The XK140 and I are safely back in London after May's Scottish Malts Reliability Trial. The Malts, run over five days, covers 1100 miles - so I putting the old Jaguar through the trip up to Scotland, too, wasn't on the agenda.
Instead, I made the decision to take the car to Russell’s Transport near Silverstone Circuit. A good decision, as the weather was also atrocious. Jack Russell ran me back to the train station and then loaded the Jaguar into one of his impressive transport rigs.
Navigator Clive Venning and I flew up to Glasgow, and on our arrival at the Turnberry Hotel the Jaguar was waiting in the car park, clean and ready to go. As you may have read in last month’s Octane, Clive and I had a great time on this superb rally. As a novice, Clive got really competitive, but we also had some great laughs and met some fabulous people as we blasted through the Highlands.
The good news is the Jaguar ” behaved perfectly. It had been suffering a petrol leak from one of the SU carbs as well as a rear axle oil leak, but my friend Graeme Hunt had the niggles sorted out and the Jaguar went like a train all the way.
However, on one stage I had to pass a lorry rather quickly on a narrow mountain lane, and went off-piste to do so. A stupid thing to do! Sure enough, the innocent-looking verge was deeply rutted and the Jaguar got so badly jolted it began to misfire and almost cut out. It stank of petrol, but I kept it running and eventually it cleared. I think the jolt shook fuel out of the large filler cap and out of the carbs, but no damage was evident when I later inspected the suspension and underside.
To celebrate our lucky escape, that evening Clive and Ijoined Angus Forsyth and Robert Lumley in their E-type V12 and nipped off around the loch to the original Loch Fyne restaurant. Here we enjoyed a couple of dozen oysters and a cool glass of Chablis while watching the sun set over the magnificent view.
After five long, fast, superb days of driving, it was a relief to hand the XK140 back to Jack Russell and his team. Much better to relax on the aeroplane and be back in London in under-two hours with the Jaguar delivered the next day, Luxury.