Under this section I have added just a few of the many articles I have had published, just scroll down and see if your favourite classic is included. I will be adding new stories regularly. To start off the Jaguar Mark 1 with a tale to tell.
The Most Northern Cat?
Picture the scene, May Bank Holiday Monday, Brands Hatch and I had been there since the early hours reporting on the Historic Masters event. It was hot and late afternoon as I walked back to the car park preparing myself for the 2 hour trip home. A line of classics were parked overlooking the start-finish straight and one caught my eye. The Mark 1 seemed to standout, it was calling me over so I thought what’s another five minutes? I took some pictures, the car loved the camera and visa-versa, a peek through the window and I concluded this car had a lot going for it. I waited around for a while in the hope of meeting the owner but no luck, so onwards to the car park. The Jaguar had left such an impression on me that before heading home I returned again and put a card through the small gap in the driver’s window, maybe we could meet up in the future. That evening John Rawlinson the custodian of this fine machine phoned and my luck got better as the car would be on show at Brands again the next day and I would be there, it was destiny. The next morning in perfect weather the car was placed in an open area and the story unfolded. First registered in 1957 at the halfway point in the production of the model and fitted with the 2.4 XK straight six mated to the 4 speed Moss gearbox, John has had the car since 1988 when the mileage was 59k. Just after purchase John decided that the car was going to be enjoyed and used with regular long trips, so a bottom end engine rebuild with a new clutch and renewed brake lines were carried out. The paint and bodywork is in lovely order and that is how it came into Johns hands, the Mark 1 hasn’t seen the inside of a body shop since 1988. The interior is original and although well used is in great condition, a real ‘gentlemen’s club’ feel as you ease into the driver’s seat behind the lovely four spoke steering wheel. The proof of a well-cared for machine continues with endless paperwork including original sales receipt (a lady from Eastbourne with a P/X of a Sunbeam Alpine), delivery paperwork plus all the old MOTs. I like to plan and enjoy a long trip in my old steed (Jersey and back is far enough) but the Arctic Circle I don’t think so! In 1998 John and his wife Kay set out on a Jaguar organised trip to travel from Oslo over the Arctic Circle and onwards up to the North Cape, the furthest point before specialist vehicles required. The trip put 3500 miles onto the Mark 1 and the reliability was about as good as it gets, just an adjustment of the voltage regulator halfway through. Last year at 90k miles the Jaguar was treated to a top end rebuild and continues to perform faultlessly only having the dynamo rebuilt and the voltage regulator was not to see the frozen north again. A Kenlowe fan installed, as we all know the older Jaguars hate sitting in traffic. Having covered 94600 miles to date and having 25 years together John has plans for the future and they are ‘more of the same’. I must confess to having more than just an admiration for this car; I have a 2.4 Mark 2 with the Moss box and John is a braver man than me, I would think more than twice about covering the kinds of distances the Mark 1 has been asked to do. Also the Mark 1 like the early XK120s have the lovely enclosed rear wheel (personal choice) something that disappeared with the wire wheel and knock off hubs. I feel all the cars fitted with these larger spats were more attractive, a sleeker line and dare I say more feminine; the camera likes the look that is for sure. My thanks to John for his time and help, there was a reason I was drawn to this car back in May, there are lots of reasons to appreciate this marvellous machine now you know the story. So if you ever find yourself visiting Ice Station Zebra look out for a Jaguar Mark 1 could well be John on one of his trips.