It’s hard to believe the ZT 260 happened, really. Just two years from going into administration, Britain’s last domestically owned car maker swapped the driven axles around on its unassuming executive saloon and shoehorned a 4.6-litre Mustang V8 into the engine bay.
Cue raucousness on a par with even the rortiest super-saloons to leave Munich and Affalterbach. It wasn’t so much the 252bhp output of the V8 that set hearts racing as the tyre-destroying 410lb ft of torque – 26lb ft more than the V10-powered E60-generation BMW M5 produced. The 260 could crack 0-62mph in a hair over six seconds and surge noisily onwards to 155mph, but it would put a grin on its driver’s face at any speed. Fire up YouTube on your next tea break and watch some videos. That intimidating grumble hasn’t been added in the edit: it really does sound like that.
It’s one of the most unassuming Q-cars of its era, looking for all the world like a subtly tricked-out Rover saloon but packing a hefty Yankee punch. The heart transplant was carried out by slick automotive surgeons Prodrive and was complemented by the installation of a Dana limited-slip differential, Tremec five-speed manual gearbox (a slightly less lively auto option was available) and a quad-exit exhaust.
Levels of polish and refinement were left wanting somewhat and you could spend the £11,950 asked for this (extremely late) 56-plate car on a newer and better-appointed Audi RS4, but there are plenty of them around. Do your bit for an endangered model and have some fun while doing so.
Volkswagen Passat W8, £1700: Another smirk-inducing proposition, although you won’t be laughing when its 183,000-mile eight-cylinder motor suddenly expires. Still, it’s a rare and plush thing and you can tell everyone that your car has half a Veyron engine while you ‘W8’ for the recovery truck.
MA: Your oversized Cruiser will sup just as much, plus diesel is still pricier than petrol. Anyway, no Mondeo of the time had such a well-turned-out interior or came with four-wheel drive.
FP: Fair point, but then a Mondeo’s maintenance bills would also be a fraction of the cost of the Jag’s (not to mention less frequent).
MA: Again, marginally unfair because there’s also a four-wheel drive system to maintain, but mine’s got a full service history and clean MOT for peace of mind.
Verdict: That Land Cruiser is not just sharp, it’s reliable too.