I was eight when my mother got a little inheritance from her Mom's estate. True to her practical nature, she went car shopping. Rather than get what the family really needed, something like a Ford sedan, she fell I love with a Jaguar.
My father, realizing he was just one "Yes Dear" away from Automobile Heaven, broke down under the tremendous pressure and let her buy the car... I think it took him seven or eight seconds to give in.
Into the driveway rolled the most fabulous car our middle income neighborhood had ever seen: a gleaming white Jaguar XK-140 with red leather, a wood dash board,and wheel skirts.
They drove it for years, right up until I was a year away from getting a license. They sold it to to a mechanic for $700 just in time to keep the family insurance bill from going into outer space when I started to drive.
I got it back two years later for $200, and I may have over paid. The car was parked outside next to a salt water canal. Rust had found a natural breeding ground. Leather failed to hold up under two years of open windows and cats.* The wooden flooring was "C-thru", and the Lucas Electrical system was, well, as expected.
The learning curve began for me, and the family firm had a bunch of mechanics and body men who were willing to lend a hand. In a few weeks, the car had a rebuilt engine, repaired wiring, and a major rust-ectomy.
I drove it to college that fall, 2,600 glorious miles from New York to Arizona.
In Arizona I learned that:
The police will pull you over just to look at the car.
Electrical fires can be slowed down if you disconnect the battery really really fast.
The car could hit 120mph, but that was it. Forget 140.
If you blow a tire at 100 mph, the tire manufacturer will not honor the guarantee as there is nothing left for evidence. Just a bare wheel rim.
If you spin out at night, you could find yourself driving back the way you came, unintentionally.
Girls will pose for photos while sprawled over the hood of the car.
You can't speed, run red lights, or drive recklessly as everyone knows who you are.
You don't loan the car to a fraternity brother as it will take hours to compound out the hundreds of imbedded bugs the next morning.
Fathers of co-eds did not want you to drive too fast, especially military fathers.
A great deal could happen in the front seat, especially if she was a size four or less.
But all good things come to an end, and the car was sold after seven years. A size four let me know she saw it in Brooklyn years later. She said she wasn't sure as it had been repainted- but she checked out the interior and recognized it.
I wonder where it is now.
*Hagerty Insurance has a system for keeping mice out of your stored cars. They can do major damage, so pay attention. I do NOT recommend using cats......