Monday, August 5, 2013

Late To The Party

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.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Always fond of the E-type, great looking cars. Lucky enough to ride in a V-12 version once, was impressed!

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