A spot of lunchtime exercise reveals something of a kitty-litter.
My current work establishment is in a wealthy, leafy part of town. Not seen for a while, but a Bentayga resides round here. Many SUV’s of any brand you care to mention too along with some proper dross. But the other lunchtime and only hungry for inspiration, I found these three Jaguar XK’s in a five minute wander from the front gate.
Let’s start with feelings of actually photographing these cars. I’m not comfortable with going up to someone’s motor and clicking away till I get “the shot” Plus as you’ll see, one is on somebody’s property and whilst I can usually talk to anyone, especially about cars, I’m not about to knock on someone’s door and introduce myself and DTW to be the recipient of 27 pictures and potentially dozens of comments concerning their car.
Thus I had to employ conceit and pretend to be texting or phoning someone. As nobody hunted me down or called the authorities and with assistance on altering the plates, I believe I am safe. Two have since purred away leaving the black model representing Castle Bromwich’s finest.
A walk to the three cats it is then. That’s not a new pub name by the way.
Growing up knowing the Jaguar to be a coveted beast, an expensive, authoritarian holder of the driving experience and currently an endangered species, let’s start with the eldest model on show.
Being a 1997 model year XK8, with a 4-litre engine under the bonnet, it looks in good condition at this distance. With obvious hints towards the Aston Martin DB7 and its XJS underpinnings, who knows how much use this once £50k car gets now. Has it roared to the French Riviera as the advertising tells us it was capable of? Or just pootled to Tesco for the Sunday tabloids?
The occasional outing to a Jaguar car club event, perhaps ? Or did Sebastian’s father simply give it away? Does it have CATS, the Computer Active Technology Suspension? All unknowns, sadly. Given that this area is usually the haunt of the builders or gardeners van, it’s a welcome edition. Having been driven 48,000 miles, Keith Helfet/Fergus Pollock’s design holds up well today. When I clapped eyes on this car, Roxy Music’s “Oh Yeah” sprung to mind. Someone single, promiscuous and smooth, driving home from a movie show. Perhaps that’s an age thing.
The middle model now and this colour, Crystal Blue metallic suits this MY09, it’s mileage of only 29k again sitting well. But look how things have grown. Or have they? To these eyes this looks a whole lot more fluid, more at one with the idea of a being a Leaping Cat. The larger rear window, those flanks looking far more muscular. The high level rear brake lamp with “bullet” to the rear spoiler; is that a rear wash system?
I’m personally not too keen on the wheels which seem vulgar and I’m guessing at a (large) cost option. The salesperson probably had “glee pie” that evening. The exhaust pipes caught my attention: the left hand appears newer and circular, the right hand older, elliptical, original? Or is it a trick of the camera phone?
The final model now. Whilst travel stained and perhaps not always a daily driver, this deviant even when parked up wields it’s power like a weapon of the night. 2011, 5-litre V8 with 56k under the tyres. Brand new, sir? Around sixty large. Nowadays? Anywhere between 6 and 31 grand, depending on condition. A good wash and brush up would return this cat to fine fettle, a mid-twenties on the forecourt at eight years old.
Granted there’s few differences between black and blue models, save wheels missed to perfection but I believe to be standard issue. There’s the missing bullet and to these eyes, the black model evokes a sleeker cut to its jib; the blue is fine but somehow lacks the killer instinct the black version has. The blue version will be driven by the cliched cad; happy to take his wife for dinner but happier showing off to the new secretary. Wears a flat cap, maybe even driving gloves. Portly. Likes to be heard in public places.
The black cat is driven by someone of a similar age though prefers a quieter existence. Sober, thoughtful, blessed with decent taste; a smidgen slimmer. Strength in depth – just like his car.
The navy blue XK8 I want to be owned by grandad, who’s had Jags all his life and fully intends to ”get it all sorted “ before gifting it to his beloved granddaughter who is bonkers about it as she’s about to take her test and finally get to the drive the swine, sorry, cat.
Most of this is probably poppycock. But with some imagination, keen eyes and willing feet, have a butchers hook at what’s around your little corners of the world. You might get a nice surprise. Or at least find a decent drinking establishment.