My dream car…
Falling in Love with Cars
My journey towards ownership of my pride and joy starts at around 7 years old. As a young boy living on a council estate in Gateshead, North-East England, I had taken on a love of cars primarily from my old man. He’s always been a bit of a bargain hunter, so we always had a fair variety of cars in differing conditions, some reliable, some not so much.
The First Encounter
I remember my Dad coming home from work and taking me to the local Jag dealership just so we could dream of what life must be like to buy a brand new car. I already loved Jags, I had a model XJ220 in British racing green at home and while I wouldn’t see a real one in the metal for years to come, it was the XJ6 that I fell in love with.
As we were dreaming of how we’d spec our lottery win XJ6, one of the salesmen approached us, “Would you like to sit in one?” he said. I think my Dad was a bit surprised as we were obviously just looking but he opened the door for us and said: “You might not be buying one today but when your son grows up, he may well come back here and place an order.” Looking back I realise what a kind gesture that was and something that should be encouraged by manufacturers to draw in the next generation of petrolheads.
Fast forward to 2015 and I became the happy owner of a 1993 Eunos Roadster S Limited in black that was in beautiful condition. No rust, BBS wheels and a new set of GAZ coil overs in the boot ready to fit. I absolutely loved that car and had bought it for way under market value, it was definitely a long term keeper… until the floods hit.
I had parked in my work car park overnight when I was away on a job and later that evening, I received a phone call telling me that my 23-year-old Japanese import was fully submerged under water. I was absolutely gutted.
There was no chance I’d be able to find one similar for the money I got from the insurance. What made it worse was that later, I bought the car back to strip for parts as the chassis was deemed a total write off and unable to be used on the road again. During the stripping down process, I found that once the layers of mud and dirt were washed off, an even cleaner and rust free car was there than I was previously aware of.
Thoughts started turning to a replacement, a Subaru Impreza came to mind, an RB5 in particular, however, the insurance companies were sending back silly four figure premiums, so I needed to go back to the drawing board.
Starting the Hunt
My shortlist of Japanese performance cars was growing smaller and smaller thanks to a limited budget and costly insurance quotes, not helped by 3 points and an “at fault” claim for the flood write off to my name.
I had a bit of a light bulb moment and suddenly remembered about the deals to be made on cars with classic insurance, there was only one target from now on. By accident, I’d rekindled a dream that started nearly two decades before. The search for an XJ40 began.
PistonHeads, Autotrader, eBay, Car and Classic, e.t.c. had all been scoured to find my dream car. I wasn’t bothered about colour, just something relatively low miles, rust free, the 4-litre engine and facelift spec. The market appeared to be all over the place and I think it still is, sheds and MOT failures can be picked up for under a grand while low mileage pristine cars are nearer £10k.
Finding the One
After what seemed like forever, I came across an ad by a little dealer called Studio Cars of Preston in Weeton. It was a 1993 Flamenco red car with Doeskin leather and the facelift 4.0 engine, just like I’d been looking for. After ringing up and booking a viewing, I made my way down, not really knowing what to expect. Had I been looking at them with rose-tinted glasses? After all, they don’t exactly have the best reputation for reliability and as I’ve got older I’ve been able to experience a lot of different cars, had my taste changed with the passage of time?
First impressions were good. The car was sat in the centre of the warehouse spotlessly clean with all the paperwork and keys ready for us. After going over the car and the service history we took it out for a test drive, it didn’t disappoint. It was the first car I’d driven that made you feel important. The soft, thick, high quality leather seats made you feel relaxed and you looked out at the rest of the world over that long bonnet with a sense of isolation from the busy, bustling commuters in their inferior tin cans. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Getting back from the test drive we chatted with Tony, the owner of the dealership about the car and I soon put down a deposit and arranged a time for the car to be delivered to my house. Just like that, I’d bought the car I said I would all those years ago.
Living with the Big Cat
As of writing, I’m in my fourth year of ownership and while it’s not been completely smooth sailing (it was never going to be with an old British car), I’ve had a few niggles here and there which have been a bit of a pain, however, on the whole, I’ve loved it and my bond with the car has only grown stronger.
After not being all that bothered about the colour (more about condition), the Flamenco red paint has become one of my favourite features of the car. Jaguar definitely spent some money here. The depth of the paint is incredible and depending on light, is dark red with burnt orange highlights. I started my Instagram account based off documenting my ownership of the Jag, hoping to share it with likeminded people and actually remembering to take pictures of it like I didn’t do with many of my previous cars.
I’ve completed a few road trips in it, taken it to shows and added my own personal touches to it over the years. I installed a high-quality sound system and replaced the tear-drop style wheels with the more desirable lattice style ones. I’ve also had the car professionally under sealed but as with many classic cars, there is still work to be done to get it perfect. More road trips are in the pipeline and I don’t ever intend on selling it. With a lottery win now, the dream would be to send it to Jaguar classic works and have it undergo a nut and bolt restoration but even if that day never comes, I couldn’t be happier with my dream car.
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