One of my earliest memories of a “classic jag” was seeing a white Mk. II Jaguar turning into a gas station (probably on its way to the service bay, har har)…I thought it was the coolest car I’d ever seen. My father dismissed it as “something that would need a lot of work to maintain” and he also seemed to be of the impression that mere mortals couldn’t afford them. (Very smart man, my father.)
So when one turns up for sale (see photo), I always get a little interested. I “owned” one for a few months, though the title was never in my name and I was really just holding it for a friend. It was a dark blue 340, which was the very last of the body style, cheapened a bit with thinner bumpers and plastic trim instead of leather. It was a nice car to drive, though it ran out of brakes just as I turned into my street on the way back from a trip…I had just come off the freeway, too. And I mean it really ran out of brakes, nothing there at all. Half a mile earlier and I would have been in serious trouble.
It was a worn-out machine, though in its defence my friend paid a worn-out price for it. It had a leaking gas tank (if you filled it over halfway) and the brake problem, not to mention a fairly tired engine. For all that, it was a fun machine to drive.
The pictured machine is currently for sale for around $9,000, not a bad price but not a bargain. It’s somewhat rusty and a little crispy inside, with a slightly blown head gasket…you know the drill. I think it would be fun to have one as a “daily driver” but the car for sale seems really on the cusp of needing a complete teardown.
I do think old cars can be successfully pressed into “daily” service. But to do so reliably, they need to be well-maintained originals or need to be carefully restored. Trying to press this particular car into regular hack duties would be to invite a lot of fun quickly. That said, once a car is in decent mechanical condition, nothing keeps it that way more than lots of frequent use. Once you get past the hump of correcting years of wear and neglect, the machine will pay you back handsomely. And it’s the best kind of recycling.