Restoration Wednesday – My First V12

posted in: Restoration Wednesday | 8

Can you tell what car this lady bug is admiring? A 1987 Jaguar XJ-S. If you’ve headed over to posts at Superfly Garage, you may have already seen my teaser about the car, so I’ll spare you the repeat except for the quote that got us here: “I firmly believe that everyone who is worth anything at all should own a 12-cylinder car before they die,” the late and outspoken David E. Davis once said. So does that mean I really need a V12? Yup. Why? Because I’m worth it.

The first V12 I drove was Aaron Robinson’s green Espada. It was a glorious venture down Palos Verdes Drive in Southern California about a month before he sold it. That experience was vastly different than the one I’ll soon have. The Espada was fed by six Weber carburetors for about 350hp rowing a 5-speed manual. It’s also Italian. Did you see The Late Brake Show on Youtube where they discovered a barn find Espada after decades hidden away? Crazy good. Anywho, the XJ-S is British, has an emission restricted 265hp (295hp ROW) coupled to a 3-speed slush box from GM. Wait, did you see the complaint box near my garage door? I’ll save you the trouble of looking inside. Why, because it’s empty! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this car.

But Groosh, weren’t you founder of a magazine devoted to stick shift and rear wheel drive?

Always reflecting on the past, aren’t you?

Ah no, but why are you thrilled with a 3-speed auto?

Cause it’s sweet, has a V12 and the price was right.

When you say “price is right” you mean cheap, isn’t that correct?

Some might say “well bought” but ok, cheap. I’m always buying things that need-a-fixin’ which is when you can get deals.

Let’s just see what kind of deal you have after you start sorting, shall we?

Fine. But I’m not inviting you to the unveiling party.

The fun part was getting this Jag on the trailer with the brakes frozen and the shift linkage broken. Half way through disconnecting the drive shaft, we decided to try jumping the XJ to life so we might shift it between drive and reverse to free up the brakes. The car hadn’t run in 6-7 years but it coughed into an idle. I quickly shimmied on a creeper (yeah I brought one) passed the exhaust to flick the tranny shift lever with pry bar. As crap fell into my eyes, I tried to avoid touching the exhaust. The spinning passenger tire jerked back and forth until a couple clicks more broke the drive wheel free and I got my ass out from a land down under, where women glow and men plunder. We had no problem pushing the car into position to load it on to the trailer. Lucky for us, the steering linkage didn’t snap loose until we had loaded it halfway up the trailer and didn’t need to turn it anymore.

It’s home in my driveway now with more to sort than shift linkage and steering such as clogged injectors, stuck inboard brake caliper and no wipers. But hey, cheers to my first V12! Not my first project.

8 Responses

  1. Mike

    Congrats, I love it….very glad it’s in your hands not mine… but I always love the coupe version of the Jags – the roof completes the lines of the car.. Fantastic color too…

    ….and should I mention it… no, I shouldn’t…. yes, I should…. The Phone is outstanding!!!! figure out a retro fit for that and someone will pay big money to look like a BOSS driving down the street…


    • Groosh

      Thanks Mike! I love the color combo. If you are going to go Brit why not racing green? The phone is the highlight of everyone that opens the door. I’m keeping it for sure. The problem with retrofitting, which I considered, is I would have to hold it. Kinda goes against hands-free driving. Of course, a passenger could use it I guess. Anywho, thanks! I’m excited.

  2. Ernmoran

    Groooosh! Looks like you got your hands full with this one, but no one can argue that you’re not adventurous. Maybe an ’85 Biturbo next? Keep on keepin’ on, brother. Say hi to the wifey for me.

    • Groosh

      Errrnnn! Yes, hands full but better than a Biturbo. Wait, what? Don at Superfly Garage has two ’84 Biturbos to work on? Geez or peez.

  3. fred

    From Honda scooters to English V12’s.
    A natural progression for the closeted masochist

    • Groosh

      Thanks Fred! I’m really not looking forward to figuring out electrical gremlins. But man does the car look pretty parked in my driveway.

  4. Fred

    Yes, they do look good, I have often admired this body style. I found it very elegant, professing a status of sophistication unusual for the british.

  5. Fred

    If you don’t call me in a panic, from that cell phone on the console, to tell me of a barn find motorcycle, while cruising thru the Michigan countryside. I will be disappointed.

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