Shere Khan was my Jaguar: a 1980 XJ6 Executive Series II. It must have been one of the last Series IIs ever made, since it was assembled in South Africa, where Series II production continued for two years after it ended in the rest of the world.

The name "Shere Khan" comes from The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling; Shere Khan is an rather ornery tiger.

History: I bought Shere Khan on 13 May 1999 from a place called Viv's Motors, in Randburg, South Africa. Viv was selling it on consignment - it was owned by a woman called Teresa who'd apparently had it for about two years. Prior to that, it was apparently owned by a guy who had been restoring it, but had lost interest, had reassembled it, and sold it. It was originally gold, but had been resprayed a metallic maroon; supposedly the engine and gearbox had been done. The reassembly was terrible - many things (sidelights, distributor plate, side mirror, etc) were put back upside down or in the wrong order (I only found out about this stuff afterward). The paint work, though it looked great, wasn't very good - it chipped easily and had developed some cracks.

Viv claimed that he had been servicing the Jag, and that it would be fine as a daily-driven car. Take a look at the Repairs page, and judge for yourself whether he's good at doing services, and whether he was right about its roadworthiness.

Two weeks after purchase, Shere Khan broke down. I had it towed 500 metres to the nearest garage, Rivonia Auto, in Rivonia, Sandton, where it turned out that their top mechanic had done his apprenticeship on Jags. The reason for breaking down was simple: one carb was flooding the forward three cylinders, and the other was way too lean. However, they did a bumper-to-bumper check, and gave me a two-page list of problems, some critically urgent (front suspension mountings were almost completely torn through, for example).

Shere Khan was my Sunday car, but if the petrol were cheaper, and the fuel consumption lower, I'd have driven it even more.

On 27 March 2001 I misjudged a corner on a wet road, and planted Shere Khan nose first into a lamp post. The damage (bumber, bonnet, chassis leg, fan, visco, and various other parts) was sufficient to justify it being written off, which was duly done. Despite its troubled life, I loved it.



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Graeme Adamson

Copyright 1999 G R Adamson
Last updated: 4 December 2004