Kubrick’s Jaguar memories: XJ12s and more | CAR Magazine

Jaguar & Me | Kubrick's Jaguar memories

Published: 08 June 2010 Updated: 26 January 2015

Once upon a time there was a small boy, about seven years old, who had taken an interest in cars at a rather early stage, mainly thanks to his old man, who was (and, thankfully, still is) a car enthusiast and, back in those days, a staunch supporter of a certain Southern German marque. This naturally meant that the small boy would sometimes be a bit annoyed by his father’s occasionally overbearing passion, but at the same time usually knit his eyebrows himself whenever he came across something sporting four wheels but no blue & white propeller (which, he believed, was the way things were supposed to be). So the foundations had been laid to turn this very young chap into a proper petrolhead one day, but his interest remained relatively casual and moderate until that one fateful evening. His parents had invited friends over for dinner. And they were arriving in not just any car – but a Jaguar!

It was an XJ12, that much he understood by looking at the boot lid (twelve cylinders – automotive nobility!), which impressed him. But there could have been a Vespa engine under that bonnet for all he cared – what mattered was the way this thing looked. Never before had he seen a sculpture as knee-tremblingly gorgeous (a term this author would only ever use when truly appropriate) and elegant. Even his father’s beloved executive saloon seemed positively agricultural parked next to this astonishing machine. So the boy wandered around the Jaguar for what felt like an eternity and, even though the car would later on somewhat spoil the mood by refusing to start, swore to himself: one day I’ll have to own one of these…

Since then the young boy has turned into a (relatively) grown-up young man. Cars are still among his favourite pastimes, but the impression of that night has never quite left him, even though there was a time when new products coming from Coventry made him sad rather than enchanted.

It actually took him years to find out what that car that had bedazzled him so profoundly had been like in detail – colour (solent blue), model (XJ12, Series III) and what those alloy wheels are called (pepperpot!) were pieces of information he gathered with great relish. In those pre-internet days such an investigation was actually no mean feat!

Years and years later, once our subject felt in solid enough a financial situation, he couldn’t resist the temptation any longer: a Jaguar XJ it would have to be. But instead of the UK bargain facilitated by beneficial exchange rates he had originally envisaged he actually found what he’d been looking for almost around the corner.

There have been many happy hours spent behind the XJ’s wheel and, it has to be said, there have been as a fair share of annoyances, as well. But even when the whole ownership experience seems at its most absurd he still understands: he just wouldn’t want to have it any other way. There simply is just no other car like a Jaguar.

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By Kubrick