[xk] Vintage feel

This is inspired by Nick’s email re tyres and other mods that are made these
days to our old XKs: -

I just read a good article by a guy called Dan Neil about the new Lwt E
Types being built - one of which he has just tried.
He writes for the Wall St Journal (article reproduced in a Sydney news
paper).
What he says reminds me of what I once said to a friend after driving his
Porsche Boxster - ‘modern cars are just too good’.

I quote: “For anyone accustomed to the gleaming infallibility of modern
performance cars, the LWE will feel as raw as a crop duster …I reach for
the power, it’s like pushing up the throttles behind the blasting, blaring
prop of a vintage warbird … The task [of driving the car] has my full
attention. In fact, in terms of cognitive load, the LWE draws more power
than just about any car I’ve driven lately. I’m pretty sure that is the
point. The LWE is nothing less than an indictment of modern supercars and
their diminishing returns of driving pleasure. The new Ferrari 488 GTB, for
example, is startingly quick and absurdly easy to drive around the Fiorano
circuit. Losing control of the car seems almost unthinkable … The LWE is
an entirely different affair and more challenging. There’s no electronic
safety net to keep you from looping the car under power or flat spotting the
front tires by locking the brakes. You rely on your own resources as a
driver, such as they are. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. Life-affirming,
even.”

Now, I would be kidding you if I said I had had any of the experiences he
describes - there is nowhere you can drive an XK fast any more around where
I live except off a public road.
But even pottering about the suburbs tells you the difference. Just don’t
expect your wife to understand your romantic feelings about the old XK and
its foibles … all of which I love. Yes, that even includes the Moss box.

Kind regards,
John Elmgreen

1 Like

In reply to a message from John Elmgreen sent Fri 25 Sep 2015:

John, I read the Dan Neil story on the new light weight E-type
a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. He is a fantastic
writer and has a great job to review cars. The E-type was a
whole new experience for him as his normal fare is to review
modern cars. I think what he described is what all members of
this forum really enjoy - the seat of the pants feel of fine
vintage sports car. We love the look, the smells, the engine,
the sounds - the whole thing. We are keepers of special works
of automobile engineering art of a past era. Often I find that
I work on my cars, more than I drive them. And this is
enjoyable, but usually a challenge and often frustrating.
While I get lots of enjoyment driving them, I also enjoy just
admiring their grace and beauty sitting in my garage. As far
as doing long distance serious driving, I do that in a late
model 911 and I feel safer (with all the bad drivers on the
road) and in total awe at how amazing that car is. Yet there
is also a contrast in how at the same time both are very
similar and yet very different with a 60 year age span. The
truth is I love them both and feel fortunate to live in both
the modern and vintage sports car worlds. Regarding spirited
driving, I don’t know where you live, but here in Florida we
have access to Sebring race track. Anyone with a fast car that
has the desire to see what it can do should seek out a local
race track and find out about their program. The Porsche Club
of America has great access to such facilities and the price of
membership is only $45 and to own a Porsche - a nice Boxster
can be had for less than $20k. Thanks again for sharing your
views with us. Best Regard, Don–
Etch, Etype S1 coupes, XK140 roadsters, Ariel Atom, 911
Spring Hill. fl, United States
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Not plugging WSJ, but Dan Neil’s article can be found (and read) at:


Charles #677556.
http://xktx.org----- Original Message -----
From: “John Elmgreen”

I just read a good article by a guy called Dan Neil about the new Lwt E
Types being built - one of which he has just tried.
He writes for the Wall St Journal (article reproduced in a Sydney news
paper).
What he says reminds me of what I once said to a friend after driving his
Porsche Boxster - ‘modern cars are just too good’.

I quote: “For anyone accustomed to the gleaming infallibility of modern
performance cars, the LWE will feel as raw as a crop duster …I reach
for
the power, it’s like pushing up the throttles behind the blasting, blaring
prop of a vintage warbird … The task [of driving the car] has my full
attention. In fact, in terms of cognitive load, the LWE draws more power
than just about any car I’ve driven lately. I’m pretty sure that is the
point. The LWE is nothing less than an indictment of modern supercars and
their diminishing returns of driving pleasure. The new Ferrari 488 GTB,
for
example, is startingly quick and absurdly easy to drive around the Fiorano
circuit. Losing control of the car seems almost unthinkable … The LWE
is
an entirely different affair and more challenging. There’s no electronic
safety net to keep you from looping the car under power or flat spotting
the
front tires by locking the brakes. You rely on your own resources as a
driver, such as they are. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. Life-affirming,
even.”

Now, I would be kidding you if I said I had had any of the experiences he
describes - there is nowhere you can drive an XK fast any more around
where
I live except off a public road.
But even pottering about the suburbs tells you the difference. Just don’t
expect your wife to understand your romantic feelings about the old XK and
its foibles … all of which I love. Yes, that even includes the Moss box.

Kind regards,
John Elmgreen

In reply to a message from Etch sent Fri 25 Sep 2015:

Hi Don & John:

Amen!! The joy of driving an XK demands a level of masochism I
suspect. The agricultural nature of the Moss box with its
mile-and-a-half throw from first to second, its cantankerous
synchros that demand you double de-clutch on downshifts and
perform slow and deliberate upshifts, the heavy clutch that,
after 50 years of ownership has given me a left leg that has
marginally larger muscle mass than the right, the ridiculous
ashtray that, should you be a smoker and if mobile, means you
will always keep the moths out of the Wilton, the tight cockpit
indicating Sir William realized that no self-respecting
Englishman could ever evolve to a height of six feet or more,
even the performance, exemplary in its day, but now easily
matched by many ‘family’ sedans (who will walk away from you as
you reach interminably for second gear). But it doesn’t matter
because on a glorious Fall day down a quiet back road with the
migrating birds above and a muted drone assaulting your
eardrums it simply cannot be beaten as you are ‘driving’ a car
that delivers pleasure in spades.

And so endeth the lesson…

Best,

Chris.–
CP120
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
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2 Likes

Chris,

I owned a '63 series 1 OTS for 5 years from '68 to '72 when I was 6’3"
and I certainly agree with your description and also sentiment. It was
just a used car at the time and used for my daily 10-mile (minimum)
commute to work - a great way to start and end every workday with the
“pleasure in spades” that you noted.

More recently (2007), we hired a '69 series 2 roadster in England and
drove it around Ireland for 2,400 miles in 3 weeks and it was as good as
my memories of the series 1.

Bruce COn 9/26/2015 9:11 AM, CP120 wrote:

In reply to a message from Etch sent Fri 25 Sep 2015:

Hi Don & John:

Amen!! The joy of driving an XK demands a level of masochism I
suspect. The agricultural nature of the Moss box with its
mile-and-a-half throw from first to second, its cantankerous
synchros that demand you double de-clutch on downshifts and
perform slow and deliberate upshifts, the heavy clutch that,
after 50 years of ownership has given me a left leg that has
marginally larger muscle mass than the right, the ridiculous
ashtray that, should you be a smoker and if mobile, means you
will always keep the moths out of the Wilton, the tight cockpit
indicating Sir William realized that no self-respecting
Englishman could ever evolve to a height of six feet or more,
even the performance, exemplary in its day, but now easily
matched by many ‘family’ sedans (who will walk away from you as
you reach interminably for second gear). But it doesn’t matter
because on a glorious Fall day down a quiet back road with the
migrating birds above and a muted drone assaulting your
eardrums it simply cannot be beaten as you are ‘driving’ a car
that delivers pleasure in spades.

And so endeth the lesson…

Best,

Chris.

CP120
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
–Support Jag-lovers - Donate at http://www.jag-lovers.org/donate04.php

In reply to a message from CP120 sent Sat 26 Sep 2015:

A well sorted E, Mark 2, XK, or a big Healey are my
favorites. ABS? Is your right leg paralysed? Fuel economy?
Have you no soul? Do people turn their heads when a rice
rocket goes past? Not likely, unless the tires are smoking.
Alpine passes with a crash first can be a bit tedious, but
life is full of compromises.

I prefer the road less travelled and that makes all the
difference.

Andrew–
The original message included these comments:

Amen!! The joy of driving an XK demands a level of masochism I
suspect. The agricultural nature of the Moss box with its
mile-and-a-half throw from first to second, its cantankerous


1968 3.8S
Zurich, Switzerland
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2 Likes

In reply to a message from John Elmgreen sent Fri 25 Sep 2015:

There is nothing like growling thru the countryside on a fine
day, in an open two seat Jaguar ! Thinking I will leave this
desk and go do just that !! Hoping you might also.
Cheers…–
Nick53XK120S
Spokane WA, United States
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Chris…
Two Words…
“Huzzah, Huzzah!!”
On the Ash Tray… Being one who abused his lungs for fifty years,
thus attempted to use the XK120 DHC’s Ash Tray, I can tell you,
unequivocally no ashes ever went into the ash tray while the DHC
was in motion!! The Front Wing Vents, The NDV’s AND the zip-out
rear window all open, while creating a comfortable 100 degreeF
“Texas Breeze”, conspired to stir-up every loose particle, above the
size of a atom, around in the cockpit!! Hood up, of course… (It was
worse with the hood stowed!)…
Would NOT trade those memories for anything!!
Charles #677556.
http://xktx.org----- Original Message -----
From: “CP120”

Amen!! The joy of driving an XK demands a level of masochism I
suspect. The agricultural nature of the Moss box with its
mile-and-a-half throw from first to second, its cantankerous
synchros that demand you double de-clutch on downshifts and
perform slow and deliberate upshifts, the heavy clutch that,
after 50 years of ownership has given me a left leg that has
marginally larger muscle mass than the right, the ridiculous
ashtray that, should you be a smoker and if mobile, means you
will always keep the moths out of the Wilton, the tight cockpit
indicating Sir William realized that no self-respecting
Englishman could ever evolve to a height of six feet or more,
even the performance, exemplary in its day, but now easily
matched by many ‘family’ sedans (who will walk away from you as
you reach interminably for second gear). But it doesn’t matter
because on a glorious Fall day down a quiet back road with the
migrating birds above and a muted drone assaulting your
eardrums it simply cannot be beaten as you are ‘driving’ a car
that delivers pleasure in spades.

And so endeth the lesson…

Best,

Chris.

CP120
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
–Support Jag-lovers - Donate at http://www.jag-lovers.org/donate04.php


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1 Like

Bumping this to the top. Just because.

5 Likes

Good, because you did, I read a few more of Waugh’s words, and reminded me of the hole he left.

Huzzah, indeed.

This is a really nice read, thanks Nick.

I wonder what would the author have thought of driving an XK instead of a recreation E-Type: the XK really has a vintage feel, with the drums, live axle and flat wooden floors: the E-type, as much as I love it, is much much much more of a different generation of cars, feeling in a way “modern”.