Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I know, I know, it's not a scooter...

I'm so used to riding budget motorbikes and driving cars that cost less than $30,000 new. The closest I've ever come to driving a luxury car was in my youth when my parents had big ungainly Buicks. I learned to drive on a 1984 Buick Regal Limited. It was a luxury car of sorts, and my Dad bought it used. I never realized until now that those Buicks had nothing on real luxury cars.

I've always wanted a Jaguar, but I never thought I'd actually own one. I was told; "They're too expensive," "you'll never afford the insurance, nevermind the repairs." and so on.

But then I kept seeing S-Type Jaguars with insanely low price stickers on the windows all up and down Manheim Pike. So, I started doing some research. I found out that the S-Type is powered by a Ford engine and is relatively reliable. Due to various factors, the resale value of Jaguars is relatively low, despite the reliability of many of the Ford era models. To fill in the blanks there, Ford owned Jaguar between 1990 and 2008. They used Ford powertrains in many of the Jaguar models they built during that time, which was a good thing for the American market as most powertrain parts are readily available from Ford.

Parts outside the powertrain, such as power window parts, elements of the suspension, etc., well, those are available through Jaguar, and as I discovered while waiting for the dealer to fix the window retractor before final pickup of the vehicle, that can be a bit of a pain. But, all that aside; It's a Jaguar, someone else already paid off the depreciation, and it was about the same price as a used 2011 Toyota Yaris 3 door hatchback...

It is beautiful to behold. That front end styling reminds me of the Mark 2 jags of the 50's. The European luxury car looks are something you just can't get from an American car. Yes, some Buicks look vaguely similar, but they only mimic the styling without truly capturing it.

...and it handles like a dream. Those Buicks my parents owned, sure they were comfortable, sure they had some nice features,! There is no comparison. My wife and I went for a drive this morning to take care of a few errands, and took the long way home. The jag accelerates like no car I have ever driven, and it corners like a dream. Then there's the fuel economy, which is amazing for a V-6.

Let's not forget the interior. The wood and leather show some age, but not enough to truly diminish their beauty. While buzzing down the highway or on side roads just tooling around, the interior  makes the ride so enjoyable that the normal stresses of driving don't seem to exist.

All this in a vehicle for which someone else paid more than $50,000. So yes, luxury can be had on the cheap. There are some trade-offs such as little bits broken off here or there in the interior, and a scratch here or there on the exterior, but if you do your research, and shop a bit, you might find a treasure in someone else's castoffs.


kz1000st said...

My only advice to you Paul is keep up on your maintenance schedule. Find a good mechanic and have him get familiar with the car. I used to do my own car work and had to ditch them about every three years. Now I pay people to work on them and they run much better and last much longer. European cars aren't like American models. Things like fuel filters and electronic items require more stringent scheduled replacement and maintenance than US models.

Paul said...

I do have a good mechanic and I opted for a 3 year powertrain warantee as well. It's likely with my deteriorating health that I won't be able to do any of the maintenance myself anymore.

Thanks for the suggestions. :D