Fine Wine Read | Jaguar XK Series
This is the first article of which I hope to write many more, stretching my appreciation for writing on various topics to be published on every other Sunday as a relaxing read aimed to be enjoyed over a fine glass of your favorite wine, or whichever beverage of choice tickles your fancy on the day. Please do enjoy.
I've always enjoyed the unique appreciation certain people have for the finer things in life. When I was in primary school in East London in a rural farming community I admired the beauty of a brand new Landini tractor a friend of mine's father purchased. Random, I suppose. But that soon changed when I drove in a Mercedes Benz S500 Class in high school, and became aware that there was a watch called a Breitling which cost more than my parents car at the time. It fascinated me, but I always placed it in an echelon of life which was beyond me.
Then, in 2007 when I began working in Franschhoek for a small online wine company I was tasked with managing some wine stock held for high-end customers, and began noticing that wine was not only enjoyed in a more sophisticated way than I was used to in my varsity days, but there were bottles of wine which cost more than my salary at the time. Who bought this expensive stuff, and why, when you could only get four glasses from a 750ml bottle?
My interest in the finer things in life piqued during that first year of my career, and has grown ever since, as I find more interest in unique items which people place great value upon. Being a Wine Guy I've come to appreciate an investment in once's palate with a beautiful 1992 vintage Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon, or limited release Uva Mira Chardonnay. And with the general experience one gather's as you grow older my interest in other items such as watches and vehicles has slowly started influencing my decisions when deciding on choices I have to make while buying these items.
I must be honest, I don't own anything of such particular value, yet, however am starting to find a 'line' of appreciation in such items, and more specifically vehicles such as Jaguar's XK range, which I am looking forward to writing about today.
Jaguar was a brand of vehicle I knew little about, and appreciated less due to a lack of understanding, until my early university days when a friend (now my wife) introduced me to a few rather unique vehicles under the Jaguar banner, and of a vintage collection. Over the years I found my interest in this range of vehicles growing as I read up on them, partly because I am enthusiastic about other people's enthusiasms in life, as well as wanting to learn more about this originally British-born brand. I've grown fond of the old XJ6 with it's long, elegant bodywork, and the E-Type for it's racing heritage (although I saw an image from the 1980s once of a beautiful Marilyn Monroe'esque women driving one along a country road with a red scarf flailing in the breeze behind her which I think caused more reason for the vehicle's memory).
Jaguar have produced many models which are worthy of long discussions fueled by wine and passionate talk surrounding racing heritage and mechanics, however the one model which is standing out for me more and more as I grow older is the XK range, with it's sleek bodywork, racy looks, and performance which lies hidden almost in menacing anticipation under that long hood.
The XK8 was the first model which left the factory floor in 1996, replacing the popular XJS. My excitement, though, surrounds the later model XK which was launched in 2007. More modern in looks, yet still retaining it's heritage via the traditional oval front grille, eluding to the E-Type, and swooped body styling, amongst other queues, it's a vehicle that I have decided needs to be in my garage at some point in my life, sooner than later.
What intrigues me about this vehicle is that it oozes luxury, but understated luxury if I may. Although it has that typical sportier character you'll find in a design of any high-end super cars, it's lines are more refined, almost as if it's trying to hide it's grand heritage for fear of being too boastful. The style of the XK looks rather similar to another British car-maker's design, Aston Martin, which seems to be no coincidence. The designer of the XK range, Ian Callum, used to work for Aston Martin and designed the famous DB7 and Vanquish. Ian's response to the similarity's in design is that it's a design as a result of modern safety. How true that is I suppose only Ian will know, but it's a gorgeous look for a vehicle either way.
The original engine introduced with the XK in 2007 was it's predecessors 4.2 Litre V8 engine, pushing out a brisk 224kW of power which, if needed, allowed you to accelerate from 0 - 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. That's more than enough power to be sneaking past slow-pokes in the fast lane on a Sunday afternoon trip with the better half. Although not a very rare vehicle, with 28,000 produced in it's lifetime until the end of production in 2014, you don't find many of them cruising South Africa's highways these days.
So how much are these cars worth these days? According to my constant research on Gumtree you're looking at anywhere between R400,000.00 - R500,000.00 for a second hand vehicle with +-60,000km on the clock, which if you ask me is a steal for a vehicle of this calibre if you take into consideration the price of vehicles these days. If you're interested in anything similar you're looking at R1 Million plus.
Here's a little juicy fact about the engine ... the 4.2 Litre engine design inside the XK was first produced in 1964. How's that for a reliable design if there ever was one. Like a good wine, it seems to only get better with age, you could almost say!
So although the British don't produce top class wines, they did put together a vehicle fit for us wine connoisseurs. I hope you enjoyed this quick Sunday afternoon read.
Till next time,