Slide into the undamaged leather, clunk the rust-free door shut and you’re left in no doubt that the 11,000 miles on this Sovereign’s odometer are genuine. The service history supports it with plenty of old MoT certificates and receipts.
This car saw little action from 2009 to 2015, but in 2018 had a £2500 recommissioning by the vendor, including carburettor and radiator refurbishment, and a few new joints and bushes.
Unfortunately the 2.8-litre XK engine was misbehaving on our test, flooding itself during warm start-ups, but the vendor is on the case. Once running, the engine proves to be in rude health, ticking over beautifully at 700rpm. It pulls well, easily creaming its way to 4000rpm and beyond, and the manual gearbox changes ratios smoothly, including overdrive.
The steering is light and steady with no wobbles, and the car glides over rough surfaces with the pace and grace you’d hope from an old-school Jag. Oil pressure sits at a healthy 60psi during cruising, and the temperature needle settles in the middle of the gauge. The only downside is a non-functioning speedometer, coupled with a very noisy cable, which is on the vendor’s to-do list.
The interior feels almost as-new, with perfect headlining and door cards, and only slight creasing on the front seat bolsters. The cubby box is undamaged, but the latch mechanism isn’t holding. The dash has no cracks or fading, and all the equipment is in working order – including the clock, radio and dash light. The boot trim is tidy, but its interior safety lamp is loose.
The engine bay is lovely. Old adhesive indicating lost insulation under the bonnet is the only thing worth criticising. Apart from MAX electronic ignition and an Optima battery, it all looks clean and original, with many recent hoses and what appears to be original paint on the exhaust manifolds. There are no leaks and the oil is clean. Details like new bonnet seals, freshly painted air filter box and proper copper washers beneath the stainless, domed cam-cover nuts complete the picture.
The chrome bumpers are unblemished. All four main lights are Lucas sealed-beam units, and the lamps and glazing all round are in perfect order. Each panel gap is exactly as it should be and we didn’t find any chips or scratches in the Lavender paintwork – which is mostly original although, judging by how fresh it all seems, may have had some attention around the lower areas. The set of Maxxis Victra 205/70 R15 tyres have almost full tread and even wear.
Structurally the car seems excellent, with no apparent welding. Underseal has been applied and the wheelarches look solid. There’s the beginnings of rust around some seams near the sills that needs catching early; nothing ugly, but a reminder that it deserves to be kept garaged.
Most surviving Sovereigns are on SORN, especially Series Is. If you have the cash to splash, this really could be a wonderful asset. Dare you put miles on it? This is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue, part of 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, Ads on Test and Buying Guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars.
Price £29,995 Engine 2792cc XK straight-six, dohc, SU carberettors Power 180bhp @ 6000rpm Torque 182lb ft @ 3750rpm Performance Top speed: 116mph; 0-60mph 11.2sec Fuel consumption 18mpg Length 4813mm Width 1768mm