One of the best - and arguably most dangerous - things about choosing this line of work is the fact that checking the classifieds is rarely frowned upon.

In fact, most people have an internet browser tab dedicated to just that, buried amongst countless manufacturer brochures and hp-to-bhp conversion charts.

Upon finding a hidden gem, the finder invites the rest of the office to have a look, everyone (mostly) agrees it's a fascinating thing, considers the financial implications, quickly realises it's a distant dream and returns muttering to their desk. 

That is, until the day that a 1995 Jaguar XJ6 showed up for £500.

I was doing my usual rounds. Select Porsche from the drop down menu, laugh hysterically, weep silently, click back. Select Rolls Royce, dribble, click back. Scroll down to Volvo, then 960, have a proper look then click back, not man enough to spend £800.

Select Jaguar, then XJ6, good God! There, at the very top was N860 FCL, priced at £500. I rang in an instant, to be told it was supposed to be advertised at £800 - indeed it was on eBay at the same time. I told them I was interested at £500, they said come and have a look.

Just three days later I'd completed the test drive, convinced them that because I'd seen it at £500 they'd have to sell it to me for that, and handed over the money. 

On paper, the details aren't pretty. MOT test? Yes - until mid-May. Service history? Not so much. The 140,000 miles advertised turned out to be 149,600 on the day, too. There's some rust on the off-side rear, the radio works when it wants to and the front suspension is knocking. Loudly. 

Even so, the engine is smooth, strong and looking in good shape, the gearbox is slick and the arches and sills haven't been crippled by rust. The half-leather cream interior is also in brilliant condition for a car that has had 10 different backsides behind the wheel. Even better, the Jag cost me less than a piece of dash trim on a Cayenne. 

So, if it's okay with you, I thought I'd write a few reports on how I get on. I'm no mechanic, but I know one, and will be trying to learn how it's done, as it's done. The first jobs are new spark plugs, oil, fluid and filter changes, and replacing the rather sorry-looking front shock and radiator mount bushes.