Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Laying Eggs and Squealing Tires

Of Chicken Eggs and Jaguars

We eat chicken before it is born and after it is dead: My good friend Jim and I were to meet the other day for lunch. He’d had a hankering for an omelet for days so we went to a joint whose specialty is the omelet. It was closed. I teased him about being the first person ever to be thrown out of a joint when it was closed. Jim took my teasing well and our conversation turned to gas prices and how this generation of youngsters will never know the freedom and joy that we, the car generation knew.

Just for car lovers: By car lovers I do not mean the back seat of a 1949 Packard. Only a certain age group will understand that. Suffice it to say that any child born in the back seat of a car with an automatic transmission probably grew up to be a shiftless bastard. Cars were a huge part of the lives of those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. Any kid who had wheels was immediately bolstered in status in the eyes of his peers as well as the eyes of the opposite sex. My first car was a ’47 Willys Jeep panel truck, purchased for $ 200 in 1958. I was almost two years away from my 16th birthday so I was not exactly legal behind the wheel but I convinced my father to allow me to have the Jeep by using is as a newspaper delivery vehicle. Each afternoon 2,000 newspapers would arrive by truck in my father’s garage. We’d count them, tie them, and deliver them to paperboys around the city. Hard work for sure but is started me on my addiction to cars.

Every make and model: Over the years I’ve owned nearly every make and model American car. In college I’d make extra money by purchasing a sad looking car from a student for a song, wash it, wax it, replace dented parts with newer ones from the junkyard, then resell it at a tidy profit. It was a good business for a Psych major. I’ve owned Buicks, Fords, Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Ramblers, Packards, T-Birds, Mercs, Dodges, Plymouths, Lincolns etc. etc. But my dream had always been to own a Jaguar. There was something about the stuffed shirt upper class attitude of the Brits that made a Jag my dream car. They were very expensive and had a terrible reputation for breaking down, but they were regal and elegant. Then Ford bought the company, preserved the good parts and retooled the factories to improve the bad. The result was from 1992 onward the Jaguar brand soared.

Finally a dream come true: It was 2000 and I was driving home past a brand new Jaguar dealership. Sitting in front was the most beautiful burgundy colored Vanden Plas (the Jaguar top-of-the-line model) I had ever seen. I wheeled into the lot and was met by a salesman who had sold me a BMW at another dealership a few years earlier. I knew the price of that car was too steep for my blood and he told me that it was the car was in fact not new but a 1998 model just returned from a Red Carpet Lease. Seems a casino boss bought his girlfriend a new Jag every two years. He told me the price and it was almost within my range but I left in my old Lincoln.

It’s not me, it is Kismet: When I got home and checked the mail there was a card from the new dealership. It said, “Make your best deal at our new dealership then use this coupon for an additional $ 5,000 discount.” Needless to say I returned and became the proud owner of that Jag. It is my Sunday car. More than a decade old with fewer than 60,000 miles. It purrs. Jaguar has since been sold to Tata Motors of India but I’ve got mine.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Baby You Can Drive My Car” by the Beatles.

Dr. ForgotSee me also at


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Julia said...

There is something about a Jaguar, the feel of the leather, the way that the outside noises just seem to disappear, the sound the engine makes with the slightest acceleration, Ah, heaven. I am a couple of generations behind you, but, I know what you mean when you describe your love for cars. I love a good American car and the muscle cars of the late 60's are some of my favorites. However, I have yet to find an equal to my Jag. My model is about 5 years old and has about the same amount of miles as yours, but I just love driving it.