My love of cars probably began when I was a student in the 1960s, and I worked part time in the motor trade to help supplement my student grant. Not glamourous work for the most part, just hours of cleaning,valeting,de-waxing,delivering,collecting spare parts and brewing tea and coffee!
What it did though,was give me the chance to drive cars of all shapes and sizes and pedigrees. Most of these were part exchanges, the majority of them pretty forgettable,but ranging from Bentley,Rolls Royce,Aston Martin on the one extreme, to rusty Minis with rattling cvjs to tired out Renault Dauphines, Wartburgs and other automotive horrors too numerous to mention on the other.
Jaguars did figure in the picture at times,the first one I ever drove was a 3.8 Mk 2 saloon, which made quite an impact on the mind of an impressionable 18 year old! It was the first car I got up to the magic 'ton', a proper knee trembler!
Ironically over the years I never ever owned a Jaguar, just a few fast Fords in my youth (wish I had kept the Lotus Cortina and the Escort Mexico) and lots of family transports after that but then in 1996 I chanced to visit the N E C Motor Show, to look at, I am ashamed to say, the new Vauxhall Omega as a possible replacement for a Vauxhall Senator I had at the time.
I was also attracted to the Jaguar stand, and to the display of new XK8s I found there. After sitting in a couple of the exhibits, the message to myself was 'I am going to get one of these one day'. It only took me 17 years!
I bought our current 1996 m.y.
Ice Blue XK8 convertible as a retirement gift to myself.The market seemed to be flooded with poor examples, and the more I saw, the more frustrated I got until the best one I viewed by far also turned out to be the oldest by far!
No regrets, we love it to bits and it is now a trusty old friend. Like many of our cars no doubt, it has languished in the garage largely unused for 2 years, but in September last, on the Poldark tour of Cornwall, in 5 days it did 818 miles at well over 27 mpg and did not miss a beat.
I doubt we will ever sell it.