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An Affair To Remember—XKE & British Sports Cars


#1

The life-long attraction to XKE’s and British sports cars started years before I could drive. My sister is 10 years older than me and her first cars were an MGA and a Triumph Spitfire. My first car was a ’67 Triumph TR-4A in August ’68 while in high school and working at a restaurant. I recently ran across and framed the page I had cut out and saved in ‘68 from my mother’s Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog of his and hers Jaguars….an XKE coupe and a Brazilian jaguar coat….the coat costing more than the XKE.
Right after graduation I started work in parts at a Triumph, Fiat, Rover and Toyota dealer which unfortunately ended up dropping everything but Toyota. I worked full-time summers and part-time throughout undergraduate years. While there, I bought a ’68 Triumph GT-6+ that was taken in on a trade-in for $735. Had an opportunity to drive an XKE which locked in the desire to have one. In February ’73, finally got my dream car……a ’68 Primrose Yellow XKE convertible…….preferred an earlier model in a different color, but that’s what was available. It really hurt to have to sell it in May ’75 in order to have enough money to complete the last 6 months of an MBA.
After that graduation and then working at an oil company, I was able to get a ’71 Triumph TR-6 in ’77 and over the years did a lot of restoration work. After being there for a decade, there were massive layoffs in the oil industry and I had to sell the TR-6 in ’87. I’m not a mechanic, but did spend hundreds of hours fumbling through manuals and tons of what would be considered minor repairs on all of the cars……particular “fondness” for the issues with Lucas. Even with the numerous problems to deal with, I appreciated all the time spent with each car.
Life situations prevented being able to consider having another sports car for the next 23 years. Jaguar was always “it” so as the search began, the XK8 was the closest feel to the classic and an ’02 XK8 in great shape was the first return in October ’10. Absolutely enjoy the XK8, but missed the classic XKE. Looked at quite a few here in the Houston area, but were all requiring a lot of work. Actually located the original ’68 through maintained records showing the chassis number 1E16845 and searching xkedata.com. It’s now at a dealership in North Carolina and would have loved to have it back, but after buying the XK8, couldn’t afford to.
Finally selected a ’71 XKE Series 2 Coupe on EBay from Florida in June ‘11. I bought a 40 year old one during the 50th Anniversary of the E-Type in my 60th year. The owner had been a Jag mechanic in the 70’s and subsequently a Regional Service Manager for British Leyland. He owned this car for a decade and had done a ton of restoration and was selling in order to buy another British project sports car to work on with his grandsons. This seemed to be the safest choice I could find.
There’s been fantastic response when driving around and met a lot of great people through this experience. A picture of it was selected for this year’s calendar from Jag parts supplier Welsh Enterprises. It placed Best Of Class – Driven Division in October ’11 at the local JCNA Concours. I was out of town for the ’12 Concours, but my sister and brother-in-law were able to take it instead and had a great time. This worked out perfect and made things come full circle since she was the one who inspired my affection for British sports cars. Driving an XKE brings both a thrill and tranquility that is the greatest therapy imaginable.


#2

That is one classy car.


#3

Thank you!!! Love all classic cars……took me a couple of decades to be able to get one again………