After our 1995 Jaguar XJ6 was cleaned and detailed by our good friends from Meguiar’s Philippines at the end of August 2021, we left our now-elegant and shiny Power Wheels Magazine project car at the workshop of JSK Custom Paint and Auto Works in Marulas, Valenzuela City for their technicians to continue retracing and fixing the wires that were chewed on by rats while the car sat abandoned on an open lot at the back of a building in Sucat, Parañaque for more than four years (August 2016 to January 2021). Meanwhile, we got busy with acquiring two new project cars – a 1990 Nissan Cefiro 2.4 GTS-R (A31) in October and a 1978 Toyota Celica XX Supra (A40) in December.
On a Friday, the 10th of December 10, Johnson Tan, the proprietor of JSK, informed us that our Jag is ready to hit the road after he had the LTO registration updated and after his technicians had the car running quite reliably. Johnson advised us to drive the car as often as we can so we can learn what other repairs we have to do to it. In other word, we’re going to drive it to debug it. Needless to say, we got very excited with the prospect of finally being able to drive our British luxury sedan out on the streets of Metro Manila after several long months of waiting and anticipating. Cheery-oh!
Let There Be Light!
Before we drove our Jaguar out the workshop gates, JSK master technicians Erene and Eduardo checked our car one more time. Fortunately for us, it was already dark when we were planning to leave and the duo noticed that the low-beam headlights weren’t working. After some searching, tracing and fiddling, they were able to determine that both low-bean headlight assemblies, which were the outermost headlights, didn’t have a bulb and socket in them. We learned that our car had the first versions of the daytime running lights or DRLs, which had the low-beam headlights turned on every time the car was running. Apparently, the previous owner must have gotten tired of people telling him that “the headlights were left on” and he had the low-beam bulbs and sockets removed from their respective lamp housing.
After they found the wires for the headlights, Erene and Eduardo replaced the low-bean halogen bulb-and-socket in each headlight and then proceeded to test them. Satisfied with the low-beams, they tested the high-beam headlights, the fog lights, and the signal lights / hazard warning lights including the side markers. They pulled out the non-functioning ones, cleaned the contacts, and then reinstalled or replaced the bulbs until all the exterior lights of our Jag were finally working. We had some food delivered to the shop for dinner because they both worked on our car until past 9:00 PM. Now, that’s dedication!
Pride and Prejudice
We drove our project car home quite late that Friday night and found that the suspensions rattles like we have a drummer of a rock-and-roll band drumming inside the car with us. Despite the suspension rattles, we just sat outside at our home garage on Saturday morning just looking at it and quietly thinking to ourselves, “Wow! We have a nice shiny Jaguar X300 sitting in our garage and it’s ours. Who would have thought?!” We still couldn’t believe that we’ve actually pulled it off – rescuing and restoring one as cheaply as we did. We kept joking our friends who warned us about working on an old British luxury car from the ’90s, “How could we go wrong with a P50,000 Jaguar?”
Early Sunday morning (December 12th), we drove off in the Jag to attend two events – the first-ever Distinguished Gentlemen’s Drive (DGD) in the Philippines and the Media Christmas Party/Launch of the all-new MINI Countryman. We got caught in an unusual weekend traffic along EDSA caused by a political candidate’s long motorcade and somewhere after the Cubao/P. Tuason underpass, we felt that Jag’s 4.0-liter twin-cam 24-valve inline-6 AJ16 engine sputtering as if starved of fuel. We stopped at the Petron station before Camp Crame to add several liters of XCS assuming that low fuel level might be causing the engine to sputter. We continued to drive but once we got in front of the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dealership in Greenhills, San Juan, the sputtering got worse. We decided to park in front of the dealership to see what’s wrong with our Jag.
Leave It To The Experts
After we got to park the car properly, we allowed the engine to cool before we tried to see what’s wrong with it. We opened the air cleaner assembly and removed the air filter to check for anything that may obstruct the airflow. Finding none, we checked for any wire that may have gotten loose, which could have triggered our X300’s electronic control unit (ECU) to perform erratically. Finding none, we tried to start the car again but this time, it starts but immediately stalls. It won’t idle anymore. Suddenly, the chorus of an ’80s pop song started playing in my head. “Uh-oh. We’re in trouble! Something’s goin’ down that’ll burst my bubble…”
We realized that there’s no other option but to call an expert. Since it was a Sunday, there were no technicians at the dealership to help us with our stalled XJ6. Luckily, we’re friends with Chris Ward, the expat British president of the JLR Philippines, who has a lengthy experience working with Jaguar cars . (Yup, he’s the same nice Brit who referred us to the heirs of the late owner of this Jag.) Even though it was a Sunday, Chris took our call and walked us through possible fixes that we can make to try and restart our car. After several tries to no avail, Chris concluded that perhaps our car problem requires a more comprehensive technical solution, so he asked us to leave our car keys with the guard at the dealership and he’ll have his mechanics look at our car early Monday morning.
Man-Hours and Dedicated Commitment
A few days after we left our Jag at the dealership, we got a call from Mark Abanes, the Senior Technician/Service Adviser of All-British Cars (ABC), Inc., which is the registered name of the Jaguar Land Rover dealership. He asked for information about ourselves and about the car’s history. He narrated that he was surprised to find an older Jaguar parked in front of their dealer and that he found several customers asking about our car and taking photos of it. We felt a bit proud of being the car’s current custodian but we also feel a bit uneasy of the “surprises” that might later come up as part of being its owner.
Mark called us up regularly to update us on the progress of the repairs and told us that some parts may take time to order because their computer system lists our Jag’s parts as “obsolete“. He later asked our permission to take down the fuel tank because they suspect that some debris are blocking the fuel pump pickup inlet that may cause fuel starvation and sputtering. We also got a call from James Knowles, the British head of the JLR Aftersales Service Department, who told us that working on our 26-year-old old Jaguar with its rat-chewed wires required some trial-and-error methods to get to the source of the problem and that his technicians dedicated a lot of man-hours working like it was their project car. Finally, on January 21, 2022, after more than a month of grinding our teeth in anticipation, we were told that our Jag was already fixed, road-tested, and ready to be picked-up.
After paying the bill, we were surprised to find an Estimate/Order Form that listed several “obsolete” and worn-out parts that were recommended for replacement and repairs soon. Chris, James and Mark understood that we were restoring the XJ6 slowly as our meager budget allows, so they took it upon themselves to make the list for our reference. (Aw, thanks, guys!) The list included parts for the front disc brakes, front and rear suspension, and the exhaust system while recommending to flush the coolant and brake fluids, replace all four tires, the low-tone and high-tone horns, and two catalytic converters. Gulp! James Knowles said it best what we’re beginning to fear: “Welcome to the wonderful world of owning an old Jag!”