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erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/14/20 1:57 p.m.

I did my first post last night and introduced myself, I'll start with the story of this build, which is essentially my first car.   Objects take on special meaning when they are part of significant events in your like.  This story begins in 1981.  This object has been around for several of those events.  

In 1981, while I was in High School in Hollywood Florida, my dad brought home this Jaguar XKE as a project.  It sorta ran, and it doesn't look too bad, from this photo.  What you cannot see is the rusty floor, oil leaks and tattered interior.   The engine and drivetrain seemed otherwise ok.  

With minimal tools and even less knowledge, I stated working on it.  I had an afterschool job at a dealership "Sports Car South" in the parts department.  They sold Alfas, Fiats, Triumphs and MG's.  Dark years for all of those cars.  I got British Leyland Parts parts at 25% off, and some immediate  contacts and friends.  I started going to races - Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) and Hollywood Speedway- The Sportatorium  was there as well.  I saw Van Halen there- my first concert!  It is a parking lot or shopping center now...     

About a year later, the car got a coat of red paint  for about $350,  done after hours at Sports Car South.  There are some accessory items, wire wheels, redline Michelins and those  ubiquitous 1980's fog lights.  Not seen  are the cassette deck, Radio shack amplifier and speakers.  The rust and oil leaks and tattered interior remained unmolested. 

The third picture is from the Vintage race at Sebring, before the 12 Hour race.  I was corner working as an SCCA flag worker.  The Jaguar XKSS is driven by the kind gentleman Walter Hill, who gave me a ride at PBIR in his lightweight E type around the same year.  So thrilling!  The story will continue  as I find pre-digital photos....

Thank you for allowing me to share this- ERDocMitch

 

  

 

 

 

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Dork
7/14/20 3:56 p.m.
erdocmitch said:

With minimal tools and even less knowledge, I stated working on it.  I had an afterschool job at a dealership "Sports Car South" in the parts department.  They sold Alfas, Fiats, Triumphs and MG's.  Dark years for all of those cars.  I got British Leyland Parts parts at 25% off, and some immediate  contacts and friends.  I started going to races - Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) and Hollywood Speedway- The Sportatorium  was there as well.  I saw Van Halen there- my first concert!  It is a parking lot or shopping center now...     

Any possibility you knew a guy named Chuck Sparks?  He was in that area around about then and worked on Italian and English exotics

Hasbro (Forum Supporter)
Hasbro (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/14/20 5:15 p.m.

Subscribed and welcome.

A kid in my 7th grade jr high class and his father removed every nut and bolt on an XKE. Three years later on the first day of high school he pulls in to the parking lot. It was flawless. Nice first car.

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/14/20 7:24 p.m.

Mr Asa:  Sorry, don't know Chuck Sparks. 

Hasbro:  I can certainly assure you I haven't done anything flawless.  My wife will attest to that. 

I am pulling up photos for the next chapter... 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
7/14/20 7:38 p.m.

Welcome!

I'm really looking forward to this!

 

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/14/20 7:40 p.m.

More please! What a car. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey with it.

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/14/20 7:41 p.m.

1982:   I leave for college in Virginia and the Jaguar gets parked in my parent's garage, now living in Miami Lakes.  I have a brief affair with a 1956 Ford F-100 pickup and then traded that for a Harley Davidson Aeracchi 250 Enduro when I couldn't afford the insurance on the truck.   All the things that can distract an nineteen year old boy do, and I quite school after my Freshman year.  I return to Miami, and the Jaguar is in focus.  I get a job with my family business, and am making enough money to sort of fix the floors.  I rent a warehouse and get a "guy" to help do the metal working .     

Right lower:  body work after getting backed into on a date in Coconut Grove

Right Upper- engine out, ready for repairs.  Look at those skinny tires!

Left upper - floorboards cut away  

Left lower-  After the floors are fixed, The "guy" disappears and Im stuck with this disaster.  The car will wind up sitting for a year or so...   

The  rest of the 80's to be continued...  

 

 

 

  

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/14/20 7:50 p.m.

Woody: 1969 with a 6 cylinder 

Trumpant: Thank you.  It is a combination of nostalgia and therapy ... 

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
7/14/20 10:29 p.m.

I gotta follow this one...

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/15/20 7:16 a.m.

I eventually found someone to replace the rocker panels and the Jaguar was back on the road.  I was making a living in sales.  Remember the family business part?  I was on the road selling women's  clothing and swimwear!  I was mostly driving a 1982 Audi 5000, but at least it had a manual gearbox.  I had a few fun road trips in the Jaguar, but I didn't do much work on it and I  couldn't find any pictures.  Around 1986  a series of work events made me question future.  I then offhandedly  got the and the best, most timely advise I have ever received.   

"Why don't you do something with you life?"  I enrolled in University of Miami that day.

As far as the Jaguar, the $350  red paint from high school was bubbling through., and even though the rocker panels were replaced, the rest of the car was really starting to look bad.  With no money and even less skill,  I went to work on it myself.  This is how the car looked as we enter 1990... 

      

 

 

        

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
7/15/20 7:25 a.m.

Great story so far.  Curious where this goes.

JoeTR6 (Forum Supporter)
JoeTR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/15/20 7:31 a.m.

I'll be following along.

E-type Jags are still my favorite cars.  I had visions of buying one in the late 70s when they were still available for $5000.  Alas, I didn't have that much to spend until the late 80s, at which time that was rusty TR6 money.

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/15/20 11:48 a.m.

All who commented- Thanks for the encouragement !

1990 Life starts moving at hot lap pace.  I graduate U. of Miami, and manage to get accepted to Nova Southeastern medical school.  One night at Tae Kwon Do class a conversation with a classmate gets started about the multi-colored Jaguar in the parking lot.   It will be turn out to be the only interest she shows in the car over the next 30 years...  I have good reasons for not pressing her on this subject.  Melanie continues to provide the most delightful insights into my gasoline obsession ... 

 

 

 

 

I show up for medical school August, 1990 in this-   

 

 

 

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/15/20 1:52 p.m.

Subscribed, my all time favorite car! I remember when these sat in the back behind British Car repair shops and you could buy them all day long for a few grand..... Those days are almost long gone. I saw on on Facebook recently for 18K down in Bethesda that was garage kept, but needed restoration. It was sold in minutes on Facebook. I'll keep looking......

rustomatic
rustomatic New Reader
7/15/20 3:05 p.m.

Awesome start, dude!  I have low standards, but I love the 1990 version; it's kind of like a scratched-up Rolex or a thrashed mansion in an expensive zip code.  The TKD kick pose with the ankle bracelet is pretty hot, too . . .

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/15/20 5:23 p.m.

The story continues -  In medical school the first semester is mostly gross anatomy.  It isn't called gross by accident.  The formaldehyde is especially difficult to get used to.  I form a friendship with Ed, who starts to teach me about paint and body work.   Ed and I take breaks from the anatomy lab and go in the parking lot with a few hand tools and mess with the Jag.  It was optimistic,  but we built a friendship that lasts to this day.... 

June 1991, When we came back from our honeymoon, Melanie's 1981 Toyota , left outside, had literally filled with water like a fishbowl from those crazy Florida summer monsoons.  We needed new wheels for her, and had about $1500 to spend. At the time, I know of only one car I could keep on the road for that kind  of money...   

Marriage will reveal a lot  about yourself, some isn't pretty.  One realization is that I have no ability to detect rust.  Enter the Beetle.   

Melanie learns tro drive a stick in an hour and demonstrates her sense of humor for driving this car in Miami for the next year.   For anyone who has owned one, they can be "driven by wire" if you break the throttle cable. 

The  picture is in the parking garage of  our condo in Hallandale- right on the beach.  It was my grandmother's and when she died it became vacant and unmarketable at the time.  We moved in.   The fresh ocean breeze does wonders for cars.  

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/16/20 9:45 a.m.

Under Ed's influence, I seek to make the car presentable.  to give you an idea, Ed will buy a new car and then buff it out, to make the paint better.   With student loan money in hand,  we find a guy working out of a North Miami warehouse and he gets to work.      

2 weeks and several pounds of bondo (I would later find out) .... 


It's now Spring, 1992.  I'm into my second year of medical school, newly married and driving this.  Ignore the hair.   Life is good.   

 

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Reader
7/16/20 9:56 a.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

Subscribed, my all time favorite car! I remember when these sat in the back behind British Car repair shops and you could buy them all day long for a few grand..... Those days are almost long gone. I saw on on Facebook recently for 18K down in Bethesda that was garage kept, but needed restoration. It was sold in minutes on Facebook. I'll keep looking......

I was offered one for $3,000 when I was an undergrad in college. My dad would have loaned me even more than that for a 'sensible' car like a new Chevy Nova, but NOT for an unreliable Jaguar. In the 80s, nobody wanted them. Back then I had an MGA and several MG Midgets. Not one bought for more than $500. I didn't keep a single one. 

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/16/20 10:05 p.m.

The orange colored Beetle lasts a year.  While doing some repair work I find a lot of rust.  We sell that and buy a Volvo 240 turbo with a stick.   Spring  break we take the Volvo all the way to Harbor Springs, Michigan and back.  It runs flawlessly.  The Jaguar sits in the parking garage enjoying the ocean breeze.  When we return two weeks later, the clutch is fused to the flywheel.  No amount of pushing, and jerking antics free it up.  I have the car towed to my parents new house in Cutler RIdge, which is close to Homestead, Florida.         

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
7/16/20 10:13 p.m.

In reply to erdocmitch :

One of many reasons I will never live on a beach. I HATE rust. There are other reasons, but we will not get into that here. 
 

Love Jaguars, almost as much as I love Alfa Romeos. 

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
7/17/20 4:06 a.m.

Awesome story, definitely following....

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/18/20 11:12 p.m.

The story brings us to Summer of 1992.  I  head to my parents house on weekends to work on the car when I can, as I'm now in my second year of medical school.  I pull the engine/gearbox, which is the only way to get at the clutch.  It was "welded" to the flywheel. I get it almost all back together by mid August. ..     

I was still doing Tae Kwon Do, and wound up taking decent hit in the head in class - I should be better at blocking.   I noticed some floaters the next day in class, and headed over to the optometry department.  Southeastern University, now Nova Southeastern U. had a  school of optometry, pharmacy and medicine.  It was quickly determined I had a retinal detachment.  My surgery was Friday, August 21, 1992.   

Saturday morning  and still recovering from surgery, we evacuated our Hallandale condo under threat of Hurricane Andrew.    My parents were out of town, so our first stop was to do what we could to secure their boat on Key Biscayne. We doubled up all the lines, and secured what we could.   We headed to their house and taped windows.   Then we headed to Kendall to stay  with Melanie's parents.   When Hurricane  Andrew came through Sunday going into Monday, it was like having a freight train drive on your roof.   Fortunately, the house was 1950's well built, and wasn't  badly damaged.  The screen over the pool was gone,  but that was about all. We headed the 5 or so miles to see what happened to my parent's house.  The damage to the  Kendall-Cutler Ridge area was catastrophic.  We had a direct hit of a category 5 hurricane...  

 

erdocmitch
erdocmitch New Reader
7/19/20 4:23 p.m.

Engine out, a few weeks before Andrew...

Spectacular story. Spectacular car.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/19/20 5:57 p.m.

What a great thread!! 

Absolutely LOVE the 80s pictures as I have some great memories of the mid 80s down here in south Florida. 

Following along. 

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