< /war >
The first time I saw an XJ6, I was nine. The image of that car is carved into my brain like a tattoo.
It was Thanksgiving Day, 1981. My parents and I were in Philadelphia, walking along a parade route. The sidewalks were jammed. Everybody was moving in the same direction, like a school of fish, when I stopped dead.
The car looked like nothing elseit was a Jaguar.
We were in a hurry, and my father isn't patient, but he is a car guy. Amid the crowd bobbing past, he pointed out the seemingly endless detail; the twin tanks, the door handles, the gentle, uninterupted curve running from tip to tail, the leather seats and the woodgrain dash. I stared and stared, but as we walked away, he told me: "Never buy one. The engines are crap." It broke my heart.
But I didn't listen to the old man. This is me, 23 years later, with my Jag, "Kittie."
Of course, Dad was rightthe original engine threw a rod in the early 80s. Using a kit from John's Cars, the previous owner swapped it for a Chevy 350/T350 combo. She's been a daily driver for almost 30 years, due largely to Chevy's reliability. I'll post shots of the engine compartment as soon as I get it cleaned up.
The years have been relatively kind to Kittie. With the exception of the driver and passenger floorboardswhich are rotted to near-Flintstone levelthere is very little rust. And despite Lucas"the Prince of Darkness" wiring, the electrical system is in great shape. The power windows function, the clock keeps perfect time and all the lights work.
While she starts, stops and drives well, there are a couple of problems. The speedometer doesn't work, the front end could use an overhall and the rear seats are beginning to show their age.
The finish is also not as good as it looks in the photos, so a paint job is on the agenda as well. But even with these problems, I wouldn't trade Kittie for anything. I live downtown, so it's not like I need a car, so I've got all the time in the world to get her tip-top.