Thursday, December 17

Lovely Lost Jaguars - Praktica Update

Inspired by CycleDog provocation, I noticed there was a roll of exposed film I'd taken with my Praktica, described here. When I got it back, from Walgreens, I found the pictures were from nine years ago, from the Seattle Jaguar Club Mercer Island Concours d'elegance. It was the last car show from Felix's last all-out show season. BY THE WAY, when I was in at Walgreens (we drove), I made sure to ask the clerk where their bicycle parking was. When told there was none, I innocently inquired if, in that case, it was OK to walk my bike with me while I shopped next time I came, as long as I was careful. Now I checked, so Buddy has official Walgreens permission.

Elegant in a different way than the prewar Raleigh, shown here, the SS100 Jaguar is officially a classic. When new, it cost less than Buddy. Now it'd be more expensive than most houses to get one. I doubt that you'll see one of these behind you, impatiently honking. They're proud products of an English heritage that's faded with the years, and which the world will not see again. By the way, Jaguar before the war was a model name, NOT the name of the company that built the cars. After the war, the company founder, Sir William Lyons, decided that "SS" was not a good name for marketing purposes, even for an English company.

SS100 Jaguar from the Patrick Hart Estate

After the war, the English dropped back quite a way, and began to produce cars for export in much larger numbers. Still, for many years, they hadn't forgotten elegance. The car below is a late 1950's Mark IX Jaguar, driving down a sidewalk to its assigned spot on the field. The Mark IX was the successor to the Mark VIII, as shown in the classic Hitchcock film, Vertigo. Looking very much like a contemporary Rolls Royce, these cars were quick, quiet, and spacious.

Mark IX Jaguar

Mamavee rides a trike on a daily basis around Massachusetts. This carries on a tradition made famous by products from the Morgan works. Shown below, sitting in the spectator parking lot, is a prewar (in this case, the war is WWII) Morgan trike. These could carry three, just as MamaVee's trike can. Morgans DID make a lot more noise. I think you'll not find one of these behind you, impatiently looking to pass, unless you're a slow vehicle at an historic car race. Even ChipSeal doesn't often ride his bike around Laguna Seca on race day. Probably because none of the track occupants are actually going anywhere.

Morgan, complete with J.A.P engine

They call it "Concours d'elegance." But that's a bit of a misnomer. Take a look at the two pictures below and look carefully at what people are actually doing. Their hands tell the story. Despite all the trappings, these sorts of events are truly more stressful than driving into Dallas during rush hour. At this event, the spectators have the most fun. I think the spectators that had the most fun of all were some cyclists that rode to see the show on their mountain bikes. Their favorite car was one of the newest, a Jaguar XJ220 that I don't include in these photos.

Jerry Purcell, showing his black XK120 for the first time
You can tell real confidence when an entrant is not polishing stuff!
Mike Markey (in the hat), eggs him on


XK140 getting shined up. Compare the bumpers with the XK120 above


The closing shot is my favorite. It is of the Terry McMichael "Devil Car" in its one and only competition against Felix. Terry's XJ6C had undergone a complete ground-up restoration, by Terry, who really knew the finer points of correctness. Everyone told us he was going to kick our butts and my daughters really DID refer to it as "that Devil Car." After all, Felix was merely well preserved, with "baby poo brown paint," and not a no-holds-barred restoration. In 1976, Jaguar build quality was not the best. Everyone was wrong, and Felix retired with another Class win. If you show a Jaguar, make sure your backup lights work...

Terry McMichael, with Bruce MacCormack behind, confident
that "The Devil Car" will soon be taking home a win
- He WAS a good sport about things, however

Hey Terry, I just noticed those windshield wiper arms are wrong!
I think you ought to give Virgil a rebate...

2 comments:

Ed W said...

Provocation? Me? I wouldn't dream of it! But...those are some very nice, shiny cars.

Chandra said...

Cool cars! Which is most like the "red car"?
The one with the 3 wheels is eye-catching.

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