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Royalty, rusting

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Fortunately I’ve never been badly afflicted with a craving for fancy cars. However, I’ve had a thing for Jaguars ever since I was a teen-ager — the sedans, not so much the sporty types. I came across this old guy today on a country backroad north of me, parked outside a garage. I believe it’s a 1957.

I was able to manage my thing for Jaguars by renting one occasionally for a road trip. One of the best road trips I ever had was in a Jaguar S-type, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, down Highway 1 along the coast. Driving down, when I was in the lane on the ocean side, I took it easy. But heading north on the return to San Francisco, with an empty lane between the car and a long descent into the Pacific, I must admit that I let that Jaguar show me what it could do, and it was thrilling …


  1. David L.M. Marcum wrote:

    I have always admired the Jaguar because of its distinctive appearance — sensuous curves, and unmistakable “British-ness.”

    For my 40th birthday, I gave myself a fully loaded Jaguar X-type 3.0 in British racing green. Despite the fact that it was a glorified Ford Taurus, it was a good, problem-free car. I loved driving it. It handled like a dream. There was plenty of pep. Earlier this year, I traded it in for a new Volvo S60. The Volvo isn’t HALF the car the Jag was. But it’s practical, safe and comfortable. Adhering to our mutual belief that we should live beneath our means, the Volvo was about half the price of a new entry-level Jag, so it seemed to be a wise decision. I do miss steering through those curves, though….

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    I certainly agree about the curves — both the curves in the Jaguar’s design, and the curves in Highway 1. I think that Ford could have done much worse in preserving the Jaguar DNA. I have similar feelings about my 2001 Jeep Wrangler. Jeep is an old brand too, but now it’s a Chrysler. Chrysler has altered the brand for the SUV Jeeps, but the Wrangler is still an honest Jeep. My Jeep is 10 years old and has required only one repair — a leaky oil seal at the rear axle. I’m quite sure that that was caused by the pounding of driving it on I-40 from California to North Carolina. 2,500 miles of potholes at 62 miles an hour is brutal punishment, even for a Jeep.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink
  3. David L.M. Marcum wrote:

    When I was in my teens, my parents had a Jeep Wrangler we used for camping trips. It was a lot of fun to drive in the summer. I used to take the top and doors off.

    Ford’s ownership was beneficial for Jaguar. They got the kinks out of the notoriously fickle motors. And they produced the more affordable X-type at the entry end of their range which allowed less affluent and younger buyers an opportunity to experience the brand. My X-type was a fun, reliable car. It was still a little quirky. The oil gasket always gave out just before it was due for an oil change. And since the gasket was covered under warranty, I never paid for an oil change the whole time I owned the car. When I last had my Jag serviced, the dealer loaned a new XF to me for the weekend as a temptation. It had a chic interior, but didn’t look, feel, or handle like a Jaguar at all. The Leaper hood ornament is now optional, rather than standard. It just isn’t the same. Hopefully, Jaguar’s new Indian owner, Tata, will not stray too far from Jaguar’s pedigree as they set about wooing a more hip (and less hip replacement aged) demographic. The XJ is still a thing of sleek metal beauty.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

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