Apologies for the break in these updates. Two main reasons, really: one, well, nothing much has happened until now and two, I've been mentally preparing myself for the Jag's looming MOT test. Although checks had revealed it to be a solid car, it was too early to book the village hall and hang the bunting.
On the day of the test Mikey, the mechanic charged with doing it, could sense I was nervous. As he performed each check, I stood beside the car shuffling my feet and occasionally popping my head inside to enquire about how things were going. Final emissions test done, he turned and gave me his surprised face. Surprised face is good - isn't it?
Turns out it was. The old X300 had passed - with some advisories. Mikey's surprised face was merely his reaction to how well its emissions checks had gone, proving that these old AJ16 engines really are bulletproof. Of course, there were some hiccups along the way - the X300's horns for starters. They'd wheezed their last parp some time ago, and no horn means no MOT pass. I was in luck.
"I've got one," came a voice from the back of the workshop. I turned to see Mikey holding a bright red horn, originally intended for a T5 van.
Embarrassing single-tone horn active and MOT certificate printed, we set about attending to some of the Jag's remaining problems. The first of them was an inoperative electronic boot release. This is a common problem, often caused by the wires chaffing on the boot hinge. Sure enough, pulling away the hinge cover revealed two broken wires.
The remedy was as simple as soldering the wires back together and securing them out of harm's way with a cable tie. Along with functioning boot and dash release buttons I now have lighting in the Jag's boot, although a couple of candles would be more effective.
Swapping the old fuel filter for a new one was successful, too, if not quite as simple since it's extremely awkward to get at. Half an hour and some swearing later, it was in and secure.
There's always something that doesn't get finished, and in this case it was the radio. The head is fine; it's the aerial that has a mind of its own. Some days it slides up and you get music - from two of the four speakers, mind you - and some days it doesn't, and you don't. Normally, it's the latter scenario and the silence on long journeys gets boring.
After a further 25 minutes, and some more swearing, me and Mikey came to the conclusion that the aerial unit itself had had it. Even directing power straight from the battery had no effect.
It's time to investigate sourcing a new one. A quick Google has revealed official Jaguar aerials aren't cheap so eBay, or a breaker's yard, might be my friend this time around.
Following its date with the workshop, the Jag had another engagement: a trip across Dorset, four-up with luggage, to meet up with my grandfather's recently purchased S-Type. His is a small-wheeled, cloth-seated 2.5 V6 manual that's done around 80,000 miles. It was a bargain at less than £5000.
It got me looking at S-Types in the classifieds and there are plenty of examples below £1000 that look tired but serviceable. Maybe one for the future but for now, the way the X300 eagerly pulled the four of us across the hilly Dorset countryside, I can see it sticking around for some time yet.