fail, at least twice a week, somebody is going to look over as I go by and yell "Nice car!" It's a real head-turner.
I had a problem with the mass air sensor right after I purchased it, a problem the dealer in Detroit had to have known about, and that was expensive to fix. Happily, Jaguar Canada reimbursed me for that, and I have had no other problems with the vehicle. I had to replace the rubber gaskets around the convertible top which were deteriorating owing to age and the effect of the elements, and this year I'm getting the headrest and the lumbar support motors for the driver seat replaced, again a function of age. And the cigarette lighter fixed so I can charge my iPhone.
I get fabulous service from a Jaguar dealership just outside of Toronto, and they love the car and pamper it as much as I do, and always look forward to its annual service visit. They have also been very good at finding reconditioned used parts when required to cut down on maintenance expenses. Much appreciated.
I drive this car all summer long and love it to pieces. I hope to drive it into my dotage.
One word of caution. Jaguar had significant problems with this model from 1996 until about 2000. There were issues with the nikasil engine and with plastic engine parts, including a plastic motor tensioner chain which was inclined to fail. These problems are all documented online. Those problems were fixed after Ford took over Jaguar in about 2000, and by 2003, this model had reached its zenith with all of the technology and simple improvements Ford had to put into it, cruise control, more reliable electronics, and that wonderful new 4.2 L AJ engine.
So the magic years to look for, in my judgement having done the research, are 2003 to 2005 before they sadly changed the shape of the vehicle in 2006. The new ones are powerful, but they lack the refined elegance of my XK8. I highly recommend this vehicle if you are inclined to look for one. It's a wonderful car!