The Super Great Car-Finding Saga Extravaganza – Part Two

(The title of this blog is not pretentious at all.)

When we last left off here, I had returned home after getting shafted by the car salesman at Easy Buy Auto Sales. Completely disregarding that, I called him the next day to set up a test drive on the following Monday. My hopes were high and my eyebrows bristled with anticipation.

Monday morning found me at the car lot with two friends, Joe and Danielle. The salesman had nicely offered to bring the Jag down from the lot, and arrived at the lot at 9:15, ten minutes after we had arrived. The Jag needed a quick jump, and then we were on our way. Naturally I drove, and Joe sat next to me and Danielle sat in the back and complained about the loose, dangling headliner. In all fairness to her, it was pretty gross - I mean, who knows how many old peoples’ hair it had touched!?

It’s rather hard to describe the feeling that welled up inside of me when I had both hands on the wheel of a luxury car, my butt firmly in a well-worn seat, driving a smooth in-line V-6 that purrs like a cat next to a hot water bottle. The low growl of the finely tuned engine, still in tip-top shape after all these years, was soon ambient noise as the rolling green hillsides and shady, tree-lined avenues whizzed by. The car handled extremely well, and all the outside lights worked. About five minutes into the test drive, however, I noticed that my speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge weren’t moving. Um, that could be problematic.

I really don’t know how it took me so long to notice that. I guess I was too preoccupied with listening to the engine and transmission, and testing the brakes.

I got us lost on the test drive, and we ended up on the backroads of Chester County for about twenty minutes. When we made it safely and legally back to the dealer, I asked the guy, Doug, about the issue. He said that the car had been sitting on the lot for seven months, but had recently passed inspection. Apparently since then the board controlling the three gauges had failed. That seemed fishy. I told him I would be in contact and left for work.

Once back in familiar surroundings, I started asking people I knew their opinions of my prospective purchase. I learned that the speedo and odo board failing was a common problem in older European luxury cars, and the fix could be as easy as some re-wiring or as expensive as a $400 board replacement. Strike one. My friend Tony, who sells cars for a living, had this bit of advice for me.

“Dann, I sell cars for a living. I don’t try to sell Jags. People actively buy Jags. I never recommend a Jag to anyone. In my opinion they aren’t well made cars, and, in fact, I think an’85 Jag is the worst possible choice for a car for you. The Brits don’t know how to make a dam car. Buy something you can get parts for easily – ideally a Japanese import.”

This sounded like very good advice to me. I decided that pursuing the novelty of owning a Jag was not in my best interest at this time in my life, or possibly ever. It would have been cool to be able to say, “Yeah, my first car was a Jaguar,” but paying through the nose for specialized imported parts would have thrown a wet blanket on that really fast, I feared. The Jag would have to sit on the lot for a bit longer.

Fear not, dear readers, part three is near.