My Dad's Jag is a
1960 MK IX.
(AKA MKIX or Mark 9).
He bought it from his boss at Sandia Corporation,
sometime after 1966 and before 1972.
It had lots of fun at first... Both of my parents, 3 sisters,
and a brother were around to drive it. I was even there
from time to time, and got to drive it once or twice.
Once, my brother and some of his buddies got dressed up in
their tuxedos, borrowed my sisters' violins and violas, in the cases,
and drove it to the bank. Nobody was shot, but my brother
swears the guards had their guns out. Funny how the 1960 MkIX
evokes the cars of the '30s.
Passing time did the usual things to the Jag. It spent
more and more time in the garage, and less and less on the road.
After a while it was just another storage shelf.
My brother bought it from my dad and moved it to Denver, where
he kept it drivable, just. He had the head rebuilt, and it
ran really nicely, when it ran at all. When he moved back to Albuquerque,
he didn't really have time to maintain it. Again it was
dead in the garage.
So I bought it from him. He and a friend drove it from Albuquerque to San Jose,
1100 miles, and consumed 22 quarts of Automatic Transmission Fluid
on the trip.
In the first week, as I was taking my wife and son for a ride, the
brakes failed. (That's happened since, too...) I repaired the
master cylinder, and was able to drive it from time to time.
It was always a thrill, even though the exposure to ATF over
the years had eaten up most of the rubber in the front suspension.
I finally had the transmission repaired, but by then I was
working and parenting, and had no major problems for a few months.
Imagine how I felt, though, when I learned that all the gas in
California contained alcohol, and that the alcohol ate up the
rubber in the fuel lines and the diaphrams in the carburetors!
Then the seal on the vacuum assist failed, and the engine aspirated
all the brake fluid.
At that point I was too busy with work and family to feel like
working on it, so it languished for 6 years in my garage. When
we moved in 1999 I felt really bad about towing it. I felt worse
in the spring of 2000 when I realized that the windscreen seals
were shot, and rain had leaked in and soaked the dash and carpeting.
In 10 years I haven't driven it 10 times (unless you count pushing
it out of the garage to clean around it.)
As of August, 1999, I felt like I had enough "dot com" money to
look into restoring the car. I found a place in Los Gatos which
was well recommended, but their constant answer was "We're too busy
now; call us in two months." When that became "Don't call us, we'll
call you," I finally figured out that they didn't want to do the work.
(Well, neither do I...)
I found another place (but it's
on the other side of Sacramento.) They've expressed interest in
doing the work, but it's a long way to drag the Jag.
Every place I've contacted (and several I haven't) has warned that
the net worth of the car after restoration will be far lower than
the cost to restore it. The current place suggests that I might
be happier spending the money on a 1990's Jag.
July 20, 2000:
I've finally found the place I plan to send the Jag to:
They won't be able to start for a few months; but after a
few years, that doesn't seem like so long.