In 1961 Jaguar launched the astounding XKE and as a young 14 year old who enjoyed designing cars and sending them to car companies , I vowed that someday I would own one! Over the years, my interest in the XKE never waned and almost annually I would call the local Jaguar dealership to determine when the Jaguar Club would be holding their annual show. Although later on, my wife clearly understood this long held desire to own an XKE we both knew that the restoration of our old Victorian house and our son’s education came first and foremost . As the years wore on and our critical priorities and goals were being achieved, the XKE dream was finally within reach and a serious search began. To my surprise my wife couldn’t quite understand why I wouldn’t settle for a nice Mazda Miata! As I explained, the Miata was an excellent car , reliable and very capable …but it wasn’t an XKE!
So, after much internet surfing , I finally found what appeared to be a good candidate at a broker’s in Norwalk Connecticut. After contacting several Jaguar Clubs along the eastern seaboard to determine if anyone knew the car and soliciting advice from a Canadian expert on the marque, I was advised to check it out. Although my wife was still somewhat reluctant to commit,we agreed on taking the 7 or 8 hour trip from our home near Ottawa Ont. to Matt de Garmo’s shop in Norwalk. When we finally arrived and Matt removed the cover from the car it was immediately obvious to me,by the smile on my wife’s face,that THIS was indeed the car!
Overall it car was in very good condition and although the paint was old and tired , the second owner had put a considerable amount of money into the engine, interior and mechanicals and Matt de Garmo had a stack of receipts to prove it.
The original owners who lived in Chatham ,Massachusetts , went to the New York Auto Show in 1967 to purchase a Volkswagen Beetle! When they arrived at the show Mrs. Jarrett apparently saw a beige (Ascot Fawn) coloured Jaguar which she particularly liked . And as her husband explained , when she asked at the VW exhibit if she could get a VW in the beige color, they said no. Consequently they purchased the Jaguar XKE …even though Mr. Jarrett did not know what model of Jaguar had the beige color she so admired. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jarrett passed away just about the time we purchased the car and in my discussion with her husband, he related how they ordered the car in 1967 at the auto show, then in 1968 they flew to the UK and picked it up at Henlys on Piccadilly Circus. They then drove the car through Europe , put 4000 miles on it and finally put it on a boat in Portugal for delivery to New York. So, at the end of our conversation he told me , “when you and your wife go for a ride in that car, think of us because we really loved it!” And we do too !
We have now owned the car for almost 15 years and like the Jarretts ,we too believe that we have been caring custodians of this beautiful machine. Over the years we have driven it about 40,000 fun filled miles and met countless individuals who not only admire the car but also enjoy sharing their own XKE stories. And almost everyone we talk to had a father,friend ,uncle or brother who had one just like it!
It will be a very,very sad day when we have to say goodbye.