I have totally buried the memories of the brief affair I had with the Jag. I had no right to as I was not a gangster, a train-robber or a minor member of the aristocracy. I was just a young copper with some spare money and a growing appreciation of motor vehicles. I don’t even know how I came to buy that particular make. It’s as if it simply conjured itself into being and placed itself right there in the shadows of my past.
The first thing that I noticed about the Jaguar was that it different. It had leather seats. What’s my thing with leather?
I put it down to the smell, the reek of opulence, me getting above my station. I don’t know how I came to buy it (if such a short period from acquisition to sale could be classed as ownership). It was a private sale which must have meant that I saw it in the newspaper classifieds or sitting in a parking space with a sign in it’s window. The guy that I bought it from had a touch of the salesman about him and he told me a story relating to the ‘Jag’s’ history.
It had been owned last by a semi-famous footballer who had played for Arsenal. “Yeh, those footballers like a nice motor.” I wouldn’t say that that sold it for me, but I didn’t hesitate to buy it.
When I drove it back to the section-house, it was all that my heart desired. I had moved from blue jeans to tuxedo in no time at all. Americans have their dreams, us Brits have ours. The British dream is not so all-encompassing and relating to wealth or power, For over a thousand years we latent Anglo-Saxons have accepted our lot in life; we were born poor and disempowered and so we shall remain. Posh cars were for the very posh or lucky lottery winners. Austin, Ford or Vauxhall were our abundant choice. I had made it and I was now sitting at the wheel of a car that had a V6 engine, leather seats and trim, and a beautifully polished walnut dashboard. I didn’t notice the all-pervading tabacco smell. nobody did back then
My dream did not last long. It was a little more than a one night stand; it lasted almost ten days and nights before the engine started smoking too. I found out that the guy who had sold it to me had not been too honest. On the other side of the coin, it could be said that I was completely naive and trusting and deserving of whatever came my way. I had been tricked, a northern yokel tricked by a southern conman.
It took some time to get a response from the address that the conman lived at. I had gone to the place for over a week in order to complain at being duped. I had no right to complain, because I should have heeded the obvious, Buyer Beware! It didn’t stop me from seeking some redress. Finally, I knocked on the door in full regalia (police uniform) and he answered it. He gave me my money back and I left his posh heap on the forecourt of his flat.
My brief moment of having made it passed. I was carless for a week or two and the memory of unrequited luxury faded faster than a pair of Brutus jeans. My next car was a much sportier proposition.