How we restored a Jaguar E-Type
My husband Dave’s pet project, which quickly became our project, began in 1996, when Dave and his brother attended a Jaguar Concours in Oakville, Ont., and “the wives” were invited to tag along. I had no idea what to expect, as I didn’t even know what a concours was at the time.
Upon arrival, we were met with row upon row of beautiful Jaguars lined up in a lovely parkland setting. Most of the cars looked as if they had just been driven off a new car lot, but that was misleading-many were half a century old.
The term “car show” does not adequately describe the event; as I soon discovered, a concours is a competition of elegance-similar to a beauty pageant-in which the entrants are judged, critically and thoroughly. But weren’t all Jaguars elegant and almost identical? By the end of the day, I had picked up on some of the differences and learned that an E-Type Jaguar was Dave’s dream car, or as he put it: “The one I lust after.”
Little did I know that in a few years, I would be taking part in a concours, facing the same scrutiny from earnest-looking judges carrying clipboards. As you’ve surmised, Dave did indeed purchase an E-Type. He bought it on eBay in 2001, sight unseen. The two of us shared the somewhat harrowing experience of driving to the outskirts of New York City to trailer it home.
I have to admit that the first glimpse of our car did not leave me with a feeling of excitement. As we returned with the Jaguar in tow, however, I learned we did indeed have something special on the trailer. Big-rig truck drivers would pull up beside us, then slow down so they could take a better look, giving us a nod of approval or a thumbs-up. One tollbooth attendant enthusiastically inquired, “Where did you get that beauty? She goes up to 150 m.p.h., you know!” And several patrons at an all-night gas station inspected the car as we were filling up, and even asked for a longer viewing time once we were fuelled and ready to go.
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