A Mostly British Obsession

Vanden Plas

1996 Jaguar Vanden Plas

Consider: This car was $69,000 new in 1996 (in today’s dollars, that’s about $90,000). I’m paying almost exactly 5% of the 1996 price for this car, in 2008. That depreciation is absolutely mind-boggling; in constant dollars, the car essentially lost 97% of its value in a bit more than a decade. Much as I love Jaguars, I cannot imagine buying one new unless I had chests of gold doubloons.

This Vanden Plas is not absolutely perfect, but it is in very nice condition, with 84,000 miles. I think it’s “Kingfisher Blue,” which is a darkish blue-green, depending on the light. The inside has all the usual excess, including lambswool over-rugs and picnic tables for those carefree afternoons picnicking in wine country gorging on gut bombs at the drive-in. It’s also the long-wheelbase version, which means the rear doors are about ten feet long.


  1. Kevin C.

    You never seem to learn, do you? I can’t think of worse choice of vehicle, with the possible exception of a ’92 Corvette (Let’s not go there.).
    Actually, it’s a beautiful Jag. There is no way you can buy as much class for the buck as these 80’s-90’s Jag sedans. Low miles are a real plus unless it was in the shop more than on the road. Time will tell, but I’m thinking (and hoping) you got a deal.

  2. Mad Dog

    I must, most respectfully, disagree with Kevin. These last of the straight 6 engines were virtually bullet proof and a lot better than the nikasil bored XJ8s that followed (I’ve had both). I think you are in danger of having bought a sensible car.

  3. Kevin C.

    Time will tell, Mad Dog. The 6 engines were robust, I agree. However, it’s all the other bits that fail on these cars that give strong men to weep. I can only hope and trust Roger’s Jag will hold up well. We’ll see.

  4. Mad Dog

    Kevin. I do agree. However more bits have fallen off my XJ8 than my 6 cyl Vanden Plas. There’s a luck factor too. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this one will hold up…

  5. Robert Behan

    I have a photo of a back end of what appears to be a British made car and was wondering if you might help me identify it. Please let me know where I can send the photo. Thanks for your assistance. Robert.

  6. JStalliano

    I just bought one today for $1,500.00 in near mint from a harley guy who’s uncle gave it to him . 5 minutes from my house I love craigslist haha . He said its nice just not my style . come to papa ;)


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