At Herefordshire business The Smallest Cog, a fervent crowd gathered with one burning question on their minds: “Which of these two classic Jaguars would you take home?” This tension-filled event was hosted by former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond.

At the heart of the event stood two majestic Jaguars, Richard’s beloved XJR and a fellow competitor’s XKR X100, both boasting stories as riveting as their exterior aesthetics.

Richard’s Jaguar, having been meticulously restored to its original grandeur, echoed his deep-rooted passion and affinity for the automobile. It had passed through several hands before returning to Richard. Its previous stint with him was cut short, as he had to part ways with it temporarily for someone else to enjoy its magnificence. Yet, the reacquisition of the vehicle heralded not just a simple wash and brush-up, but a journey of rediscovery. The car underwent serious restoration, fixing structural issues and adding a polished finish to its allure. The work carried out on it was half orchestrated by Richard himself, truly embodying his dedication and love for the car.

Then came Mike’s Jaguar, an XKR X100 with an intriguing history. The car had travelled across the globe, being built in Jaguar in Coventry, then shipped to the States with left-hand drive before it found its way to Japan, eventually ending up at the Smallest Cog. Mike’s Jaguar didn’t demand as much restoration as Richard’s, its main facelift involved a full respray to remove sun-damaged paint, and the replacement of the old bullbar with a clean, stylish grille.

Though both vehicles held their unique allure, Richard and Mike faced a daunting task - they were going up against each other in a popularity contest, trying to convince the passionate Jaguar enthusiasts club that their car was superior. The deciding factor? A simple question - if the keys to both cars were on the table, which keys would the club members pick up to take home?

Hammond’s XJR narrowly squaked out a win with 22 votes to Mike’s XKR with 18.

This epic clash of Jags proved once again that the love for cars runs deep in the hearts of enthusiasts. Richard Hammond’s assertion rang true: regardless of the competition’s outcome, each Jaguar was indeed the nicest car they’ve ever ended up with on the channel.