IT’S TYPICAL isn’t it? Finally, I get within a gnat’s chuff of picking a new daily motor, and then the government wades in with taxation policy that more or less screams in the style of Adam Ant, ‘stand and deliver’!
The razor-witted of you will doubtless figure that I was seriously contemplating a Jaguar XJ-S. Note the hyphen is important, because it was dropped when Ford facelifted the model to create the XJS – yes it was better built and more reliable, but those new US-style rear lamps ravaged its bottom’s pertness, and style is everything with a Jag.
Having recently driven this beautiful and incredibly original pre-HE (the REALLY thirsty V12 one), it just reminded me what a sanctuary it is from the stresses, strains and terrible crash-bang-wallopy ride of current cars.
Then there’s the V12 an engine which is smoother than Roger Moore doing the breast stroke in a vat of baby oil, and which punts you down the road with all the ease of a gas turbine. Throw in looks which are an acquired taste and BL chic, and you can see why I was sold. Well, until its owner – with much sadistic glee – told me that he had just broken his fuel consumption record. Up from 14mpg on the motorway to nearly 19mpg.
Sorry, what did you just say?
By this time, I had already made tentative XJ-S mutterings to certain people and the split was as expected – blokes sort of got it, whilst the sex which isn’t made from slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails, just looked disgusted. “An old Jag…!?!”
Being a child of Thatcher, there really was only one model for which I could plum – a mid to late Eighties XJ-S 3.6 auto with double coachlines and starfish alloys (well, that and the fact that pre-HEs are already out of my reach and climbing). A nice dark grey or grey-blue with wood ’n’ leather trim, slightly better MPG and those proper rear lights. It was so serious, that I even found one for sale at around £3500 within the holy city itself.
Yet the mumblings – confirmed in the budget – started about more fuel duty on top of record fuel prices that are already far beyond £6 per gallon, and even the Charlesworth Bloke Maths Calculator® couldn’t begin to cope with the fuel cost sums. Factor in maintenance – ‘hello, is that Lucas?’ – and…
It’s sad, because it would have been the perfect companion to the Midget, which is all roof-down rortiness and B-road blitzing, and that in turn would have given me added impetus into getting the tiny terror back on the road. It was a perfect plan – I’ve already got the Return of the Saint theme on CD and I’d just bought myself a pair of stylish driving gloves.
All of which means that I’m back where I started, and it’s getting increasingly obvious that the major obstacle between me and my next car, have been put there by politicians. Be it the cost of fuel, insurance (courtesy of the misguided so-called ‘human rights bill’) and road tax. Hell, it’s almost as if someone out there has got it in for me.
What next!?! An increase in the cost of booze and a tax on pies…?