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Sunday, February 08, 2015

Seven and a Half: The dream car that got away...

Shortly before I joined the Navy, when I was "making a living" as a full-time short order cook and going to Boise State part time, I saw an ad in the paper that I had to check out.

A divorced lady with two kids was selling off the husband's E-Type convertible Jaguar.  It had a few minor dents and was missing the front bumper, but it was a solid car otherwise.  I test drove it a couple of times, and OH.  MY.  GOD... it was magnificent!  It was like the TR-6 but with twice the power and a hundred times the class.  People stare at you when you are in a convertible Jag.  The feeling I had while driving that car must be what heroin junkies are after when they shoot up.  It was heavenly.

The woman was asking $6000 for the car, and I would have bought it in a heartbeat for that much.  Problem was, nobody would lend me that kind of money, and it would have taken me years to save it.  I stayed in touch with the woman after joining the Navy, hoping to eventually save enough to buy it...  But she sold it before I ever got the chance :(

Here's what it looked like, color and all, although the paint wasn't quite as shiny:

This is the dashboard of the big cat.  Yes that is milled stainless steel, and yes you start it with the pushbutton on the dash after turning the ignition on.  250 kilometers per hour = 155 miles per hour, which the car can probably do.

This is what lurked under the hood:  A 3.8 liter, Triple carbureter, Dual Overhead Cam, Inline 6 cylinder engine, producing 265 horsepower.  A thing of great beauty, inside and out.

And... the experience was about like this:

The early Jags were awesome machines, but the later ones became heavier and even lost their great looks.  The headlights were raised up and lost their glass cover.  The dash became 100% vinyl and the cool toggle switches were replaced by cheesy rocker switches.  The motor went to 4.2 liters, but lost a carburetor, so the power stayed the same.  Eventually the inline 6 was replaced with a SOHC V-12, which still didn't make any more power than the original DOHC L-6.  Sad stuff.

Look at the poor fugly thing below, with its hideous hubcaps and ridiculous bumper.

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