Posted by: bkivey | 7 July 2021

Cat Scratch Fever

A neighbor and friend had bought another car, and invited me over to see it. I knew that he’d recently acquired a Ford Bronco with removable hardtop, and was looking to flip it. Given used car prices lately, he’ll make money on it. I’d like to buy it, and a reasonable price, but not a priority at the moment. That was not the car.

A couple days ago he bought a 2001 Jaguar XJR. Black-on-black, and after he told me what he’d paid, I offered double, on the spot.

“Here’s the keys. Take it for a drive.”

“Want to come along?”

“No. But if you break it, you have bought it.”

I have not even ridden in a Jaguar of any spot, let alone driven one.


British cars are not my specialty. Detroit Iron, and a foray into Japan, sum up my car interest. But, Jaguar.

Comfortable interior. To my eye, a soothing cabin layout. I didn’t manipulate any panel controls, so can’t say how ergonomic they are. Wiper and headlight controls in the expected positions. The seats are first-rate. I could easily see 600-mile days in those seats.

The fuel indicator showed 1/8th tank, which isn’t much. This drive would be limited. I had no problem with buying gas, but I’d been handed the keys while I was sans wallet, phone, and anything else. It was take the keys and go.

And the car sucks gas, for sure. A supercharged 370hp engine provides what feels like smooth, constant, power on demand, but there is a penalty. No turbo lag from low rpm; just a firm nudge in the backside, and leaving everyone else at the light. In style. It’s a Jaguar.

Brakes were solid, with no chatter or pull. I didn’t get to drive enough to check fade. I did do a burnout to check the 0-60 time. It’s respectable, and fresh tire marks on a public street. But, polite, British, ones.

On this car, the front end needs work. The steering wheel has to be held to starboard to run straight, and some chatter above 60 mph. The 5-speed automatic shifts unnoticeably. It just works.

On return, I told my friend I wanted to take the car out on my ‘reference’ road: OR 47 to Vernonia, and then Timber Road back. I have been promised stick time, and look forward to driving with a bit more gas in the tank.

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