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My Favorite Car: '52 Jaguar XK-120 M, Johnny Johnston, Tampa

'52 Jaguar XK-120 M

After 31 years, I've said good-bye to my 1952 Jaguar XK-120 M purchased in 1980. What a car. In my 30-plus years as owner it has taken me to work, to the grocery store, to Lowe's where I could buy lumber and stow it in the passenger's seat, to a number of sports car races and a lot of Saturday night drive-in auto shows. I bought the Jaguar in San Jose, Calif., in 1980. The car was sitting in a garage with the top up when I went to pick it up. I lowered the top, stowed it behind the driver's seat, drove it home to San Francisco, and in 31 years have never put the top back up. Obviously, California has some fine convertible driving weather. In 1980, I retired to Florida out of San Diego and brought the Jag with me. However, I don't think she likes Florida: It's too hot, it rains too much and I can only take her out couple of times a month. In addition, it needs some mechanical work and I'm just not up to it. Not that I couldn't do it, mind you. In the 31 years I've owned the car, it has never been in an auto repair shop. The XK-120 M (or modified) version was basically a high-performance racing version of the original XK-120. Hi-lift cam, lightened flywheel, bigger brakes, split exhaust, bigger torsion bars — the windshield and heater were options. What would possess one to buy such an exotic car? Prior to moving to California in the early '80s, I had been a pit crew for a gentlemen who ran an English Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite in the SCCA on the East Coast with quite a bit of success. Naturally, I had a street version of the same car with quite a few racing goody hand-me-downs installed, but I had always had a hankering for a Jaguar. My work-related move to California in 1980 ended our racing partnership but exposed me to a co-worker who had the XK-120 for sale. The auto hauler took it away recently. An exotic car dealer out of California bought it, so I assumed it was headed back to sunny California. In fact, the auto hauler who picked it up said it already has been resold, and he was instructed to take it to Miami where it will be loaded into a shipping container and sent to Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It would be nice if the new owners would contact me so that I can follow the continuing saga of the old cat.

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My Favorite Car: '52 Jaguar XK-120 M, Johnny Johnston, Tampa 05/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2011 10:47pm]
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