Seen in Seattle

Seattle,with approximately three quarters of a million inhabitants, is not big by American standards but it is the largest city in Washington state and one of the fastest growing cities in America. Surrounded by vast forests it is easy to see why the early European settlers made logging its number one industry. Seattle was also a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush in the nineteenth century, and much money was made equipping those early prospectors. In the first half of the twentieth century, it became home to the Boeing Aircraft Company. Founded by Bill Boeing in 1916, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It was here that Starbucks opened their first coffee shop and Tom Hanks suffered a bout of insomnia.

In more recent times, it has become a centre for software, internet and biotechnology companies with household names including Microsoft and Amazon who have their offices in the city. Bill Gates lives here. Jimi Hendrix was born in the city (and not a lot of people know that!)  If you ever visit, do take in the iconic Space Needle built for the 1962 World’s Fair which dominates the city scape. Vaughn will be able to fill you in on the construction details.

Enough of the travelogue, let’s get into what this piece is about. Yes, it’s cars! Seattle has an abundance of them and, occasionally, you do catch sight of something interesting cruising the streets, whether on a special outing or just being used to go from A to B. So, read on and I’ll share with you some of those which I caught on camera.

Starting with one of my favourites – a Cadillac Eldorado Convertible of around 1976 vintage seen here outside the Space Needle. Sporting a V8 with a staggering 8.7 litre displacement, it barely made 200 horse power and was the last of the line of true Caddy Convertibles. And it was front wheel drive!

During one stay we visited Whalers Cove by Lake Washington in the region of Bellevue, an expensive and upmarket area of Seattle. It was the during day previous to this that I had purchased a copy of “Collectible Automobile” not only because it is an excellent American classic car magazine but also because it contained a spread on Cadillac Eldorados 1967 – 1970. Of the vehicles featured it was a ’69 model in the rare Firemist Mauve which I particularly liked. You can imagine my surprise when walking down to the lake shore I glimpsed the front end of a similar car parked in the residents’ car park area. I had to go in and take some shots and it was then that its owner, a Mr Jon Abood, came out to greet me and talk enthusiastically about his pride and joy. And yes, you’ve guessed it, this was the very one featured in the magazine that I’d bought the day earlier! Small world.

Incredibly, this was not the only classic in the ‘hood. Only a few yards away – they still use imperial units in the States – sat a Lincoln Continental, I guess a Mk IV from around 1970. Frank Cannon drove a Mk V in the mid ’70s TV series. You could land a helicopter on the bonnet, it’s so vast. What’s not to like? But, there’s more! Parked on the roadside close by we came across a Chrysler 300 needing a little love. This ’68 Primrose 2-door Hard Top housed a 440 cubic inch V8 (there’s those imperial units again; 7.2 litres to you and me). I’d love to clean that one up.

If you ever get to Seattle, you must take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Situated in the Puget Sound Basin, this small, genteel region hosts some interesting metal including a Mercury Cougar convertible from around 1973 and a mid-’80s Lincoln Town Car, both daily drivers. The latter was the first American car to employ a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission and, later on, the first to use an overhead cam V8. Matthew McConaughy used one in the movie “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Catch up with this film; there’s a great twist at the end. The island is home to the Bainbridge Vodka and Gin Distillery, which we always visit just to see the Chevy 3100 Pick Up truck – my favourite of all the forties/fifties Pick Ups.

But the car I always make a pilgrimage to see is permanently under a car cover. Unfortunately, I lost the photograph I took when it was for sale a little while ago. I still think I should make an offer. I’ll leave you to guess what it is.

Nobody does muscle like Detroit and it would be impolite not to include an example here. I caught this one on camera during a visit to Snoqualmie. Located to the East of Seattle, it has a great waterfall…and some nice cars. The car you see is Chevrolet’s entry into the muscle car market. It is a 1967 Chevelle SS 396 (I think), the SS moniker standing for Super Sport. This 325hp 2-Door Hard Top was, I believe, based on the mid-sized Malibu and offered only during the ’66 and ’67 model years in this body style. A beaut! And, what was parked next to it? A gorgeous Jaguar XJ6 X358 which was quickly replaced by a more interesting Series III XJ6 in pristine condition.

Staying with the feline theme, and back in Whalers’ Cove (again), we spied an immaculate XJ-S V12. A  Vanden Plas X300 or X308 was seen on the outer ring road and to round off, we spotted a new black F Type convertible outside Macy’s.

There were a few other Brits to note, however: a green MGB Roadster (very nice), a Frog-eyed Sprite, similarly coloured but sadly not in the same condition, and an MG TF actually seen in Vancouver Island but I wanted to keep the MG thing going.

The most unusual depository for old UK cars that I saw was in the crowded yard of British European Ltd in Aurora Avenue N. The photo was taken from a speeding public bus – they don’t waste time over there. A blue Mark X and a Triumph TR4(?) are clearly visible though.

I will leave you with two or three old motors being used as daily transport and let you guess the make and model – no prizes though.

Neil Shanley

Breakfast at The Castle

For those expecting their regular fix of classic and sports cars at The Hare in Roxwell on this the premier Saturday in May, there was a surprise in store. For this month only (so far), we would be tasting a full English at its sister pub, The Castle, in Great Leighs.

Arriving reasonably early, we were greeted by a gathering, mainly of Porsches, not quite filling the ample car park. But things were about to change and quickly. Within the following half hour, under a welcome blue sky and warm sun, the regulars and novices began to arrive. So much so, that the quiet road outside became an impromptu car show of its own.

Parked along its length were some lovely old British cars including: a Morris Eight, a Wolsey 6/80 (I think), an MG Midget and an Austin A90 Atlantic. The latter tri-headlamp sports convertible, from around 1951-52 and now a rare sight, was part of the post-war “export or die” drive and was aimed at the States, but few were sold there. Its 4-cylinder 2.7 litre engine, derived from the A70 Hampshire, was no match for the American V6s or V8s. This rare survivor is a credit to its owner.

It is a shame that these old timers don’t arrive earlier so that they could access the pub car park. Whilst there were a good many modern Porsches in said car park, I did spot a couple of interesting 356s, both looking highly original. A white 1500 (?) roadster was parked on the grass verge outside, whilst a red, race-prepared coupé hunkered down with its younger siblings in the car park. Both great cars.

Speaking of small, fast sports cars but something newer, and British, some friends brought along a Lotus Elise S2 type 23, built around 2003 and resplendent in white livery with green stripes. This was number eight in a limited run of 50. Probably a celebration of something. A great little car, and fast. You’ll probably need Vaseline to help you get in and out, though.

Classic & Sports Cars brought along a splendid, primrose Mk 1 Healey of 1961 vintage. It was the ex-Derek Park car, with documented history and showing around 500 miles since full restoration. Check out their website and your lottery numbers if you fancy buying it. Always good to see classic Fords from the 70s, 80s and 90s. In this case Escorts, including a 1972 Mexico(?) through to some RS Turbos; but that Yellow RS2000 did it for me.

Most readers know of my soft spot for American iron. Well, I was not disappointed. There were two excellent Corvettes, a recent model with a gorgeous sort of metallic aubergine paint job, and a late 70s machine looking better than new. It’s the swoopy shape that always gets me.

A regular at these events is a green Mercury Cougar. From Ford’s Mercury division, this looked like a 1970 example; let me know if I am close. A 1967 version was driven by Dianna Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It took a battering on the ice rink, but still survives. Check out the “Bond In Motion” exhibition.

Italy’s finest were out in force with red Ferraris and black Lambos. I love those full fat engine noises. English exotica were there in force with MacLarens and three or four Aston Martins. These included a DB9 coupe, a DB11 convertible and a Vanquish. Coincidently, the KE suffix on the DB9 was the same as Pierce Brosnan’s Vanquish in Die Another Day. Our region fielded three Jags: a brace of XJS 4.0L convertibles brought by Steve and Wendy Potter and your scribe, together with David and Sharon Ogg’s white Suffolk SS100.

Finally, the take-home car. Well, if you had seen it, maybe you would too – and it’s not American! Feast your eyes on a 1956 Aston Martin DB 2/4, fresh from a nut-and-bolt restoration. The present owner bought it in boxes and over a two-year period AND turned it into the magnificent machine you see today. The interior was as good as the paint on the exterior with a four dial set up placed centrally on the dash. With a nod to modernity, it was fitted with central locking and connectivity, but you wouldn’t know it. Great car.

I will leave it there. So, if you weren’t able to come along this month, do try next time, if only for the breakfast.

Neil Shanley

Battlesbridge Classic Car Show May 2018

Our first main show of the year was of course, the Classic Car Show at Battlesbridge in May.  The event was well supported by members, although on the day a few members were unable to attend due to various reasons. However, with the support of the organiser, Jim Gallie, these spaces were filled with other Jaguars. Friday was set aside for marking 25 bays for the cars and the gazebo, as well as a space for Grange (Jaguar)Motors of Brentwood who had indicated they would endeavour to bring along the ‘new’ Jaguar E-Pace.

Initially, the size of the plot for our stand was set to previous shows, but it was increased due to some clubs pulling out at the last minute. If this was as a result of the weather forecast, I can understand, as the few days before the event the prediction was rain from 2pm on Saturday to midday on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, a number of members assisted with the erection of the club stand, which was before the rain was forecast and appeared. Right up to the late evening, the forecast was still indicating a wet Sunday morning. However, waking up at 4am Sunday morning, I was astonished to find that no rain was now indicated, just slightly overcast! A result which was quickly e-mailed to all members attending. By 09:30am all members cars were in place and looking grand with the saloons along one side with the gazebo and E-Pace proudly on display and with the sports cars opposite.

A number of first time participants from the club proudly displayed their pride and joys, polished and gleaming in the daylight.  We had 8 Mark II’s proudly displayed together in the saloon section, with a 90’s S-Type and S-Type R and a XJ8 (X358) flanking them.

Opposite were the sports cars from Jaguar, starting with the 60’s icon, E-Type, followed by XJS’s, XK8’s, XKR’s an XK, XKRS and finally the last vehicle on the line up was a F-Type, courtesy of Nick & Sandra James.
In the afternoon they sparkled when the sun in fact did come out.
The show attracted many visitors to the stand, which was assisted by the display of the E-Pace and we managed to sign up 6 new members! A lot of old acquaintances were made and conversations relating to members Jaguars were had. Everyone enjoyed the day. The finalé to an excellent day was being awarded the “Best Stand of The Show” trophy!

Having checked the previous club trophies it would appear that our last award for “Best Stand of the Show” was back in 2014!! Well done to all members that made this possible and for Colin Cooper and his Mark II who agreed to represent the club in the Awards ring.