Cars A To Z: J

First…while the weather in this part of Arizona is very nice this time of year, especially compared to most of the rest of the country, I do not like the late “sunrise.” Today, that occurred at 7:25 AM. Regardless of when daylight commences I still wake up early. Since I don’t really see well enough in the dark to drive (I lose virtually all peripheral vision in low light) I am basically stuck at home. Yes, I remember: EVERYTHING is a trade-off.

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My wonderful wife would never forgive me if I picked a make other than Jaguar as the “J” car in Cars A To Z. By the way, although we are still waiting for the final and most important result, she is feeling better every day post-surgery. Once again, we thank those of you who have offered good wishes.

Jaguar was founded in 1922 (the year my marvelous mom was born) as the Swallow Sidecar Company by William Lyons and William Walmsley. When the latter wanted to sell his stake in the company, Lyons formed S.S. Cars Limited and raised capital by selling shares in the new company in 1933. In 1945 the company name was changed to Jaguar Cars Limited.

To me, Jaguar has excelled in terms of exterior design. Consider the car shown below:

 

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This XJ6 coupe, of which fewer than 10,000 were made between 1975 and 1978, is not one of the company’s better known models. Still, its aesthetics are just wonderful to me. Of course, Enzo Ferrari called the next car the most beautiful he had ever seen:

 

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This is a picture of a lot offered at the Mecum Monterey auction in 2016: a 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 roadster. While I have never named the E-Type to any of my Ultimate Garages, I do think the car has a great design. I also prefer the looks of the car shown below:

 

 

Yes, dirt and all I think the number of better looking cars can be counted on the fingers of no more than two hands, maybe just one. This is a Jaguar F-Type convertible, which was included in Ultimate Garage 3.0.

With the exception of the XJ-220, Jaguar’s recent idiom has been more in the great-looking car with good performance niche as opposed to the supercar/hypercar arena. Jaguar did have much success at Le Mans in the 1950s. Of course, Jaguar Land Rover recently announced they will make only electric-powered vehicles beginning in 2025. Let’s hope the company continues its tradition of great exterior design and doesn’t succumb to the mind-numbing sameness that afflicts most of the automobile industry.

Once again, a blog post is not an appropriate venue in which to tell the story of an automobile company with a long history. I am sure some of you know far more about Jaguar than I do and I welcome your contributions.

 

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Twelve One Twenty-One

So, this is the last month of the year that was supposed to be better than the last year. It sure as hell doesn’t seem that way to me.

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While the number of views and visitors for November declined significantly compared to October, so did the number of posts. I wrote only 20 posts last month, the fewest since I wrote 18 posts in March of 2020.

As I have written before, the correlation (technically, the zero-order correlation coefficient) between the number of posts in a month and the number of views is about .6, which is fairly strong. Speaking of blog views, so far the post about the “G” car (Graham-Paige) has the most views of any in Cars A To Z, about 13 percent more than the “C” car (Chevrolet).

Speaking of blog stats…the average number of comments per post doubled from 2018 to 2019 and, basically, doubled again from 2019 to 2020. However, in 2021 that number is down about 13%. While I always welcome thoughts from “The Big Five” commenters and understand that only a small percentage of blog readers submit comments, I humbly ask that those of you who read Disaffected Musings on a regular or semi-regular basis and have not commented to please feel free to submit thoughtful comments. Also, please feel free to tell your friends about this blog and please feel free to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest.

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While I will always think that wokeness, Critical Race Theory, cancel culture and the like are 360 degrees of wrong (OK, maybe 358 degrees, even a blind squirrel can stumble onto an acorn), I will be writing about those topics much less in the future. I think that readers of this blog want to read about cars and maybe a little bit about my life more than anything else. Besides, in the polarized world in which we live my writing about those subjects will not change anyone’s mind.

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On this day in 1989 Jaguar shareholders agreed with the recommendation of the Board of Directors and accepted Ford’s offer to buy the company. An economic recession that affected most of the “Western” world in the early 1990s also affected Jaguar. During 1991 early retirement and voluntary redundancy “programs” were introduced that by the end of the year had reduced the workforce by a third; the total headcount was down to 8,000 employees. In that year Jaguar sales in Europe declined by 35 percent compared to 1990 and US sales declined by 50 percent.

Ford sold Jaguar (and Land Rover, which it had acquired in 2000) to Tata Motors of India in 2008. Supposedly, Ford sold the companies for half the amount it paid and Jaguar lost money every year under Ford ownership. The Jaguar product line was expanded during The Blue Oval’s stewardship as the S-Type was introduced in 1999 and the X-Type in 2001. The traditional focus of the company, sports car/grand tourer, also changed with the introduction of the XK-8 in 1996, replacing the long-running XJS.

 

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The XK-8 (and XK-R, the supercharged version), either in convertible or coupe form, was a great looking car with good performance. I don’t know if the vehicle had quality control issues, in general, but the one my wonderful wife owned was–how shall I phrase this?–less than reliable. She purchased the car used, but with some of the original factory warranty remaining. Almost as if the car knew, once the warranty expired things began to go wrong. The last ten months she owned the car she/we had to spend about $10,000 on repairs. The final straw was the $4,000 bill to replace the ABS module.

I don’t know if Jaguars are more reliable since the company was acquired by Tata Motors. Of course, I see the irony in two of Britain’s iconic brands being owned by an Indian company.

Has anyone reading ever owned a Jaguar? What is your favorite Jaguar? If you remember my Ultimate Garage 3.0, then you probably remember this car:

 

 

Yes, Enzo Ferrari supposedly called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car he’d ever seen. Yes, I also think it’s a great design. I just like the F-Type more. So sue me…

 

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Friday Filament

To the “clueless” people (I am being kind in that characterization) who think the Chinese government is wise and fair and just, remember what happened on this day in 1989. From Wikipedia:

 

“The Tiananmen Square protests, known as the June Fourth Incident in China, were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing during 1989. In what is known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops armed with assault rifles and accompanied by tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the People’s Liberation Army to occupy parts of central Beijing. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.”

 

Fast forward to today and the Chinese government is engaged in what I feel will ultimately be a losing battle: to get China to be first-world wealthy before its demographics implode. The government’s recent decision to allow Chinese couples to have a third child is a tacit admission of that reality, although I think it’s too little, too late. The blatant theft of intellectual property is also part of that battle.

I think both nations at the top of the world in total GDP will be radically different 50 to 100 years from now than they are today, but–obviously–I will not live to see the transformation. Maybe the EU and a unified, democratic Korea (hopefully) will be the economic kings of the hill.

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For some reason, this post from last November–The Paradox Of Choice–had a fair number of views yesterday. As the title implies, I wrote about how we can have too many choices, that even choice has diminishing marginal utility. Of course, trying to limit choice to reach the “optimal” level is impossible.

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As a slightly early anniversary present for my wonderful wife, I am going to write about one of her favorite makes of automobiles, Jaguar. I believe that, like Aston Martin, Jaguar has basically never made an ugly car. What about Ferrari, you ask? Well, they made the FF, which I think is hideous, sort of a neither fish nor fowl creation.

My wonderful wife got to fulfill her dream of owning a Jaguar with one of these:

 

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From motoimg and Vantage Sports Cars a picture of a 2002 Jaguar XK-8 convertible. Unfortunately for my wife, the reality of owning this car did not come close to living up to the fantasy.

She purchased the car used, but with some of the original warranty remaining. As if the car knew, within a month of warranty expiration systems began to fail. The last ten months she owned the car she/we spent in excess of $10,000 in repairs. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the $4,000 bill to replace the ABS module.

Here is a picture of another Jaguar, probably the most famous one in the company’s history:

 

 

It is part of automotive lore that Enzo Ferrari called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car he had ever seen. Whether or not he actually said that, the E-Type is certainly orders of magnitude closer to being the most beautiful than to being the ugliest.

As every regular reader knows, I am very fond of the current Jaguar sports car, the F-Type. Here is a relevant photo:

 

 

Even dirty, the lines of this car are just breathtaking to me, and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way. If I publish my Ultimate Garage 3.0, the exercise will have to begin with the acknowledgment that such an endeavor is, for me, basically a beauty contest. More on that later, maybe…

Have a great weekend!

 

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