As classic car enthusiasts, we all admire the styles and curves of older vehicles and maybe we have a wish list or a dream. And now, for me, it has happened.
My dream fifteen years ago, after selling my RR Shadow 1, was to get a classic car with running boards. It was always a style I admired. I was in a position to acquire one, so the hunt was on and I went from Yorkshire to Devon, looking at Ford V8 Pilots, Riley RMs and anything that would tick the box. But maybe my expectations were too high, and most so-called restored examples were far from restored to my eyes.
So, eventually, I purchased my beautiful 1970 Jaguar 420G which I absolutely adore. Yes, I know it’s not got running boards, but I love the attention it gets.
However, I still had the dream fifteen years on. I started the search again, not to replace the Jaguar 420G but to share its garage. I had a budget and started to look again for a running board classic.
I soon realised that the classic market in 15 years has grown by ££s in the UK, so I spread my search to foreign lands, initially from curiosity. I soon realised the ££s might go further, but there were risks and the voice in my head said “no, don’t do it”. However, I did a lot of homework, and continued my searches.
Eventually I found a car that I really did like the look of. It was quite local—not—in Melbourne Australia. The website did not cater for foreign messages, so I had to put in a bogus phone number and postcode in Aussie format; I messaged the seller and explained the reason why I’d had to provide bogus details.
The seller was very helpful and shared all the history of the car, what had been done and what needed doing. I even had a Facetime call with him in which he walked around the car, started it and took it for a drive. Wow, I was impressed!
The car Is a 1948 Jaguar Mk4 3.5 litre. It has only had three owners and was sent direct from Coventry out to Brylaw Motors of Adelaide. It was restored fifteen years ago by the second owner.
I have never done anything like buying a car from so far away that I couldn’t physically see but, on the Carsales.com.au website, there was an option for a private, independent car inspection. For £160 I booked it in and liaised with Alan the seller, who really put himself out for me to get this done. A full 35-page inspection report came through by email within two hours of the inspection, from Red Brook. The report was not only detailed but also included several photographs.
With this in hand, I made the decision to go for it if I could get a good shipping deal. MyCarImport was the company I went with, since they do everything from the collection, shipping, customs, taxes and DVLA registration to delivering it to my door. You may ask what the shipping cost; I will say that, for under £3k, you can get a car over here. On top of this, of course, you do have to pay import duty which, on a 40+ year-old car, is 5% of the purchase price, plus an additional £55 for DVLA new registration. I did also pay to get a Heritage certificate from Jaguar, which verification speeds up the DVLA aspects. The company documented everything and explained the whole process in detail to make it all clear.
I had one more major fear; how do I pay for a car so far away without risking the seller doing a runner so that I’d lose everything? Well that was soon sorted; MyCarImport organised it all for me. I paid them, they transferred the money to the Australian agent, and he transferred it to Alan the seller and collected the car the same day. As soon as everything was booked, I received the tracking details, the route and detailed photos of when the car was collected, stored in a secure warehouse, and put in a container (a 20ft container for which I paid extra). By 24th August 2019, she was on her way.
I can say with absolute truth that this particular Jaguar has gone all around the world. On 26th October 2019, she landed in Southampton, all in one piece with no damage and everything still secured inside. By 5th November she was delivered to my home. One major job to be done was the water pump, which has now been done by a specialist company near Brooklands.
Two months later, I put the battery lead on. She started on the button. My Cheshire cat grin just went from ear to ear, I gave her a wipe over and here she is.