Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Natty Brit in Brooklyn

I was riding the bike near the beginning of Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn on my way out to Coney Island when I saw this improbable vision:
Whoa! Talk about an unexpected find in the Windsor Terrace/Kensington/Flatbush area.
This is a 1967 Jaguar 420 G in Opalescent Silver Gray Metallic. This is a large car with a commanding presence. A full-size Jaguar Saloon in fine shape overall. How did it end up here?
As far as Jags go this is about as big as they get in the post war era. It is so stately and extremely British in every aspect even though it was primarily aimed for the American market.
One detail when encountering a Jaguar of this vintage is the grill. The vertical center bar means that this is the 420 G as opposed to the earlier Mark X. In addition if you ever see a grill where the top is scalloped as opposed to smooth it means the car is actually a Daimler. Jaguar and Daimler shared almost every aspect from this era through the current day but the grill is the guaranteed identifier.
*By the way I believe all 4 headlights are the same size but the beauty rings surrounding the outer ones make them seem larger.
When this body style came out the chairman of Jaguar was asked if the Mark X had gotten too large. His answer was that it "definitely had"(!) and that the smaller XJ6 was the ideal size in his opinion. Imagine the head of the company throwing their highest offering under the bus like that! I guess in the days when international communication was a prolonged affair and there was no internet to showcase your comments you could do that.
Under that long hood resides a 4.2 Liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Coincidentally the 420 G weighed 4,200 lbs from the factory.
The doors are so massive and heavy that they required special hinges with torsion springs hidden within to allow them to be opened with an acceptably gentle amount of effort.
Many of these cars came in 2 tone paint with that chrome trim line acting as the border between the upper and lower colors.
This fine example still has its compliment of original hubcaps complete with a jaguar face in the center. That square of chrome to the right of the wheel is a jack point. If you had to change a tire on the road you removed that cover and the tube it's resting in is where you placed the jack.
Look at that location for the gas cap; just under the corner of the rear window! Amazing that the paint is in decent shape around that spot as you would need to take a good amount of care when fueling up.
Every detail gives the impression of solid craftsmanship. The emblems are real metal with a nice finish. The license plate recess is made for the U.S. market in its shape; an unusual concession in a British car from the '60s.
This was the first Jaguar to have independent rear suspension. The rear brakes on these cars might surprise the uninitiated as they aren't a part of the wheel assembly themselves. The brakes are actually located on the innermost portion of the axles in the center of the car. I suppose in some ways it helps with handling and the center of gravity but I imagine it means that working on them is a big job.
2 gas tanks? You might think this would equate with a very long range yet each tank was only good for about 8 and a half gallons. The total range for this big ride is about 250 miles.
Jumper cables notwithstanding you can just tell those seats are extremely well built. The leather is crazed and has signs of wear but you know by looking at them how comfortable they are. Those vents above the seat indicate that this is fitted with optional air conditioning, something that was only available since 1966.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the last of the "true" Jaguar interiors where every detail is made up of genuine hardwood fashioned by craftsmen. A full compliment of gauges and a central clock greet the driver. Those toggle switches are as period British as it gets. Power windows are controlled by that central console unit. It looks like they're working on the heating and air conditioning controls at the moment but we can still see the optional 8-track stereo below complete with a tape in it!
A lady came out of the house to see what I was up to and was very receptive to the fact that I was admiring the car. In fact I got the impression that I'd somehow gotten the unseen husband off the hook for awhile as she said it was his project and she hoped he'd finish it soon. Regardless this is not the sort of classic you expect to see on the streets of Brooklyn. If you are thinking about restoring one I would highly recommend you start with an example this nice and complete as parts are just about impossible to find. Hats off to this natty Brit!

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