If you've read my semi-regular posting, a few things become apparent. First, I love British cars. My eye has always been attracted to all the two seat classics, like Triumphs, Jags, MGs, etc. Second, I put thousands of miles a year in said cars, mostly my Triumph Spitfire. Until recently, that is. If you recall, I had some issues with my Spitfire enroute to Hilton Head, SC to visit my parents for Christmas. Well, it's still there, and I drove my mom's 96 Miata back to Austin, TX. Ethanol wreaked havoc on the cylinder head, and the Miata is doing a good job filling in.
Yet a funny thing happened on the epic "Holiday Road Trip Saga". I began to think about how the Spitfire and Miata were great cars, but not that great. They ride similarly, drive about the same, get similar mileage, but for a 1000 plus mile trip each way aren't so great. One has seats that aren't the most comfortable, the other has not nearly enough legroom for my 33 inch inseam.
So, by now you're asking "What in the world does all this drivel have to do with your title?" Well, it's pretty simple. I suddenly find my interest has shifted focus. To GT and Executive Transport sedans. In fact, this transition started in January 2013 when I bought a 1987 Jaguar XJ6. This is a car that has appealed to me for quite some time, basically since high school. Classic looks, a great ride, and in the 80's, 200+ plus HP was a pretty big deal.
As you can see, I got a Jag in pretty good shape. Sure, the speedo, cruise, and horn don't work, but the way it drives is incredible. Not only is the ride the most comfortable of any car I've driven or ridden in (and that's a LOT of cars from the 50's to today), it's also incredibly agile. Imagine a car that's as responsive to steering inputs as a Miata, but rides like sitting on your sofa. All while taking a great set around backroad corners.
But what really appeals to me is not only the smoothness, nor the tsunami of torque through the rev range. It's how comfortable and easy it is to drive. A girlfriend of mine remarked how it always seemed like I was working hard while driving my Spitfire. At some point, all the quirks that made driving and living with the Spitfire daily lost their appeal. I found myself wanting air conditioning (it gets hot here in Austin), and things like a weathertight cabin.
I mean, talk about an eye pleasing environment. Plus the seating position is absolutely perfect. That aftermarket Momo wheel doesn't hurt, either. It's as comfortable as it looks and then some. Even the back seat is just as luxurious.
Everything came to a head on that epic trip to Hilton Head. The Spitfire, which is fine for a 3 hour drive really showed its' shortcomings in a 23 hour drive. The noise, the stiff suspension, the mostly weatherproof cabin, while charming, got old. The seat wasn't as comfortable after 600 miles as it was at the end of first 200.
So I found myself wishing I was driving the Jag (which I need to replace the head gasket on) instead of the Miata by mile 500 of my return journey. By the time I arrived home in Austin, I found myself missing my Jag, that girlfriend's 2014 Altima, or even my friend's Fiesta. (It's not really a bad car. Honest.) In one 21 hour drive, I suddenly aged. As my friend Myles quipped the day I bought the Jag, "When did you turn 65 overnight?" Pretty funny, but somewhat spot on.
Now I will never sell my Spitfire as I need an FSP car for autocross and other events, but I am itching to return the Miata to my parents. I also am looking forward to replacing that head gasket to get the Jag back on the road. Plus, once I finish and sell my 1971 MGB (hint hint to interested parties) I'm going to be on the hunt for a Jag XJS with a V-12. Because, well, a V-12 powered GT is really one of the most amazing things to pilot on a road trip. Hilton Head, anyone?