1967 Jaguar: Love at First Sight
We have to admire men who know what they want and go out in the world to achieve their dreams; men like Jack Stewart.
Ever since he was a schoolboy in 1961, when Jaguar introduced the aerodynamic E-Type roadster and coupe, Stewart was enamored with the sleek cars. He says was hopelessly captivated when the 2+2 model was introduced. He saved his money, and in 1972, just before his junior year in high school, he took a train to Chicago, and visited the local Jaguar dealer. On the used car lot sat a maroon 1967 Jaguar E-Type 2+2.
“I always thought that a 2+2 would be more practical than the roadster or coupe,” Stewart says. “Only later did I learn that there is nothing practical about that car.”
There were an “estimated” 30,000 miles on a replaced speedometer. “I had my heart set on a Jaguar,” Stewart recalls. He cut a deal with the dealer, and after obtaining an adult’s signature — his mother’s — the car was delivered the next day.
When new, the Jaguar, with a dual-overhead-cam 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine was priced, he estimates, at about $6,070. Stewart and his mother left Chicago in the Jaguar on the 300-mile trip to their downstate home. The journey was uneventful, until the speedometer cable slipped off. Nevertheless it was probably just as well that his mother couldn’t tell how fast the car was going.
As with many Jaguars of that vintage, Stewart’s was not always in running condition. The good news was that he lived across the street from the high school. By the time graduation arrived, the young owner had familiarized himself with all the mechanical quirks of the car and could repair most any part of his car.
Come September, he drove off in the Jaguar to college, 150 miles away in Indiana. During the next four years he made countless trips home in all sorts of weather. “It’s been real good about not stranding me,” he says gratefully.
He has learned that his 15.33-foot-long Jaguar weighs 3,090 pounds and is supported on a 105-inch wheelbase by 70-spoke, chrome-plated wire wheels. “This was the last year Jaguar offered authentic knock-off hubs,” he says.
In order for the small rear seat to be habitable, the length of the car was stretched 9 inches and the roofline of the 2+2 model was raised, which brings the roofline of the sleek Jaguar up to the 5-foot mark. His 265-horsepower vehicle left the factory with the optional automatic transmission and an AM radio.
After a quarter century, the maroon paint was showing its age, despite the fact Stewart had garaged the car during the winter months and used public transportation. He had the rust-free car resprayed to a like-new appearance.
Over the years, he has never let anything on his car get out of hand. On a trip to New York City he lost a radiator fan in Pennsylvania, which was quickly replaced. The gracefully curved chrome bumpers also have been replated.
Stewart explains, “A lot of little things went wrong.” Consequently, the engine was rebuilt and, he says, “I swapped a four-speed manual transmission for the original automatic.”
Since then the black leather interior has been replaced and the three-spoke steering wheel has been refurbished. “I refinished that wheel myself,” Stewart says.
He credits the longevity of the one and only car he has ever owned to the fact, “I don’t drive it in the winter.”
Still, Stewart has stuck with his Jaguar through thick and thin. Others may search endlessly for the car of their dreams, but Stewart found his long ago.