Xclusively Jaguar – who are we and what do we do?
On the 17th March 1961, with great pomp and ceremony, Jaguar launched the E-type in Geneva. Obviously this did not come about without adequate preparation, and Chief Test Engineer, Norman Dewis, recorded that on the 8th of February 1961 he had a meeting with Gregor Grant, editor of Autosport, which initiated the comprehensive road test report featuring Coupe No.2 (9600HP).
While Norman was speaking to Gregor Grant about something which would change the way the world viewed sportscars, I was launched into the world, with none of the pomp and ceremony afforded to the E-type!
As a child I probably had more interest in cars than the average girl – I was an only child, and my enlightened parents bestowed me with an equal share of boys and girls toys – possibly intending to have only the one child they wanted to enjoy buying matchbox cars as well as dolls, who knows?
The outcome was that I would happily spend hours building roads in my sand pit and ‘driving’ my collection of matchbox sized cars round, creating pile-ups and rescuing the casualties with my recovery truck. Strange child – maybe I missed my calling? These days, I try to keep my cars on the road!
I spent most of my teenage years riding horses round the roads of Essex and by the time I was learning to drive, I thought I knew every car there was, however, while I was at college I walked past a factory every day and across the other side of the large private car park was a stunning car and one that I could not place. It intrigued me because it was as big as an American car but even to my amateur eye it had real style and oozed quality.
My driving instructor, realising that I was as interested in the cars as I was driving them, gave me a pile of old car magazines and on turning over the pages, voila, there it was …. JENSEN INTERCEPTOR – I fell in love with the name as much as I had the styling of this car, but why I have never owned one, and what cars came before my Jaguars, is another long story – this is about my Jaguar story, so I will fast forward to the relevant year.
It was late 2003, and looking for a sensible family estate my husband Nigel and I trudged from sales lot to sales lot, frowning at uninspiring cars in equally uninspiring colours, until suddenly we found ourselves standing either side of a bright red XJ6 with no price on it. “That’s nice!” Nigel commented, to which I replied “If it’s nice we can’t afford it, and if we can afford it, it’s not as nice as it looks!”
A month later, getting desperate, we returned to the same sales lot to see if anything new had come in. The red XJ6 was still there, now with a price tag of £2500 which was just within our budget. Like many people, we had assumed that Jaguars would be expensive, so my comment this time was “I told you it wasn’t as nice as it looks!”
Another fortnight, and we were watching Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson happened to make the remark “The Jaguar XJ6 is currently the best used car bargain on the market!” Nigel and I just looked at one another, and the next morning we were back at the sales lot arranging a test drive and reassuring each other that you could definitely fit as much in an XJ6 saloon as you could in the average family estate car ….and we later proved it !!
To be continued ……
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