Category Archives: Jaguar

What should Santa drive?

Santa's 'stang

Santa’s ‘stang

As Boxing Day approaches we were taken with a pristine ’65 Mustang convertible in red with a white top. It struck us as the perfect vehicle for Santa Claus if he were to ever cut that flying sleigh and reindeer loose.  It’s festive, fun and sports the right color combination for the jolly one.

Santa's macho rig

Santa’s macho rig

Then, again, it doesn’t have a huge trunk so the question of where the stash the presents looms.  Perhaps this huge ’63 Dodge Power Wagon would be the right answer to St. Nick’s theoretical quest.  It’s red and white so the color combo fills the bill and the pick up bed would accommodate lots of loot.  It’s a lifted four wheel drive truck which means snow drifts could be successfully challenged.  The fact that it’s a crew cab means he could bring along some staff to help with the schlepping.

Wagoneering at the pole

Wagoneering at the pole

If he were to seek a bit more civilized conveyance he could try this terrific Jeep Wagoneer that dates from the days when Jeep was a product of American Motors.  The same basic truck, produced successively by Willys, Kaiser, American Motors and Chrysler, was introduced in 1962 and continued in production through the 1991 model year.  It certainly has more creature comforts that the Dodge Power Wagon but not quite the payload.  Unlike the Mustang, he wouldn’t be able to take the top down which leads us to this early ’70s International Harvester Scout finished in spruce green .  It’s got four wheel drive and the top comes off and the exterior color offers a nice contrast to Santa’s outfit.

Green machine

Green machine

But what of the little guys?  Yes, the elves need appropriate wheels and we’ve come up with a few suggestions for them.

Elves' pet Met

Elves’ pet Met

What about this Nash Metropolitan convertible we found at a light the other day?  The color combo is right up Santa’s alley and the continental kit means the miniscule trunk has that much more space.

Sprite-o!

Just buggin’

Or what about this Austin-Healey Sprite, a “bug eye” that dates from the late ’50s. It certainly gives the Metropolitan (with which it share the same motor, by the way) a run for the money in the cute department.  It would seem to compliment Santa’s Mustang very nicely.

Mini for the help

Mini for the help

Lastly, for the little folks, we suggest this very original Austin Cooper, the Mini that started it all.  The sliding windows saved British Motors, its manufacturer, money on the mechanics of roll down windows and created a tiny bit more space for stuffing presents in the door shelves.  BMC actually built the Metropolitan for American Motors as well as the Sprite and the Mini.  It’s a wonder they couldn’t stay in business.

Next year if you don’t hear the sound of hooves on your roof but, rather, a Mustang, Power Wagon, Wagoneer, Scout, Metropolitan, Sprite or Mini you’ll know why.

The Bug Eye Guy has lots of Sprites for sale and, yes, they all have human names.  With a face like that it’s only to be expected.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Gift rack optional

Gift rack optional

 

 

Jag-u-ahs lurking in the urban wild

 

About to pounce

About to pounce

Being the creature of habit that we are, we take the same route each morning for an non-motorized jaunt.  This circuit never fails to bring us into proximity with a ’69 Jaguar, an XJ 6 as it tells us in a huge font on the trunk lid.  No, we’re not going to call it a “boot” lid because boots are worn on one’s feet.   We admit the car isn’t in the best of shape but we do know it runs.. it dutifully goes from one side of the street to the other and doesn’t accrue parking tickets.  There’s a significant gash on the left side front door — you can almost see the window mechanism within and it wears just two out of four wheel covers.

Holy relic

Holy relic

Still, we’re fond of this old Coventry-born trouper.  It has an air of an old money aristocrat (or, perhaps, gone money) that lends it a certain dignity in decay. You can almost smell the moth-eaten Harris Tweed.

Lump taker

Lump taker

Look at the “cathedral” style tail light lens – a shapely work of art crafted by Joseph Lucas Limited,  the UK parts supplier that has long been the butt of rude jokes uttered, quite predictably and drearily so,  by “car guys” who think it’s funny to tell the same joke countless times. Har!      In the tighter shot, you can actually read the numerals ’68’ in bas-relief but we’re betting this is registered as a ’69 because it wears year-appropriate, federally mandated, side markers.  Sorry about all the geeking out but this car was in production pretty much uninterrupted (except by many strikes) from introduction in 1968 through three mild updates over the course of an almost quarter century run so it’s quite a significant piece.  It was, almost sheepishly, replaced by a series of Ford-fostered XJs, the styling for which was unabashedly based on their swingin’ sixties forbear.

Place of worship

Coventry cathedral

Extreme CLOSE-UP!

Extreme CLOSE-UP!

This car is a real inspiration to feral aficionados, especially because it is, arguably, a bridge to unite the automotive kind, like us, and the feline oriented ones — like us.  That leaping hood ornament is the link.

Faded Jag's "good side"

Faded Jag’s “good side”

The left side (where the steering would most definitely not be in home market cars) is quite unblemished but we’re tempted to take up a collection to buy hub caps.

Nice kitty

Nice kitty

This one is powered by the same 4.2 liter straight six used in the XK-E, officially ‘E-Type,’ but c’mon, who says “E-Type” if they’re not smoking a meerschaum pipe?  Which is to say there’s a powerful cat lurking under that formal facade.  Actually this generation XJ was quite a radical departure for Jaguar.  E-Type acceptance — there, we said it — may have emboldened Jag to discard post-war styling  that related more to the ’30s and ’40s than to the ’50s and ’60s.  The XJ6 was competitive with Mercedes S-Class, BMW’s 7 series and all manner of Lincolns and Cadillacs.  Because of, ahem, mobility issues, they’re much less common than those pretender makes.  As you are, doubtless, aware, Jaguars of this period, marked by the British auto industry’s fast fade into non-existence, don’t have the best reputation for reliability.  It’s a fact that there quite a few were converted to GM 350 V8 power in the ’70s and ’80s, a very decisive way to deal with questionable UK components and build quality.

Slick Brit

Slick Brit

It’s always exciting to behold an XJC, a somewhat limited production variant of a car that’s already highly regarded for its beauty if not its utility.  This XJC 12, a pillarless two door “hardtop” version that is, in some ways, the ultimate expression of the XJ. This example is one of just 1,873 12 cylinder ( 5.3 liter) cars built, both left and right and drive. That’s  out of a total of 10,000 for both 6 and 12 cylinder models produced over a span of just four model years, ’73 – ’78.

White cat coupe

White cat coupe

The big bumpers of this ’77 compromise the machine’s inherent grace but it’s still lithe looking for such a heavy car. That vinyl top was applied out of necessity.  Explanation: because the car’s structure lacked the bracing that a solid pillar between the front and rear side windows affords, it had some tendency to flex which would crack the paint on the roof.  Necessity, being the mother that it is, prompted Jaguar to adopt the American look of vinyl topping but we think they pulled it off quite tastefully.  Please note the lack of opera lights and/or gratuitous stuffing and tufting as one would expect in an analogous domestic car that relates to this niche market such as Cadillac’s gargantuan Eldorado or Lincoln’s Continental Mk V, offering in Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy and Pucci designer editions.

Crack the code in style

Crack the code in style

One on this on each side: ambidextrous fill-ups

One of these on each side: ambidextrous fill-ups!

Feral Cars Field Scout Bonnie Ruttan captured this big bumpered XJ, probably an ’80 or ’81, on the mean streets of Pasadena, CA. The roulette wheel-themed steel wheels are a sporty but, somehow, generic, touch.

Rubber bumper buddy

Blue pate special

To the best of our knowledge the motor hasn’t been swapped out for a GM 350 as found in Chevy Malibus, Olds Cutlasses and all manner of Buicks and Pontiacs though we do understand that a member of nobility must do what one can to keep up appearances and occasionally avail oneself of trustworthy transport.

Place your bests, black or alloy

Place your bests, black or alloy

We found this pretty awesome ’73 XJ6 in nearby Wilton, CT. It’s a low mileage (70K) beauty in great shape offered for a mere $14,500.  What could possibly go wrong?  Just to confirm we’re not blowing smoke about switching to Chevy power click here to see about modular conversion kits to put an American heart in your British kitty.

Cat's eye view

Cat’s eye view

Dig this French commercial for the XJ from back in ’76.  The tag line translates to “Jaguar, one of two or three better things that a man should demand of life.”  This has us thinking about the the other one (or two) things implied here.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Battle of the “X”s

E marks the spot

E marks the spot

Pardon our gushing but it’s not everyday one sees a Jaguar E-Type series 1 (1961 – 1968) roadster casually parked in a 30-minute green zone, top down, one window rolled up and the other down.  It’s an XKE to most of us but the official designation is E-Type.  Whatever you choose to call it, it’s one of the most groundbreaking automotive designs of the last fifty years of the 20th century, as indicated by this early promotional film.

McSwell

McSwell

Yes, it’s an English car, built in Coventry, deep in the heart of the West Midlands, so here’s where the reliability jokes go including the one about the electrical system being made by Joseph Lucas  a/k/a “Prince of Darkness.”  We don’t really care because this thing is just so thrilling to behold standing still and we’re not even taking into account the fact that, when it works, it’s capable of nearly 150 mph.

Coventry cool

Coventry cool

It’s more than a car, it’s a symbol of an era, as conjured up in the Austin Powers (“Oh beee-have and get into my Shaguar”) series and in numerous pop songs including Jan & Dean’s “Deadman’s Curve”

I was cruisin’ in my Stingray late one night
When an XKE pulled up on the right
He rolled down the window of his shiny new Jag
And challenged me then and there to a drag
..and “Our Car Club” by The Beach Boys
I’ve been cruisin’ round the town, now
With the guys for quite a while
Oh, we been thinkin’ ’bout starting up a club
That shows some class and style
And we’ll get the finest cars
We got a Deuce Coupe
A Stingray, a rail job and an XKE
We’ll start a car club

Let’s not forget The E-Types, a rock band from Steinbeck country — Salinas, CA —  who made some noise in the wake of the British Invasion.  Here they are on the Santa Cruz boardwalk performing their almost hit, “I Can’t Do It,” in fine fashion.  There’s also a modern era Swedish Eurodance artist who calls himself ‘E-Type’ (real name: Bo Martin Erik Eriksson). We’re talking long-lasting brand equity with that sobriquet.

The "X "stands for 'Xcess;' the "L" for 'Lookahere!'

The “X “stands for ‘Xcess;’ the “L” for ‘Lookahere!’

Almost concurrent with our Jaguar discovery was an encounter with a very different kind of car from the same time period: a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible finished in Wimbeldon White and (very) red vinyl interior. The zaftig Ford, powered by a 390 cubic inch V8 (vs. E-Type’s 3.8 liter/232 cubic inch straight 6), makes no pretense of being a sports car, despite the bucket seats and floor mounted (automatic) gear selector.  The big Ford weighed 3800 pounds, the Jaguar is 1,000 pounds lighter.

Big ass Ford

Big ass Ford

Still, we think that Galaxie is pretty cool, with its giant tailights, grinning grill, quad headlights and gratuitous chrome and concomitant colorful emblems.  Our Jag doesn’t have anything of the sort yet it really can’t be called a subtle design; its silhouette is downright phallic and that, perhaps, makes more of a statement than gobs of chrome and badging slapped on.

Immediate seating

Immediate seating

The E-Type wears but one marker indicating the manufacturer.  “Jaguar” on its hind quarters is the only type in evidence and there’s the cat emblem in the middle of that gaping maw of a non-grill.  “E-Type,” (or XKE) isn’t inscribed anywhere on the car — no wonder there’s ongoing confusion about the proper designation.  The Ford, on the other hand, is a rolling billboard. There’s no doubt as to what it is: a big ol’ brassy car with lots of heft, swagger and bright ‘n’ shiny stuff.

Here's kitty, kitty

Here kitty, kitty

What kind of Ford did you say this was?

What kind of Ford did you say this was?

While these two are a study in mid-century contrasts we like them both a whole lot.  We’re quite smitten with the Jaguar; it’s sophisticated and sleek yet vexingly temperamental. The Ford is broad, bawdy and brash — and will start up more often then not.  What’s not to love about that?

Click here to see the notorious suicide attempt by Mad Men‘s Lane Pryce, played by Jared Harris, whose plot to do himself in was thwarted by an uncooperative E-Type. Talk about stereotyping!  Jay Leno has one that he claims works well as you can see here.

And while you’re at it, see if you don’t agree that the man who drives a Galaxie 500XL “has got what it takes, a real flair for elegance, confidence and sophistication personified” in this copy- heavy Canadian commercial. 

We found a clean ’64 Galaxie 500 XL convertible, equipped with a 390 cubic inch V8 just like ours, in nearby Beaverton, OR for a mere $16,000.  Seems like a bargain and you can bet it’ll start when you really, really want it to.   If your preference is to roll the dice and spend a wad of dough, we’d suggest this ’64 XKE that’s on offer in swanky Beverly Hills for $98,500.  It could save your life should you ever want to end it.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

British idles

Humans are actual size

Humans are actual size

We offer an original Mini Cooper here, bookended by Amy and Scott who, we freely admit, are tall individuals but do provide some human scale as testimony as to just how tiny these are.  They were built in mass numbers from 1959 until 2001 by British Motor Corporation, formed by a merger between Austin and Morris.  The original Mini was just voted Britain’s Best Car of All Time by the readers of Autocar. So take that, Aston-Martin, Armstrong-Siddeley and other hyphenates (Rolls-Royce?) too numerous to mention! Today’s version is built by BMW, which insists that the brand be formatted as MINI.  Isn’t the use of all upper case letters tantamount to shouting? Pipe down!  It’s huge by comparison.  The original weighs in at something like 1400 pounds and the new, ALL CAPS, edition weighs more than twice that amount.

All ears

All ears

FeralCars Field Scout Heather Crist captured this Mini variant, a 1969 Riley Elf, just the other day.  It’s a more deluxe version with an extended trunk and luxury interior and never, officially, imported (note: steering wheel on the “wrong” side).  We don’t think the Union Jack painted on the roof came standard but, hey, who are we to suggest not letting one’s freak flag fly?

We encountered a stunning ’65 3.8 litre Jaguar Mk 2, the other day and were, frankly, enthralled.  The interior replicates the leather and wood look of a mens club and the curvy body lives up to its feline moniker.

Jagadelic

Jagadelic

Mark of the beast/Nice kitty!

Nice kitty but we’ll NEVER pronounce it “Jag-You-Wahr”

Today the British motor industry is essentially, foreign owned.  Of course there’s Ford and GM’s Vauxhall, which are American controlled and Jaguar and Land Rover which are, most improbably, part of Tata of India. Stifle those titters, will you please?  MINI is under BMW control; Rolls Royce, too,  is a vassal of BMW while Bentley is Volkswagen’s English trophy marque.  Lotus is owned by a Malaysian conglomerate and Aston Martin is funded by a consortium of Italian, American and Kuwaiti investors and headed by Stuttgart-educated CEO Ulrich Bez who just made a deal with Mercedes’ AMG division to provide engines for these “British” supercars.  It’s kind of sad that the only British-owned car makers today are niche players Bristol, Morgan, Caterham and McLaren.

 

B all you can be

B all you can be

MG was once had significant presence in the US market and is now, for better or worse,  a Chinese brand. There are still lots of MG B roadsters in various states of repair to be found as these recent shots attest.

Sometimes it B like that

Sometimes it B like that

Triumph was MG’s big competitor in the US sports car market.  Not sure if they actually offered them in fuchsia as seen on this “tasteful” TR-6

Union jack on

Union jack: on

In the 1950s and ’60s, and into the ’70s British cars were a real presence in the American market but faded out, almost completely when such brands such as Hillman (that’s one below) Humber, Austin, Morris, MG, bit the dust. To be sure, there’s a resurgence going on with current sales successes enjoyed by MINI, Rolls, Bentley, Land Rover, Jaguar but, again, all of those brands are foreign owned.  Dare we say it? The sun may very well have set on the British automotive empire.

Over the hill, man

Over the hill, man

We found a film clip shot at the 1961 Earls Court car, ahem, motor show and there’s actually a Riley Elf featured!  You simply must check it out!

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MK IX mk’d down

This little beauty has got to go!

This little beauty has got to go!

Not too long ago we discovered a rare and stately 1959 Jaguar MK IX (“mark nine” to us commoners) and posted some photos and a commentary about it which you can read here.

With the bearing of a Rolls and the sporting affect of the Jag that it is, it made a big impression on us but we’re not alone.  Our friends at Bring A Trailer spotted this very car for sale on Craigslist for $11,000.

Seems like a bargain insofar you get so much for comparatively little but the truth is this kitty could use some work to bring it up to snuff.  Still, we like to think that even as a quasi-static piece of sculpture, it has real charm.  If you threw another $20K into it you might be able to drive it around and impress the punters.

One more, we present its sumptuous rear seating/dining area for your perusal.

Tray tables set in the downright position

Tray tables set in the downright position

We mentioned that Kim Novak drove one in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and found a still from the film to share. Our assumption is that Kim’s Madeleine character threw herself into the chilly waters beneath the Golden Gate Bridge because she just couldn’t deal with her Jag’s dodgy electrical system.  Jimmy Stewart, who drove a ’56 DeSoto (see below) in the film, fished her out most gallantly.

Kimmy and Jimmy

Jimmy saves Kimmy

 

Groucho sent him

Groucho sent him