Clarkson on: the Jag XJR V8
When my last Jaguar arrived, it was blue. When it went away again two years later, it was a sort of bluey-brown colour.
The problem here is simple. Time. When the low fuel warning light comes on, it means I can relax. That reassuring little glow means the bulb is still working and that I've a gallon - maybe two - before I need to refill.
When I pass a sign on the motorway saying ‘services 1m and 27m', I'll carry on and 27 miles later, I'll still carry on. I will never, ever stop before the computer says I have 0 miles left to go. Even then I'll keep going. Tiff is with me on this. We've just worked out that in a lifetime we spend days hunched over nozzles filling up with fuel. And I don't have the time.
So, if I'm not going to feed the car, I'm certainly not going to waste time washing the damn thing. I was once allergy-tested and it came up with house dust, pollen and washing cars. I only need see a bottle of Turtlewax and my eyes start to stream. Show me a chamois and I'll sneeze until my spleen explodes.
My Ferrari is still coated in a thin sheen of last November's muck and I reckon it looks pretty cool. And Mika Salo is obviously a man after my own heart because his 355 could, if you squint a bit, be mistaken for a large woodlouse. It is absolutely filthy.
However, I have something of a problem with my new Jaguar. You see, it is black by name and black by nature. It is a nightmare.
Black cars cannot achieve that all-over scum effect so, when it's dirty, it just looks awful. I have to clean it and in a morning, when the dew has evaporated, it's coated once more in dust. So I have to clean it again.
In a month, I've spent 42 hours driving it and 420 hours washing it and I cannot even begin to tell you what a chore this is.
"My Ferrari is still coated in a thin sheen of last November’s muck and I reckon it looks pretty cool"
First of all, there's a man who comes round in the night to tie knots in the hosepipe that I neatly looped round its peg the day before. So, in a morning, I turn on the tap and - bang! - the build-up of pressure causes the pipe to part company with the tap.
And here's a small tip. It is impossible - not hard; impossible - to refit a hose pipe onto a tap unless you have an honours degree in astrophysics and engineering.
So I end up lugging buckets of water from the kitchen, hurling them over the roof and watching the whole bloody lot evaporate before I've had a chance to refill the bucket.
And then it's time to look under the sink, where I discover the car shampoo I bought only the week before has evaporated. I bellow at the kids who deny all knowledge of it. I glower at my wife who cries and I threaten to strangle the dog until she owns up to having eaten it. She never does though, leading me to the inevitable conclusion. It has disappeared into the ether. Either that or the man who ties my hose pipe in knots breaks into the house and nicks it.
I'm reduced to using Fairy Liquid which I now discover contains salt and will, after prolonged use, turn the car into a DeLorean. Still, I apply it liberally and then hurl more buckets of clean water over the washed car to discover that huge chunks of it have not been washed at all.
How can this be? I've washed it scientifically, panel by panel and yet half the roof, three quarters of the offside rear door and a square foot of bonnet are still as dirty as they were in the first place.
So I wash it all over again, and turn to the chamois which was sold to me in a garage yesterday and has the same ability to absorb water as tin foil. Feverishly, I attack the car with it until I'm bathed in sweat and heaving for breath. Since that car arrived I've lost very nearly two stone.
However, I always stand back after two hours to admire my handiwork... which turns out to be crap. The not-leather has left so many streaks that the paintwork looks like it's been stone washed. And there's only one solution. It involves a duster, more manual labour and some Turtlewax.
And for sure, the car is then clean... until the mist comes down in the night. I am now so fed up that we are building a garage which, it turns out, will cost about twice as much as a space shuttle.
So here's my tip. Jag XJR V8. Brilliant. Needs to be blue.