Okay, okay, so the above isn't strictly true. The parts in question actually cost me £10.43 (excluding VAT), and that doesn't take into consideration labour costs. But the fact that I'm falling asleep just typing this out suggests it's not headline material. 

I'm talking about the Jag's front shock bushes, which I've just had swapped on both sides after the wince-inducing knocks from the driver's side became too much. The kit, from britishparts.co.uk, contains the upper and lower bushes, and with the old ones out and new ones in, the drive and ride are night-and-day different.

As you can see from the pictures above, the old bushes had thrown in the towel long ago, and a 20-year pounding had reduced them to dust. That left a good 1-2cm of play between the shocks and body - no wonder there were was so much noise and wandering about at speed.

I'd read that sorting an XJ6's suspension was worth doing, but I can't describe to you just how much better the old thing now feels. It rides properly (and quietly), it's much more responsive at the front end and it remains far more composed over bumps. It feels like an old Jag!

While we were there, we sorted the radiator, too. Its mount bushes had worn away entirely, so the radiator was practically floating about. With all four bushes replaced and the top plate screwed back, it's now solid as a rock. You may have noticed an angle grinder and lots of sparks in the gallery. Getting the top plate off wasn't exactly simple…

So after a full fluid and oil service and new shock bushes, the Jag is running and driving better than I could ever have hoped for a £500 car. Next up is changing the fuel filter and sorting the surface rust. With things going this, well, I can't wait - although my words are there to be eaten. 

Read the previous entries here:

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four