|XK-E Lightweight "Tribute:" not as nice as Leno's, but nice.|
Fifty-odd years late, Jay Leno's vidoes are turning me into a Jaguar fan:
As a youth in the '60's, I didn't see the XK-E's value for money: slower and more costly than a Corvette Stingray. In those days I believed that road racing established a sports car's bona fides. Jaguar's iron block, long stroke, straight six had about reached the end of its development rope. The 3.8 and 4.2 liter XK-E's, even the Lightweights, were not competitive with 3-liter Ferraris and 5.4 liter Corvettes.
In the '70's I had a couple of rides in a Series II roadster owned by a friend, and was not impressed. It had a lot of weight on the front of a longish wheelbase. It was unwieldy in rush hour traffic. (I now realize that the Ferrari 250 GT was just as unwieldy and twice as costly.)
But I can now also see how much fun the XK-E and even the XK-120 are. Fast, competent, enjoyable road cars. That's one of the good things about Leno's videos: they give you a feel for the car on real roads (although Jason Len doesn't let Jay take this one out). And nobody has beat the looks of the
XK-E. Nor will they in the modern era of crashworthy cars.
Incidentally, I was reassured by Len's comment that he breaks 'em in on organic motor oil, then changes to synthetic. That's my rule too; its nice to see my instinct confirmed by a pro.