Chasing a Cat: Jaguar XJ220

The 220 in the name designates the rated top speed (according to Jaguar at the time of production) and it certainly looked like it was capable of it. We came across this pearl blue Jag, roaming the streets of Malibu during our summer visit. The driver was being followed by what we thought was a friend in a Alfa Romeo 75, but there is a very good possibility he was an onlooker, much like we were. Hanging our heads out the window and aiming or cheap point and shoot digital camera at this amazing piece of British engineering, the Jag reared up, traction control took hold and she left us just as quickly as she had entered our world. Dissapointment took hold, as we realized that the next time we may ever see one of these cars was going to be behind a velvet rope at an automotive show. Dissapointment soon faded however, as we made a speedy left hand turn in our lungering SUV beast. There she sat, all 220 miles per hour of her, parked on the shoulder. The driver was stepping out and pulling up behind him was the Alfa 75. We sat in Southern California traffic, sweating and uncomfortable as the A/C had never worked properly, and wondered what the condition of the A/C in the Jag migh be in... The XJ220 was produced by Jaguar in conjunction with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, between 1992 and 1994. It featured a mid engine layout, with a 3.5l V6 and a pair of Garrett T-3 turbochargers, forcing hot air back into the intake. Making somewhere in the realm of 550bhp at 7000rpm and 475 lf/ft of torque at 4500rpm, the Jag never managed its 220mph claim, however in 1992 at the Nardo Ring, Martin Brundle managed a 217mph pass.


So-Cal Gasser

We spotted this 55' Chevy rolling the streets of So-Cal on our most recent trip down the West coast. Car culture is far more present the further South you go, and nothing says enthusiast more than a two door gasser. Before the emergence of funny cars, these were the fastest things in town. Raised fronts allowed massive weight transfer, and many were fitted with a small fuel cell (a simple metal can at the time) attached to the front bumper, in a fruitless attempt to keep the front wheels on the pavement and not pointed airborne. Made famous, at least in cult circles, by the film Two Lane Blacktop, the 55' Chevy is an icon of the "Gasser Wars" Check out http://gassermadness.com/ for more info on anything and everything post war drag racing had to offer.

The $500 British Roadster

Original wire wheels, British racing green and a soft top. It was rough, to say the least, but it wouldn't take much to bring her back to life. The car had belonged to the father of a friend and after an unsuccessful attempt to re-wire the starter switch, the car was parked for nearly two years. He intended to donate the car to charity after countless hours of frustration with British wiring, a donation that would grant him a $500 tax break. So an offer of $500 cash was made, and off we went in our new 1967 MG-B Roadster. We had it towed from the garage, a new battery installed, which constituted a re-wire from two 6 volts, to a single 12 volt battery. Along with a new starter switch (properly installed) and a bath, she was road worthy once again. With an updated syncro-mesh transmission from a 1968 model MG-B, newer rubber and decent life on the breaks, we tore our local back roads apart... for a week. Infected with the typical rocker panel rust and a serious case of corrosion in the floor boards, it appeared a better choice to unload the Britsh topless terror than to fight the never ending battle with rust and British wiring. A German couple, in town for a few weeks of vacation, came across the craigslist ad and offered $2300. Obviously we were looking to turn a profit, and profit we did. The car was transported to a local shipping agency and flown first class to Germany. Our blond haired German friend could not have been more pleased to hand over his $2300 and we could not have been happier to accept his offer.


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