Way back in the early Sixties, my late father had a series of Jaguar saloons. Firstly there was a 1946 1.5 litre which he bought for £12. To me, at 12 years old, this car was magnificent, so much so, that I wrote to Jaguar at Coventry, telling them so, and in return I received three spiral bound brochures (with tissue interleaves) of their current range. The E-type, S-type and MK10. To this day I wish I’d kept those brochures, and I wish I had that 1.5 litre! At least I kept the Owner’s Handbook, complete with oil-stained pages from when my father tried to repair it.
He then bought a 3.5 litre, then a 2.5 litre, thinking he could cannibalise them to repair the first car! He didn’t think to look under the bonnets, because both the latter cars were six-cylinders, and not the four-pot Standard Vanguard engine.
We now fast-forward 10 years, and I’m 22 years old. Fed up with driving old Fords, I bought a 1967 240 (the Mk2 with skinny bumpers). It didn’t matter that it was only a 2.4, with vinyl non-reclining seats, it was a JAGUAR! It had an E-type style cylinder head with twin SU carbs and it did 120mph on the A38 in Devon. At least that’s what the speedo said….
I kept this car until 1975 when the Middle East oil crisis started, and the price of petrol quadrupled to over £1 a gallon, swiftly followed by an exorbitant rise in car insurance (to £38 fully comp). It was the last straw, the Jag had to go, to be replaced by a Ford Capri.
In 1978, I went to work for Ford Motor Co at Dunton in Essex, where I designed hundreds of mostly unseen components over the next 25 years, until retirement, and during that time Ford bought Jaguar (amongst others) and returned them to profit, before selling at a loss, to Tata of India…. How sad.