Recent Purchase: 2005 Jaguar XKE Convertible

Although I had originally planned on purchasing a Porsche 996, which could not be more different from my ultimate purchase, for primarily financial reasons I decided to test drive a 2005 Jag XKE at the same dealership (a corrupt milieu in which I don't normally like to do business). I had long ben an admirer of the undeniably gorgeous XKE, particularly the AJ34 variant with the excellent 4.2 engine that had replaced the 4.0 in the bay at launch. Certainly I would still like a 911, and if funds allow I would opt for a 996 Turbo, which I'm certain is still one of the best bargains out there. I mean, sure, I'd buy 993 Turbos all day long if I had 200k to spend on that iteration; but in terms of bang for buck, the 996 Turbo is unparalleled. But I digress. Knowing that I wouldn't be going home with the 996, I decided to take a crack at the XKE, and crack it was indeed. I was instantly hooked. I couldn't drive the car enough. I couldn't look at its wonderful lines enough, elegant lines that harken back to the E-Type exponentially more than the XJS before it, whose aesthetics I had never been crazy about and therefore had never seriously pursued the model. The only Jag on my radar prior had been the X100 XJR, the last XJR to in fact look like a proper XJ; the 1998-2003 variants are utterly gorgeous, so much so that I was blind to the XKE of that same vintage. Thank goodness I finally took notice, and subjecting myself to the standard sadomasochistic dealership experience (I had traded in a 1986 Mercedes 560SL, whose values have spiked in spectacular fashion over the past decade; however, my SL had often been a 4th car and was unfairly neglected; it looked rather stunning in champagne with beige leather, but frankly it needed close to 10k in maintenance to bring up to snuff; nevertheless, the dealership is asking 15k for my paltry 5k trade-in value, but the hard top couldn't even be removed because the cranking mechanism needs recalibration--add to that an HVAC overhaul, at least 3 oil leaks, including RMS, need for water pump, wheel bearings, new steering rack...and the list goes on; don't get me wrong, it was still low-ball for an aesthetically sharp, driver-caliber SL, but to bring that baby up to snuff, to bring it up to a condition as immaculate as that of the 2005 XKE, I really didn't do too bad). Digression, wow, that's no doubt my motif for the day, so I will get back to the XKE experience thus far. I have yet to recover the build sheet, so to speak, which I typically do with all the pre-owned collectibles (future and bona-fide) and exotics, although I did not do it in this case. That said, the exterior color is this lovely slate metallic blue sort of hue, the interior leather a somehow incredibly well-kept oatmeal. The 996 would have been a departure from my history of GT ownership, the XKE of course firmly falling into that category, yet I was up for the challenge of a manual tranny daily driver despite my concerns about the shifting becoming tiresome in slow or, worse still, gridlock traffic situations. So really ending up with the XKE was about as close to fate as I'll allow myself to believe. It has been an absolute pleasure to drive and whether "sport mode" is placebo or a "thing" as the kids say, it is absolute bliss to engage sport mode and fly top-down up my road of choice, especially at night, the cool spring air flowing through my quasi-pompadour hair (make fun if you like, but I'd admit to rocking a mullet just the same, as I'm endlessly grateful for having a full, thick head of hair at 45). I would certainly like to experience the visceral excitement of driving an XKR and its additional 100hp and lb-ft and its whirling supercharger at speed. And appealing as that sounds--and just as likely as ending up with an example given my history of going all in when I become obsessed with a particular marque--I like the idea of having a naturally aspirated power plant with nearly 300hp and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, figures that are def nothing to sneeze at. My concern is that the noise of the supercharger, as aurally rewarding as it may be, would interfere with that wonderful 4.2 V8 finally coming to life at speed, and "at speed" in terms of 90mph+. What I will likely end up doing is an installation of the Mina Gallery cold air intake, tube, and muffler delete exhaust system and those big robust and aggressive round tips that are an option among 3 styles of exhaust tips. That sounds just about perfect, actually. In the meantime, I'm going to continue piling on to the mere 89k miles that were on the beast when I drove off the lot.

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