Mr Allen, in answer to your XJS concerns, I can confirm as an owner and small-time modifier of one for the past 16 years, it’s mostly positive.
I do a few tarmac events, not to the level of Targa (too much coin for no return and only ‘you did it in that?’ accolades) but that’s another yarn.
My 1987 5.3 litre V12 has the ‘HE’ engine that came out in 1982. Pre-HE engines are better for performance mods but thirstier and less loved due to their age. The Lucas computer systems for fuel injection etc. were more refined as time went by. I’ve also fitted a fivespeed Supra ’box and done some inlet and exhaust and suspension mods so that it handles and goes quite well enough to embarrass a few ‘hot-rod’ Commodores and Falcons.
Parts are generally very reasonable priced. The expensive part is labour because many areas of the car were designed by contortionists with mechanical engineering degrees and very small hands, with no consideration whatsoever for the poor bastards that had to throw a socket wrench at it. Nothing is very difficult, it just takes an age and a day to achieve outcomes that should be a five-minute job.
I too, hankered for an E-type but given I also have your disease of motorcycle collecting, and a Twin Cam Escort and a Mini, I’d have to enter more serious negotiations with the finance ministry.
In summary, buy one, enjoy it and there is plenty of information out there to help you. Just get your head around what it is you wish to use it for then proceed accordingly. If you ever venture ‘far west’ (Perth, WA) I’m happy to talk XJSs over a refreshing beverage and a ride with some of the locals.
ED: Thanks for your words of reassurance, Dave. I’d also be looking at a V12 and it would have to be an HE version. I’m not too keen on a fast one, as my bikes scratch that itch, but an original-ish and well cared for XJS could well be in my future.