The sheer beauty of classic Jaguar cars and the rugged utilitarian nature of Land Rovers of old have leaped to the present through “JLR Classics,” a new venture created from the knowledge and passion of staff members at Jaguar Land Rover Minneapolis.
The idea began about two years ago, when the store displayed a 1952 Jaguar XK on its showfloor. Even earlier, a 1953 Land Rover served as a fixture at the downtown store, giving buyers of the luxury SUVs a sample of the brand’s durable roots. Today, lining the border of the Golden Valley location’s service drive, old Jaguars are flanked by a Triumph, an Austin Healy and an MG.
General Manager Ted Terp works closely with Assistant Service Manager Paul Palan, scouring the country to find the best cars to purchase and then sell. Having worked on English marques since 1973, Palan is known for finding fixes to rare cars and is a walking manual.
“We’re not producing show cars, we’re mostly trying to cater to people with nice cars to drive in the summer” –Paul Palan, Jaguar Land Rover Minneapolis
Negotiations can take months, Palan said. He often boards a plane, with check in hand, to seek out a car they have researched. But 60 percent of the time, he returns without purchasing it. Palan has found poor repair jobs that were hidden in pictures given by the seller. “There’s an old thing, sometimes the best buy is the one you don’t buy,” said Terp. Knowing what the cars are worth is essential as some can draw six figure prices.
Purchasing the old cars is like watching a movie where the producer controls everything you see, Palan said. Negotiations can take months. He often boards a plane, with check in hand, to seek out a car they have researched. But 60 percent of the time, he returns without purchasing it. Palan has found poor repair jobs that were hidden in pictures given by the seller. “It’s a very untruthful business,” said Terp. “There’s an old thing, sometimes the best buy is the one you don’t buy.” Knowing what the cars are worth is essential, as some can draw six figure prices.
- Only U.S. Jaguar dealer with classics division
- Also offers Austin Healey, MG, Triumph, Lotus
- Museum-like atmosphere
- Most customers from area
While the rarity of these machines would suggest a more national sales pattern for JLR, 70 percent are sold to customers in the area, according to Terp. Some of that may stem from the fact that the store offers to service the vehicles, which are intended to be driven, Palan said. And, parts supplies are good.
Like the curator of a fine British car museum, he often engages customers in question and answer sessions about the classics. Palan can get as painstakingly specific as anyone would like. “We try to make sure we’re telling the customer exactly what’s going on with it so they know,” he said.
About 90 percent of the classic JLR cars arrive 80 percent ready for sale. The dealership will replace interiors and convertible tops, but generally doesn’t get into sheet metal repairs.
An owner of several classics himself, Palan says most people who have the new cars still love the history of the old cars.
“These were a work of art back in the day and they’re still beautiful,” he said.