While potentially as much Ford as Jag, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe supercharged S-Type R is still a hot enough kitty to make nearly anyone purr with delight. But, is its price as well?
Remarkably, yesterday's rougher than Chuck Norris brand toilet paper '71 Checker Aerobus 8-door fell in a close 56% Crack Pipe loss. At thirty five hundred, even the marque's most ardent advocates gave it so wide a berth that they might just have been driving it. How's that for circular logic?
In his Top Gear review of the Jaguar XF, James May derides its predecessor, the S-Type, as - to paraphrase - the summation of all that is wrong with Jaguar. May's contention was that the S-Type's styling was an outdated paean to American and German ideals of what the brand, and hence the nation, should be. May then went off to have a cuppa' and stare dreamily at a picture of the Queen.
Geoff Lawson, the S-Type's designer, also penned the XJ-220, and much of the marque's ‘90s cars, so he might have had some choice words for Top Gear's most foppish host, were he not presently dead.
Regardless of how it may have played back in Jolly Ol', this FoMoCo DEW-platform based S-Type R is here in the Colonies, and while wrapped in traditional British Steel, this special R edition packs that most American of features - copious quantities of V8 horsepower.
Those ponies - totaling 400 along with 408 lb-ft of torque - are produced by way of the Jaaag's 4.2-litre AJ V8 engine, atop which sits an Eaton blower. That atmosphere increaser does so to the tune of 13.1 PSI of boost, which is made too cool for school via a pair of intercoolers. Behind the iron-lined (earliest versions of this engine were Nikasil lined, but then, sulphur-rich fuel killed those off) alloy V8 sits the spectacularly competent ZF 6-speed automatic which is actuated through Jag's iconic J-gate selector.
Other bits that make the R special are 4-pot Brembos at each corner, 18" five-spoke alloys sporting low-profile gumballs likewise located, and a retuned CATS adaptive damper suspension that allowed the R to run with BMW's M5 whilst still maintaining ride quality that wouldn't unstiffen an upper lip. On the down side, the Rs lacked an LSD diff, requiring the brakes to do that duty.
This one also looks to be in pretty good shape- the R embossed sports seats, along with the rest of the interior, showing little sign of wear or tear, and the champaign exterior appearing equally natty. According to the ad, that cleanliness extends to the car's Carfax report as well. That's all a pleasant surprise considering the car's 100K clock count, and Jaguar's reputation for ephemeral durability. It also should be taken into account that this car is a hair's breadth away from being a decade in age.
It's been longer than a decade that Jaguar has been anointing models with the R designation, establishing that as a mark of a performance cat and not just a pirate's assent. As a perceived luxury brand, new Jags are never cheap, and these sporting editions are typically astronomically priced out the door. But while this ‘03 S-Type may have stickered at more than seventy grand when new, it's now being offered - by a dealer no less - at less than a seventh that amount. Praise be depreciation and its ability to bring interesting cars with their massive amounts of horsepower within the reach of the common riff-raff.
Being riff raff myself, I am intrigued by this Jag super sedan and its mild mannered price. But the question of course is, are you? What do you think, is $9,999 a price for this R that makes it worth taking the Leaper? Or, is that price too much to let this cat out of the bag.
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