Big Red Cat.

One of my very bestest WP people asked to see the car mentioned in the Reflection post.

So here she is.

She wasn’t with us for very long but she did get to be a wedding car for a couple of young friends who were saving their pennies.

5.3 litres of pure V12 grunt. Built in 1986 one year after Jaguar stopped making the series Three. The XJ40 that replaced her could not fit the massive V12 engine so they kept on making the Series Threes just for their V12 customers until the XJ40 was updated. The back doors on this model open wider than on previous models to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat [especially in a wedding dress].

She looked magnificent but she had not been well maintained. In short she cost me a lot of money to bring up to scratch.

The air con packed it in on a particularly hot trip back from Adelaide and V12s generate an enormous amount of heat and a lot of it travels under the floor through the exhaust pipes…… it can get unpleasant! The cruise control stopped working on this same trip also.

A couple of days before Christmas I had all of the water hoses replaced [there are a lot of them on a V12]. We got to Ballarat on the way to Adelaide and the Big Cat emptied the contents of her radiator into the carpark at McDonalds. It’s a long ride back to Melbourne on the back of a tow truck. I managed to get the mechanics to repair the brand new burst hose and my son and I tried again. This time we did not get as far as Ballarat. We stopped at a roadhouse to eat and when I put my son behind the wheel he turned the key and engine made a strange noise and dropped a valve.

The cost of rebuilding the engine was close to half of the cost of the car and I had spent a small fortune up till then so I sold it to my mechanic who put a second hand engine in it and sold it to someone else.

A few weeks later I found the Jag I have owned ever since and she has not missed a beat.

I suppose you are wondering why I bought a car with so many expensive faults?

Good question. I know a fair bit about cars so there is really no excuse except that I bought her in haste, which is probably the worst way to buy a car. Also I trusted someone………. don’t say it, I know.

The person who sold her to me also sold my first Jag to me and that had been a very happy event. In my mind I figured that he would work out that if he looked after me I would buy a series of cars from him over time, whereas he was only interested in selling a car.

I was in pain when I bought her having been involved in a high speed freeway accident from which I had not fully recovered. Never buy anything when you are in pain!

It was not all bad, the V12 was an experience to drive. It’s the only car I have ever owned that did not notice if the car was full of people. The gearbox never kicked down because the engine had so much grunt that it didn’t need to.

She was only in my life briefly but she is fondly remembered. Money aside, I loved that car, but all love affairs must end.

BTW she was exactly red, the official name was Cranberry.


6 thoughts on “Big Red Cat.

  1. Ah, now, see they just don’t make ’em like that anymore. How sad! Truly what one would rightfully call a saloon. A damned shame that Jaguar lost the plot on quality control. I still have a hunger to own a Jag but it ain’t likely to happen at this stage of my life. Bummer! Still I can tell people that my mate, Terry, just down the road, has one – and see if that enhances my image! Cheers, mate. David.


  2. Oh wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you! That`s as close as I ever got-and possibly, ever will get-to the inside of my favourite car! Brilliant pics! My compliments to your valet too-he/she/you plainly took a toothbrush to the hubcaps, and the whole car is sparkling inside and out. Cool interior-love that wood(beech?) panelling. LOVE the steering wheel too.
    Yeah “Jaguar-the place to be” 😉
    Thanks, Terry!


    • Glad you enjoyed the shots. I put them up just because you asked.
      The steering wheel and the ‘leaper’ on the bonnet were salvaged from the wreck of my first Jag. If you look very closely you can see a small circular Jag emblem sitting on the small parcel shelf next to my glasses case. My mechanic gave it to me to replace the Momo symbol in the centre of the steering wheel. It’s actually the centre of a Jag mag wheel known as the ‘pepper pot’, same wheels that you see on the car. Only Sovereign’s had them. I had to grind it down very carefully so that it would fit. I still have the steering wheel [I did not sell it with the car] and it is the only thing I have from that original car [my son managed to prize off a badge before it was sent to the wreckers.]
      The car in the photo very nearly got me into a bit of trouble. Coming home one night in the early hours [no alcohol involved] I put my foot down going up the hill known as the ‘mad mile’ [no side streets] the cops were hidden not far up the hill and clocked me at significantly over the speed limit. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was doing twice that. They probably would not have caught up to me despite being in high powered cop cars except that I had to stop for milk at 2am!
      When the policeman asked if I knew how fast I was going I said to myself, yes I do and I’m going to jail. He was a nice copper and when he told me the figure which was half my terminal velocity I had to work hard not to say “You have to be kidding”. As it was I lost my licence for a month, which cured me of wanting to see how fast the red beast would go, ever again. Walking for thirty days tends to focus the mind!
      Most cars have numbers on their speedo that are just there for show, the numbers on a Jaguar speedo are there because she is capable of achieving them, and uphill at that.


I live for comments so..........Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s