If you think about it – every car manufacturer has an iconic image of some sort, which perfectly illustrates the brand. A piece of art, which people would remember them by.
Take BMW for example, they have that wonderful image of that 3.0 CSL Batmobile with all 4 wheels off the ground, hurtling a victory against Ford Capris and Porsche 911s.
Aston Martin has that poster of Sean Connery leaning on the DB5 from Goldfinger, and Bentley has that painting of Sir Henry Birkin thrashing his Speed Six at Le Mans.
Even Maserati has one, it’d be that shot of Fangio drifting his 250F in the 1957 German Grand Prix.
Jaguar on the other hand, doesn’t want you to think about theirs. Because these days, they’ve become no other than extremely agile, trendy, cutting edge athletes.
I’m sorry, but in the eyes of most people, the only sort of sporty car that Jaguar ever made was the E-Type. That’s the car which everyone knows and loves as a fast Jaguar. Other than that, Jag’s brand image is much more different to the average Joe.
You see, to the un-trained mind Jaguar was a name of sleek, luxurious big cats. Although Jaguar wants you to think they’re a sporty brand, the rest of us will actually picture something like John Steed leaning next to his Broadspeed XJ12C. (From ‘The New Avengers’)
That car was a true Jaguar to the majority of people, as was most other Jags of the decades surrounding the 1970s. Nobody will have the F-Pace spring to mind, they’ll think of the MK2 or the XJ6 instead – because those were the proper gangster’s Jags! NOT the eco-tech diesel sh*tboxes they make today!
Speaking of gangsters, in the ’60s and ’70s, Jaguar became famously associated with bank robberies in those TV crime detective shows. Anyone remember The Sweeney? Robbery? (the film) or even The Persuaders?
The bad guys in shows like that typically evaded the police in big, fast Jags. And the most commonly used, it seemed, was always a 3.8 litre S-Type with a broken front window. Maybe a MK X at a push.
And this neatly brings me onto why in 2017, I am actually wanting to buy the more recent S-Type. Because to me, it’s everything that Jaguar is known for, and I reckon….. it’s aged well.
Let me explain.
It Looks Like a Jag
When the S-Type was introduced in 1999, it was often criticised for it’s controversial retro front end. People said it looked awful and shocking.
The thing is though, as time moves on; Jaguars’ looks tend to mature and become nice. Once upon a time, everyone thought the XJS looked awful, yet I don’t see anyone complaining now.
I may be a little early, but I think the S-Type has done it as well. If you park it alongside the hideous new E-Pace or the cutting-edge XF, it all of a sudden looks classy, svelte, possibly even lovely. (I’d say so)
This car came out at a time when Jaguar focused on producing unprecedented English luxury and smooth, thirsty engines. They simply weren’t as crisp as the Germans, and that’s what made Jaguar stand out at the time.
And in my eyes, the S-Type of the 21st century looks like an updated version of the pretty 1960s one. And I like that!
It’s a Second Hand Bargain
For the basic 3.0 litre V6 version which sang as you revved it can now be picked up (in good nick) from an asking price of just over £1000! For a 150mph, RWD, wood and leather-trimmed six cylinder Jaguar? That’s fantastic value for money!
And don’t think that’s your only option, because you can also opt for a 280bhp 4.0 litre V8. But the pick of the range, has to be the super-fast S-Type R. Which can be had from just £4,000!
Lets put that into perspective. A 400bhp supercharged V8, uber luxurious cat for a third of the money of an BMW E60 M5. Yeah, you’re tempted aren’t you?
The big Jag is also far rarer than an M5, which makes it more exclusive, and in my eyes, more of a sleeper.
And lets not forget shall we that the S-Type shared it’s main mechanical underpinnings with the XK and later, the XF. So this was the controversial saloon car, which was very capable of driving like a true Jaguar should!
Overall, It’s Become a Classic
The fact of the matter is this- Jaguar has always been radical throughout their 80+ year history. The XK120 set the boundaries of what fast cars of the future should be, and every racing team was left red-faced after the D-Type gained 3 Le Mans victories between 1955 and 57.
And as a result, Jaguars which are made right are deserving classics 15-20 years on. And I believe it’s the same story with the S-Type, they took the right mechanical ingredients and on top, was this suave, classy body. Which to anyone, recognised as a Jaguar.
In my lifetime, I have experienced almost every old Jag. From E-Type 4.2s, V12s, MK2s, XJs, a frigging D-Type, you name it! I have also been in an early 2000s S-Type with the 3.0 litre V6, and I can honestly say that it very nicely reflects that old MK2 (3.4 with overdrive if anyone’s interested…) as a modern day version of it.
Yes, the front end was a surprise. But as cars become tech-infested and LED lit, the old S-Type with it’s simple wood-trimmed cabin, suddenly seems… nice. I think that’s the best way to put it.
I love the idea of owning an old Jag, especially a V12 Series 3 XJ. You know? with the pepper pot alloy wheels and the 3 speed auto.
I just love the idea of cruising around town in a big, thirsty Jaaaag. And the S-Type really does that, and for great value!
Mind you, so does an old XJ…. So I’d have that, well both actually…
Nevertheless, that’s why I’m lusting after an old Jaguar S-Type…. and an XJ12… To be honest, any old big cat!
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed the article.