Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Drive to Hudson British Car Show

I came back sun burnt, tired and smelling of Jag. But we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that day. This is how it all began...

We were leaving at 9am, so I set the alarm for 7am. But of course, I woke up at 8am! Ran through the shower and got changed. The chocolate croissant for breakfast still clenched with my teeth I rushed out to get the Jag out of the garage. Put the key in and turned it, but nothing! Not even a click from the starter relay. I had checked all the fluids the night before and drove the car around a bit so it was definitely not what I was expecting. Now almost 8:30am, rushing again, I got the jumper cables out of the Mercedes and hooked the two together. Tried the key again and the V12 came to life!

I think I've killed the battery again. I've been driving around without the battery box for a while now because I bought the wrong size battery. I bought the biggest one I could find at the time because that damn Lucas starter motor would barely turn over with less than 800 CCA. Now replaced with a Japanese gear reduction starter that sounds like it might even run on lemon juice, I really ought to get a battery that will fit in the battery box. Anyways...

The Jag out of the garage, I double checked that I had my trusty adjustable wrench in the boot and found I had forgot my petrol can. I usually keep a 20L petrol can when driving the Jag because my range is usually half of what the rest of the guys in the club get with their little XK engines :) Found the can at the back of the garage, threw it in the boot and I was set! Stopped at the petrol station on Woodrofe, filled up both tanks and hit the 417 East towards our rendezvous in Orleans.

Got to the rendezvous and was a little disappointed to see we were only 3 Jags and a Bentley. First drive of the season even.

The co-ordinator had a very well planned route as usual. We drove south east towards Hudson using some fast B-roads. With the ol'Borg Warner 12 fully warmed up we were flying. If any of you have driven an old flat head V12 with the 3-speed BW12, you know exactly how insatiable the neck snapping response is at 2500rpm. It was a blast!

First stop on the way was Beau's brewery. We all sampled their premium “Lug Thread” larger. It wasn't bad. But then again I don't really wander far from Heineken to know much about anything else.

Back on the road and nearing Hudson we came towards a stop sign just at the bottom of a small hill. Admittedly not particularly aware of the sign, I hit the brakes at the last minute and locked up the rear wheels. The violent yelp from the tired Dunlops gave the guy in the XKE in front of me flashbacks of his recent back injury. But we were all good.

Excellent turn out for the show. Easily 200 cars in about 7 rows. Almost 2 rows of just Jags. The Rolls-Royce club was in full force, impressively taking up almost an entire row of their own. Lots of Minis, Triumphs, MGs Austins. a couple of Land Rovers, Astons and Lotuses too. Hiding between two Lotuses, a little BMW Isetta managed to find its way onto the grounds as well.

All in all, it was your typical car show, there were $2 hot dogs, cakes, drunk French people and some pretty dull 90s music playing in the background. The weather was beautiful (sunburn to prove it!) and the cars looked great.

While making my rounds I spotted an absolutely immaculate Concours standard silver Series 2 Silver Shadow. Came a little closer and noticed a For Sale sign. Red sheep skin with red piped seats. A real stunner. After a chat with the owner, I discovered that the car was family owned since new and had just 30k miles on it. And you can believe it, I haven't heard a push-rod engine sound that sweet in my life.

When the chap started it, both Brake #1 and #2 warning lights came on. Complete brake failure! For those of you who aren't familiar with these cars, the old RRs and Bentleys used a hydropneumatic system for both the suspension and brakes. Cam driven with two pumps, a rat's nest of piping and valves under the driver's floor, a horrendously unnecessarily complex system. Likely the reason these cars today are worth less than a nice Jaguar MK2 for example – a car several times cheaper when new.

Not wanting to let his wife see him come back in a flat bed, he was determined to get the brakes back. He asked me to help him out. I gladly went and got my wrenches out of the Jag and got under the big Roller with my oily rag. Dirtied everything up a little, just for good measure, bled both front brakes, right there on the field and voila, Brake #1 warning light went off. A small crowd gathering at this point, the owner was quite embarrassed with the whole affair. I offered him $15,000 for the car, but he was rather insulted. Claiming it was a special edition, and this and that and it was appraised at over $40k... I bid him good day and went on my way.

Managed to kill a couple of hours and regrouped with Al and friends at 2:30pm. We found a fellow Ottawa Jag club member at the show. Apparently he was planning to join us, but he couldn't find the rendezvous. In any case, he decided to join us on the way back. One of the chaps we came with had left on his own, so we were once again, only three Jags and a Bentley.

Back on the road, the Bentley flash his lights once, didn't think much of it at the time, but a few minutes later he disappeared from the convoy. I quickly signalled the leader to pull over and I turned round and went back to find him. A few kms away I found him pulled over on the side of the road with the bonnet open. I initially thought he lost his brakes as well. But soon found out that the old six and three-quarter litre v8 bruiser had run out of petrol! Luckily I had my 20L can of petrol in the Jag. Emptied it into the Bentley, cycled the Bosch CIS pump a few times and the old bruiser started! Back on the road again we head straight to the nearest petrol station and got filled up. And that was the end of the day. Once we got near Rockland, we went our separate ways. Overall, a very satisfying day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ottawa Jaguar Club Family Day and Concours D’Elegance

In conjunction with Flightworks Inc, the Ottawa Jaguar Club welcomes all its members and anyone with a Jaguar automobile to join for a day of interesting events including a Concours D’Elegance.

Where? The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, 11 Aviation Parkway, Ottawa

When? Saturday June 9th, 2012. Cars should not arrive before 9:00 AM.

Benefits: Free entrance to the grounds for entrants and immediate family members; free lunch for entrants and immediate family members, door prizes, free entrance to the Museum for entrants and families, and an opportunity to show off your car and seek advice from others with the same marque and model.
Other Events
    • The Aviation Museum is filled with many interesting aircraft that visitors can see such as the Spitfire above.
    • Flightworks is arranging the attendance of several other car clubs and individual collector cars as well as a number of vintage aircraft that will be flown from the area of the Jaguar Day. Finally it is possible that there will be some military vehicles from the National War Museum
    • The club will hold a meet and greet at Jaguar Ottawa on Friday 8 June at 7 PM for members and visitors. Jaguar Ottawa will provide a cash bar and finger food will be available. Jaguar Ottawa is located at 1300 Michael Street, Ottawa
      For more information and an entry form contact Mike O’Brien
      at 613-258-9136 or toll free at
      1-877-258-9131 or
      by e-mail at