Home » Disasters Waiting To Happen: 1998 Jaguar XJ8 L vs 2004 Porsche Cayenne

Disasters Waiting To Happen: 1998 Jaguar XJ8 L vs 2004 Porsche Cayenne

Sbsd 6 14 2023
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Good morning! On today’s Shitbox Showdown, we’re checking out a couple of the most expensive cheap cars around: luxury cars. But before we do, let’s see how yesterday’s Japanese coupes fared:

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Close one, but a clear win for the Nissan. That’s the one I’d prefer too. I mean, it’s got T-tops, a stick, and a digital dash! What more could you want?

The Discord was awash in some interesting choices today, but the prices were a little steep. So I’ll save those for Friday, when we up the ante a little. Instead, today, I’ve found two cars that only could be expensive: an old cheap Porsche and an even older and cheaper Jag. Let’s take a look.

1998 Jaguar XJ8 L – $3,300

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.0 liter dual overhead cam V8, five-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Austin, TX

Odometer reading: 123,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep!

“England and America,” the saying goes, “are two countries separated by a common language.” It’s attributed to the playwright George Bernard Shaw, but I don’t think he had British luxury sedans in mind when he said it. Regardless, there is some disagreement over the pronunciation of this car’s marque: is it “Jag-wahr,” or “Jag-you-were?” (All I know is it’s definitely not “Jag-wire” as the local radio ads here in Portland irritatingly say.) However you say it, it’s a name that has come to stand for old-world refinement, exceptional performance, and appalling repair bills.

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This is the Jaguar XJ8, the first official V8-powered XJ sedan (those Chevy small-block conversions from the ’70s don’t count). This car is from Ford’s ownership of the famous leaping cat, a time when build quality was decent, but new technologies made the cars far more complex than they once had been. This is the long-wheelbase XJ8, adding an extra five inches of rear seat space to the traditional Jaguar grace and pace. Power comes from a quad-cam V8, fed to a traditional Jaguar independent rear end through a five-speed automatic.

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The seller says this car runs and drives very well, and to prove it, they’ve included photos of it on a trip all over the west. It’s daily driven, and has recently received a new water pump, battery, and alternator. Several other maintenance items were taken care of a couple years ago, though there’s no indication of the mileage since then. There is also no mention of the timing chain; Jaguar V8s can have issues with the chain tensioner, leading to expensive problems. Upgrade kits are available, and it would be worthwhile asking if this car has had the tensioner replaced.

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And of course, being a twenty-five year old Jaguar, it’s not without its issues, mostly peripheral electrical items. It’s all stuff you can live without, but it makes the car feel cheap and broken, even if it runs fine. On the plus side, it’s in the best color combination for a Jag sedan (fight me), and it’s in good cosmetic shape.

2004 Porsche Cayenne S – $3,700

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.5 liter dual overhead cam V8, six-speed automatic, AWD

Location: Dallas, TX

Odometer reading: 200,000 miles

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Runs/drives? Sure does!

There was a time when a Porsche SUV would have been an anathema. But this car has been around for over twenty years now, and it has been a big sales hit. Even the Porsche faithful have gotten used to it, and now it’s Ferrari fans’ turn to be outraged at an SUV. And the idea of the Cayenne, an SUV that handles like a Porsche, is pretty cool if you think about it.

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This Cayenne is the S model, with a 335 horsepower V8 driving all four wheels. It has a six-speed automatic, with Porsche’s “Tiptronic” manual-shifting option. It isn’t quite the same as having a clutch and an H-pattern gearshift, but it’s better than the mushy 3 speed automatic that too many Porsche 928s got stuck with. This one is said to run and drive well, and with 200,000 miles on the clock, it must have been cared for fairly well.

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Another thing that jumps out at me is the receiver hitch on the back. “Porsche” and “towing” didn’t used to belong in the same sentence, but this car has a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, so it will make short work of your horse trailer or small vintage Airstream or whatever. And it’ll be a hell of a lot nicer to drive when you’re not towing than a Tahoe or something with an equivalent rating.

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This car looks like it’s in really nice shape, actually. But it’s a complicated beast, and when (not if) things do go south, the cost to fix it could be exorbitant. Gotta pay to play, and all that.

The nice thing about either of these cars is that they’re guaranteed to make you new friends, either with a specialist mechanic, or with the UPS guy dropping off boxes of parts, if you are more DIY-inclined. But when they’re working, they’re both very comfortable, enjoyable cars to drive, and a lot more entertaining than an Avalon or something. Which one are you more willing to gamble on?

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
11 months ago

Fun fact about Porsche Cayenne I learned this week: if (when) a certain coolant hose fitting breaks, you need to drop the engine.

Gimme a Jaguar, at least I’ll break down in style.

Mike F.
Mike F.
11 months ago

Couldn’t bring myself to click for either one. On the one hand, there’s the Jag sedan. My mechanic bought one of these for his mom and told me that basically these things are always in the shop and each trip there will never cost less than $2000. Being an incompetent wrencher type (my wrenching skills are wrenching), I couldn’t possible have one of these.

And the other is an SUV. Porsche or not, I can’t have one of those.

Derek van Veen
Derek van Veen
11 months ago

Gotta go with the cat, not the spice.

Robert Crespo
Robert Crespo
11 months ago

I love the first gen Cayenne and Touraeg but under no circumstances should you buy one with a v8. Way too many repairs start with “remove engine.” I’ll have the Jaaaagggg and enjoy that British luxury

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
11 months ago

I’ll take the Jaguar and suffer in style.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
11 months ago

A ford Jag? Simple problems. An old porch SUV? COMPLICATED problems. KISS, or just replace al old british stuff but frame and body.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
11 months ago

Gotta be the Jag. If and when it finally fails to proceed in an unfixable and hard-to-offload way it’ll at least leave a beautiful corpse. With its’ self-consciously “Traditional” styling it’s old enough and low-slung enough to say “there’s a classic Jag parked up in the neighborhood” while the cutting-edge-in-its’-day Porsche would just say “derelict abandoned car”.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago

V8 Cayenne with a tow package! For cheap!

Anyone who voted for the Jaaaaag voted wrong.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
11 months ago

I already have a white ’82 XJ6, and this would look absolutely sweet sitting next to it. It may have a few electrical problems in the short term and need a pile of cash to keep it going in the long term, but that’s alright… because it’s a Jaaaaaaag.

Swirl Of Embers
Swirl Of Embers
11 months ago

I’m going to assume I’m throwing away $4K on something that will just be fun for a bit and then I’ll have to get rid of. So Jag all the way. Take my wife out in it, bang in in the back seat like we were teenagers again, and then someone else can have it. Be worth the money right there.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
11 months ago

$4k to have sex with your wife? I need pictures to see if i agree.

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