Green, Grey, And Grim

 

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I cannot help wondering whether the  Jaguar motor company who built this saloon after the Second World War had been engaged in painting day fighters for the RAF…and pinched some of the paint for the cars. I looked hard to see if there were any roundels or unit markings but didn’t see any…

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I believe it to be a Jaguar Mk VIII and that places it at 1956. I base this judgement on the cutouts of the rear wheel arches with their rather spectacular swoop curve – a curve that seemingly does not match the contour of the tyre it exposes. It matches the curves of the rest of the body, however, and gives more of a sporting swoop than the closed arch of the Mk VII.

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Well, who owned it? I am guessing a rich pastoralist or other magnate here in the colonies – it has a Geraldton license plate right now so I tend to the rural expalnation. It would have been even more of an expression of imperial power and riches then than its contemporary would be now – after all, expensive motor cars are much more common on our roads than any car would have been then. But speculations on power and money are the stuff of another post…

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This Jaguar was parked for the pleasure of the crowd but not open to their fingers. Note the rather regal interior awnings on the passenger’s side with the tapestry patten. I think that these must swing outwards when the windows are opened to provide shade and possibly to avert the gaze of the masses. This was a day far before the air conditioner, and every driver of a Honda or Nissan who sits next to this MkVIII at the lights on a 40ºC day can congratulate themselves at what the vents on the dash of even the tiniest modern car can do.

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I will give the Jag the benefit of the stylishness of the interior – walnut, I believe, back and front. It  certainly seemed that the British were the masters of woodwork for car interiors at the time, and they also seem to have extended that time a long way. Of course Detroit did it in the 60’s and 70’s as well, but then the period of ’64 to ’69 was the great era of the walnut veneer in EVERYTHING in North America. I remember seeing it on every blessed product that could sport a flat surface and take glue. Then came plastic wood-grained things and it all got out of hand. I even remember the first dental control unit I bought from some firm of beavers in Oregon had wood veneer on the front panel. Which promptly peeled off.

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Okay, Back to the Jag. Look at those front whitewalls. This is what living in Geraldton does to you. Full marks to the owner for keeping the rest of the paintwork as well as he has, and for making sure the brightwork is all fitting and working.

Let us hope we see more of it at vintvet events here in Perth. It would be instructive and pleasing to see what is under the bonnet and to see if it has still got its British electrical system.

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