True Confessions: Revealing My Secret Crush

true confessions revealing my secret crush

Photo courtesy of wikipedia

I was about eight years old when I fell in love the first time. She was a long, lanky and curvaceous piece of work, sexy and sophisticated, and I knew the moment that I first laid eyes upon her, her and her sister for there were two parked alongside one another in the driveway, that one day I must possess her. Looking back I can tell your she was a big girl, but compared to the my father’s Oldsmobile Delta 88 she seemed impossibly lithe and trim. Her chrome nameplate told me she was called “Jaguar” and once I spied her no other car would ever be quite good enough.

It’s funny how you can use a car every day for years and years and, when it is finally gone, be unable to recall a single detail. You know the make and model, of course, and probably have a general image in your mind, but when it comes to specifics you have only the vaguest of recollections, more an emotional impression of how the car made you feel than a single, hard and fast memory you can point to. But to this day, and despite the fact that I probably only spent about ten minutes next to them, in the driveway I still can recall enough of the details of the two cars I saw that just now I was able to get on line and identify them as Mark IIs. That says something.

The Jaguar Mark II is, of course a sedan – saloons as the British call them – and because of them I have always had a thing for the manufacturer’s larger offerings. To be honest, I wouldn’t turn down on of their sports cars if it were given to me, but the only one I have ever actually imagined owning is the most sedan-like XJS. I can’t tell you what it is about the big cats, but they have always had a special appeal to me. They ooze sophistication, and the thought of finding myself ensconced on a hand stitched leather seat, surrounded by old world craftsmanship as I survey the world across a long bonnet and monitor my progress via a set of clock like gauges mounted in burled walnut makes me a giddy as an English schoolgirl.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course, the brand’s reputation for unreliability, especially among the older models, means I will probably never actually own one but in my mind they are still the perfect combination of power, good looks and luxury and I still find myself pausing to look whenever I find one for sale. I’m not sure why that is. Logically I know it’s a relationship that could never work, but I still I have that hope that owning a Jag could turn out to be the craziest, wildest, greatest thing that ever happened to me and so I have to pause to consider that whenever the chance presents itself.

I’m not nuts, am I? Please tell me you feel the same way about some brand or another. Tell me that there is one car that you have always admired but, for whatever reason, have never indulged in. One of those cars that you could not resist if only they sold on this side of the ocean or that specific model you would buy if you had that extra spot in the driveway. That car you swear you will get when your children get out of their car seats, or that other one you are looking forward to owning when they finally get out of the house altogether so you don’t need to worry about rear seat legroom. You cannot be a lover of all things automotive if you do not have at least one secret crush. What is it? We must know.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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  • Bergxu Bergxu on Feb 09, 2014

    Oh boy, where do I begin? Ok, so I've owned lots of vintage Jags; two XKEs (proper FHCs not the fugly 2+2), a 340 saloon (i.e. a "stripper" Mk.II), several XJ-Ss and XJ6s and, most recently, an X308 XJR which was a totally reliable car and without question, THE most comfortable car I've ever owned, period. I sold it to a friend in Florida who sill has it and I think it's showing around 240K on the clock at present. If you want a reliable Jag, get an XJR, preferably '01-'03 as they have the steel-liner engine and Mercedes 722.6 transmission, both very durable units. All electrics are Bosch or Nippon Denso and the A/C will most likely be the best you'll ever experience this side of a DeVille. I worked for a Jag dealer and can wholly advise to stay away from S and, especially X-Types. Those are total junk and many were not maintained well as they were often bought by folks who were just on the cusp of being able to afford a Jaguar. You want a Jag, it has to be XJ or bust. Even the X350 XJS are quite durable, save for occasional air suspension issues but nothing as bad as Land Rovers. Although the X308 was considered to be equally as reliable as any of its counterparts, and with prices so low, they're a very tempting purchase. I DD a W126 Mercedes, having spent almost 15 years with MB prior to my time at Jaguar, but have a '54 XK120 OTS in the garage, itching to be broken out for springtime motoring. And if all goes well, maybe it'll find a new owner at RMs Monterrey auction this year and I can get back to flogging my TR6 as the summer sled---much easier car to maintain, more civilized and you can actually fit enough luggage in the boot for a weekend away with your girl. Back to the W126 Merc--indeed they've finally attained classic status. Over in Germany, they're restoring them and repatriating quite a few. I have a Euro-spec '85 500SEL but have had several 560s and will say that if you want a W126, it's best to go for an '89-'91 so you get the better seats and dual airbags. Definitely go 560 over 420 as the 560s were all equipped as standard with heated seats front and rear, as well as the reclining rear seat. Fuel economy is basically a negligible difference between the two models, so just figure it'll guzzle lots of hi-test no matter what. If it has 100K or more miles on it, make sure it has had the timing chain (and tensioner and rails) done, and definitely try for one with a service history. Otherwise, they're quite bulletproof cars and won't cost a king's ransom to maintain AS LONG AS you have a mechanic familiar with Bosch CIS so any drivability problems can be dispatched with easily. Otherwise, you'll be throwing 'spensive parts at it and will become most frustrated and bankrupt. Oh, and to the fellow who commented here earlier who wants a 450SEL 6.9, I have one of those too, sitting next to my XK120 in the garage. You want to buy it? It's a '77 in Silverblue Metallic with Navy leather. California car from new with a 3" thick binder of service history. Very nice car and just had the suspension hydraulics serviced along with a proper tune. If you're interested drop me a line on QV5000 "at" gmail Aaron

    • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Feb 10, 2014

      I know very little about Jaguar compared to you, but I do know that the X type was a reliability nightmare based on clients, friends or the one relative I had who owned one. It really tarnished the brand at a time when the brand was already tarnished. Having said that, I always loved the muscular stance and the firm but supple ride quality of the XJ8. And it didn't hurt that the car, especially in black, looked elegant yet bad a$$ in a way that the Germans simply couldn't answer: That is just drop dead sexy.

  • Russycle Russycle on Feb 09, 2014

    Those Mark IIs are gorgeous, there's one in my town that appears every spring, love to see it drive by. I had an XJ6 for a few years and definitely am infected by the Jaguar bug. Recently saw a 5-speed X-type on Craigslist for pretty cheap, it was very tempting.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.