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Jaguarman – or Maseratiman?

Late last week I finally picked up my Jaguar XJ12 from the workshop. All the way home, I felt like a proper Jaguarman. Yet, for the majority of the week leading up to this, I had constantly had Maserati on my mind. Confusing.

I will get back to you with an update on my XJ12 – I promise. But when I haven’t mentioned the car since I first introduced it back in June (in the article: My First Jaguar: XJ12 Sovereign), it’s frankly because there hasn’t been anything to report on. My XJ has simply lived at the mechanic. But after three months there, it was finally time to drive her home again. Albeit in dreadful weather, but the big Jag did its best to make it at least feel like the sun was shining: a V12 is truly something very special.

For now you will have to settle for a real cliché of a picture. But it’s only the second time I’ve ever filled up my XJ12 – in three months of ownership. Not bad at all!

So I was feeling very much like a Jaguarman – even if I had forgotten to bring my leather driving gloves. But the thing is; all week long I had only Maserati on my mind, to the point where I had started to feel convinced that I was a Maseratiman. I believe it all kicked off with two friends of mine who had been chatting about their 3200 GT’s. Readers who are now overbearingly thinking to themselves “he obviously means 3500 GT” are in some respects right. I do vastly prefer the 3500 – the fifties-GT and one of the most classic of classic Maserati’s of all times. Yet to those readers, I might have to disappoint you, as it was in fact the 3200 GT which I just couldn’t get out of my mind. Yes I know, it is in many ways too new for ViaRETRO, and too new to be considered a real classic. Even if both of my friends feel differently. About both statements, I believe.

Maserati 3200 GT. I would really appreciate the opportunity to try out one of these newer super-GT’s some day…

Let me openly confess, that I have indeed considered whether such a millennial 3200 GT might be something for me. I even came to the conclusion that this might very well be the case. It is a proper GT, it is a relatively proper Maserati, and it is much, much, much cheaper than a 3500 GT. At least to purchase. The rumours of course suggest that it is not at all cheap to maintain and repair. And that does scare me – especially after having just picked up my Jaguar after three months in a workshop.

Not that I am in any way comparing a 3200 GT with my XJ12. Not at all! But this is where I have a second confession to make, as I also have a weakness for Jaguar’s strongest opponent to the Maserati – the period Jaguar XK8. Dear me, is there no end to this misery?!?!

But hang on a moment, for Jaguar also have such a newer super-GT in their model range!

Apparently not. But clearly, as a Jaguar owner – a Jaguarman, even – I obviously can’t ignore that Jaguar actually beat Maserati into the genre, which I suppose one could call “the reinterpretation of the true GT car”. Our most faithful ViaRETRO readers will of course know already, that the Grand Tourer is by far my favourite type of car.

The XK8 is a truly traditional GT car. SO traditional, that its suspension is partially based on that of the original XJ-S. But then the XJ-S was of course world-class, so surely that’s not a bad thing? I’m sure most will agree that it isn’t – at least not as bad as several other things on the XK8. Such as its Ford-infested interior. However, despite Jaguar digging deep into the Ford parts bin, I still really like the XK8. Probably just as much as I like the 3200 GT. After all, what’s not to like about a classic – or at least semi-classic – GT car with a potent V8 engine and a beautiful design?

But why would I want to get involved with these relatively modern super-GT cars? Easy – the answer is written right here:

I’m aware that some will now point out that the Maserati is significantly faster. But in this context, that hardly matters as a GT car just needs to be fast – not fastest. The main issue is rather that either have the potential to end in sorrow – and poverty: The Jaguar XK8 also doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability and cheap maintenance. Still, I would love to have both in my garage. Naturally, in the real world I would choose either one or the other. There is after all no reason to tempt fate.

So today I’m basically just seeking simple and well-founded advice: According to our discerning, knowledgeable and experienced ViaRETRO-readers, which of the two millennial super-GT’s would be the most sensible to purchase?

ViaRETRO-bonusinformation: Yes, this is an extreme case of “relative rationality” – but then again, that too is an important skill to master. Perhaps even more so for a self-confessed classic car enthusiast wavering between Jaguar and Maserati youngtimers. The question “most rational to purchase” could simply be rephrased “least deranged to purchase”, for those readers who just can’t comprehend the first question.


7 Responses

  1. Anders Bilidt

    While I’ve never owned a Jaguar myself (yet), I find the vast majority of their older models very appealing! My father used to own a nice XJ40, and I had access to a friends 420G for a while. Both lovely cars. Personally, I wouldn’t mind having a S-type 3.4 MOD in my garage….

    But all that said, there’s just no way a Jaguar can compete with Maserati. So given the choice, I would definitely rather view myself as a Maseratiman instead of a Jaguarman.

    As for the XK8 ~vs~ 3200 GT, I’m very much the wrong person to ask. I’ve only driven a XK8 once and that was a very short drive back when they were new. I’ve never so much as sat in the 3200 GT. On the face of it, I would prefer the Maserati. It just looks better to my eye. And it’s a Maserati! But which would be the least deranged purchase…?? Haven’t got a clue, but neither fall under the sensible category…

  2. Alexander Stark

    I have considered Jaguars several times, but always fall back to Maserati. At the moment I own two cars of the brand, a 1997 Ghibli GT and a 1966 Mistral 4000.
    I have never owned a 3200 GT, but the Ghibli is in many ways similar. It’s a pretty fast and, in my eyes, beautiful car. Get a well sorted and well maintained example and continue maintaining it, and it will be pretty reliable. In comparison, I just came home from Italy with the Ghibli, covering 5500 kms in 7 days. No hiccups whatsoever. And the 3200 GT was an instant classic, and most definitely a real Maserati. So Maserati 3200 GT. Seven. Days. A. Week.

  3. Tony Wawryk

    Like @anders-bilidt I’ve owned neither a Jaguar or a Maserati. I’ve never even driven either of the two models under discussion. I have, however, seen many of each, and for me – based purely on their looks and what I’ve read about them, it would have to be the Maserati, but only with the “boomerang” tail lights. For me, the Maser is more stylish, less macho, and I’m not over-keen on the Jag’s styling from the B-post back. And the 3200 is much more exclusive, of course, though I’m not sure this helps when it comes to running costs…
    The XK8, like the XJS before it, is just too big for me, whereas the 3200 is more compact, particularly in terms of width (19cm narrower), and therefore more manageable in even semi-regular use. Obviously for Claus, as a Jaguar driver, this is probably less of a consideration. It’s also why I would always take a Porsche 911 – even the 996, which is the direct contemporary of these two, and two of which I’ve owned – ahead of either.

  4. Dave Leadbetter

    We formerly had a millennium era Jag on fleet, a bargain basement 3.0 S-Type purchased with the intention to run it until a big bill arrived then get shot of it. It managed 18 months before the inevitable and we sold it to a Jag specialist who actually patched it up and traded it on, so much better than scrapping it. And that’s the way I’d look at the 3200GT and XK8, enjoy them both whilst they’re at the bottom of the depreciation curve. Instinctively I’d take the XK8 but also because the cost exposure would be less. Perhaps more bangernomics than ViaRETRO at the moment, but I’m not sniffy and everything comes around. Regardless of anything, with the march of the electric car we should take every opportunity to experience these big old dinosaurs whilst we can.

  5. Claus Ebberfeld

    Since I wrote the above I have actually driven my XJ12 a further approximately 1,000 kilometers which has had the effect of making me even more of a Jaguar convert. A case for the XK8, then? Hmm, in fact more a case of asking myself why I would ask for more than the XJ12 can offer anyway.

    And certainly “bangernomics” was not a discipline I had seen in this context at all, @dave-leadbetter !

    Then I’m more convinced by the very objective point from @tony-wawryk : A smaller car is in many practical ways a better car, and I’ve never considered that the 3200 GT is the smaller car of the two. It does apparantly seat four in comfort, as I’ve read it from reviews. Which hardly matters, though, as I never seat four anyway, comfortable or not!

    Aaah, yes, the Ghibli from the boxy era, @alexander-stark : Such an overlooked link between the Biturbo-era and the later reborn Maserati. And somehow more classic than the 3200 GT.

  6. Claus Ebberfeld

    Wait a minute, @tony-wawryk ! You almost had me there, but then I checked my facts – true, the XK8 is 15 centimeters longer than the 3200 GT, but they are nearly identical in their width of 182 and 183 respectively. But OK, you did not with the “19 centimeters narrower”-statement mention that it was compared to a 1980 Vauxhall Astra.

    Phew, I nearly rushed out the find that 3200 GT there!

  7. Tony Wawryk

    @claus-ebberfeld – interesting; I got my numbers from Parkers, which has the XK8 as 2015mm wide, the 3200 at 1822mm. On checking again, it still says that, so I looked elsewhere, and Wiki has them as you say, so I have to assume the Parkers number includes wing mirrors for the Jaguar, but not for the Maserati. I can’t think why but it’s the only explanation I can come up with. Lesson – don’t rely on Parkers for data in future!


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