Interesting. Then again there seem to be many variables here - neither my crash roll carriers nor anything else in the cabin rusts… but the screws mainly in the climate control box. I don’t think that surface rust after many years is bad, but rather shows that cost sensitive improvements have been made to keep costs down and still provide better quality. A Jaguar thing and part of the success of the company.
The windscreen design is terrible, but I believe it improved slightly with the new paint process in '86 or thereabouts. The SIII is the result of a long improvement processes with a lot of confusion along the route - but when it looks good, it probably is.
The bad quality of the steel and improper rust prevention must have been a general issue, but I can throw in BMW recalling the early e36 at huge cost because they rusted too much. Same goes for the Mercedes and Daimler-Chryslers of long past-communism (no change to the supply for sure) times. No doubt many more. Either my XJ has always been dry or there is nothing bad about it, it being in a general state of neglect but from below everything is very nice still.
The screens are a story of their own but I can’t attend at everything at once. Judging from the rear screen that was out before the water collects, is eventually kept in and held by capillary effect. Eventually the paint lifts, aided by the increased stress from the glue and water starts rusting under the paint. In theory no water should enter the cabin because of the small c-section the glass rests on. I thought about brazing in drains with a tube at the lowest points but wish there was an alternative, easier solution: The bodies themselves didn’t change too much in terms of stability, glue or not…
Concerning the reliability, the Jag only now starts to catch up on error count with our more modern cars. I drove 360mi (both tanks) in the last four days and was not worried in the least. The small things, however, can kill you: First it’s the flasher relay, then it doesn’t want to start one time and before you know you’re in a cold garage dissecting your lighting switch to no avail. Once you give up you drive off complaining about cold feet and rough idle. I still think that they are good cars, especially when cared for.
Performance wise I don’t think the V12 is that great, I only was in one once (not counting the Broadspeed XJC) and the the 4.2 isn’t far slower, a bit lighter and has quicker steering. What about the SWB SI, manual, 0-60 wise? I’m preoccupied, that’s high on my dream car list.
The V12 of course is the most amazing experience given how abundantly smooth and powerful it feels.