Got home from work yesterday afternoon (left work early… one of the small benefits of being “the boss” I guess. But given the distance of my commute, it is a wash) so I could drive my wife to pick up her new car. Well, it isn’t a car really, and I had nothing to do with her choice, other than her choice of fuel. She picked a Jeep Liberty, with the 2.8 liter common rail Diesel. It will be her second oil-burner; she drove a Volvo 440TD when we lived in the UK. I had been looking for an older Mercedes S-class or E-class Diesel for her, but the prices for used oil-burners has gone nuts. Plus her accountant filled her in on the rules our wonderful IRS has dreamed up and her choices suddenly became very limited.
You see she is self-employed (an attorney) and works out of our home. She doesn’t really need a car at all, except to go to court, or other work related things. She wanted to have a car specifically for her business and have it be owned by the business, paid for by the business, and therefore deductible as a business expense. The IRS though says you can’t do that with a Car. But you CAN do it with a “Truck”. Sigh… no wonder there are so many SUVs on the road!
She did want a Diesel though, as she’s seen the massive drop in fuel costs since I started making my own for the TDI Jetta. The primary thing that attracted to me to my wife when I met her was the fact that she’s CHEAP. (OK, so it was the secondary thing, but over time it has become the primary thing! =)
Her choices of Diesel “truck/SUV” were limited to gargantuan pickups, heavily armored urban assault vehicles, or the “cute” Liberty. She chose the latter.
She’s a diminutive woman, and on the surface very shy and quiet, but lurking just below is a litigator that can strike fear into the heart of any mortal. She jealously guards her bottom-line, and fearlessly attacks any weakness shown by opposites in negotiation. I let her do all the car buying in this family as she is my secret weapon against car salesmen. It is a joy to watch her tear them apart. In this purchase however, I was not around, I just drove her to the dealer to pick it up. Naturally, we took the E-type. I mean, how better to add insult to injury? =)
Being a Friday afternoon in the Puget Sound area, I chose to stay off the main routes for our trip south to Monroe (a town NE of Seattle), and chose instead my tried and true “back road” that I used to take to work when my office was in Bothell (another town NE of Seattle). The “back road” is a joyful, twisty set of two-lanes that meander along the base of the Cascade Foothills from where I live east of Arlington, through Granite Falls, Lake Roesinger and ending in Monroe. The first half follows the south fork of the Stilliguamish river, the second half just follows some wonderful hilly bits down to the Snohomish river. Even though it was a Friday afternoon during “rush hour”, we only passed two cars the whole trip. Meanwhile, just downhill to the west thousands of cars were struggling along the choked I-5 and SR-9 routes. With the wife in the car I didn’t really do the usual “drive it like I stole it” but she still had to hang on to her hair & hat and did dive for the grab handle and close her eyes a few times. Mission Accomplished. =)
I drop her off at the dealer, get my first look at her new “car”, and head back north for some more spirited driving on the return trip. The road through Monroe, US2 was choked with cars, as it was around 6 pm, but once off on my “back road” it was all clear.
It was actually wonderful. Open road. The sun on it’s odd Solstice tangent course towards the northern horizon, snow dappled mountains glimpsed between tall Douglas firs and Western Red Cedars, the roar of Sir William’s Sixth Symphony echoing off it all. I had forgotten my radar detector but had thrown caution out of the cockpit, this road was all mine for the moment. I recall seeing a speed limit sign and glancing down to see the needle indicating over 2x. The car was even more confident than I, handling every curve like a dream and eating every straight away like a cop on a Krispy Kreme. I did have to slow to pass two cars, but both happened to be near passing zones. THREE times cars going the opposite direction flashed the lights and gave me the thumbs up. The last of these was a guy in a T-bucket hot rod basically out for the same ride. I guess this secret was is no longer secret.
As I neared the end of my journey, out of the corner of my eye I saw, and recognized a shape. A lithe, unique shape. An unmistakable shape. My whole head turned, then the Wilwoods brought the 65E to a sudden, straight stop, and I popped the car into reverse and pulled into a driveway.
Right here, before my eyes, in Arlington Heights, Washington of all places, is *another* Jaguar E-type!
It is an unrestored, series 1.5 2+2, in Beige (unique to 1968 I think). I look it over, grab a few photos with my cell phone (one of the rare moments without my real camera close at hand!), knock on their door (no answer), and finally write a note on my business card and leave it on the passenger-side window of the car with my phone number. I drive away dumbfounded. I never would have imagined seeing another E-type out here in the woods. The wife’s new Jeep will fit in quite well, but I always feel the oddball behind the wheel of the E surrounded by jacked up pickups and gigantic SUVs around here. I hope to meet the owner soon.
The wife’s old New Beetle goes on eBay soon. Off to give it a wash!