KWE Jaguar XJS V12

Price: Varies according to the extent of work carried out
Top speed: 150mph 0-60mph 7.5 seconds
Consumption: No official figure
CO2 emissions: No official figure
Best for: sustainable luxury motoring
Also worth considering? Jaguar XK8 (1996), Jaguar XK (new), KWE Jaguar XJ12

Cats have nine lives. As far as I know, there is no scientific proof for this belief, but I have witnessed the process by which some big cats – Jaguars to be precise – come to enjoy at least a second lease of life, so maybe there's something in it. The midwife, if you can call him that, to this process of feline rebirth, is Chris Knowles, whose company KWE has been re-manufacturing Jaguars since 2002.

Chris Knowles has always been a fan of the Series III XJ saloons introduced in 1979, as well as the mechanically similar XJS coupé, and these have been the focus of his work, but KWE is about much more than one enthusiast's passion for his favourite old cars. The XJ and XJS were outstanding products that bear comparison in many respects to modern luxury cars. It stands to reason, therefore, that "good as new" (I suspect better than new) restorations of these models should have wide commercial appeal, even if they can end up costing almost as much as their modern counterparts.

KWE's founder also sees his work as a model for other sustainable businesses. Is it really ecologically and economically more sound to scrap a usable but ordinary 10-year-old in favour of a similar replacement with slightly better fuel economy and CO2 emissions under the Government's scrappage scheme than it is to restore a very nice old one?

That depends, partly on whether the KWE Jags live up to their promise of performing like modern cars while continuing to provide the sort of distinctive British charm traditionally associated with the XJ and XJS. Having had the chance to drive both in KWE form, I would say that they do. Paying customers who have bought a completed car from KWE, or had their own cars worked on by the company, clearly think so too, if the many glowing customer testimonials are anything to go by.

The KWE cars have never quite been straight rebuilds; subtle suspension, wheel and tyre upgrades, as well as trim enhancements, have always been available. But now the company tends to emphasise improvement as opposed to restoration a little more than it did before, so if you need sat-nav you can have it, and there are engine and transmission upgrades aimed at boosting power and economy as well.

Should the supply of XJs and XJSs ever dry up, the overhaul process is in principle extendible to their sister car, the Aston Martin DB7, as well. There are plenty of lives left in these cars.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

    Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

    Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin