LOVE AFFAIR WITH AN XKE
(taken from The Ottawa Citizen,
When he was 23, David
Longley fell in love. He was married, but it wasn't another
woman that caused his heart to beat quickly. It was a gold
coloured car, the leather seat of which he had allowed to caress
him as he sat in the cockpit of the 1964 Series 1 Jaguar XKE in
the Montreal showroom of Jaguar of Eastern Canada.
He left the dealership, though,
with only a brochure. "No way could I ever afford something like
it," he told himself. The Jag retailed for $6,200.
That was in September 1963. A
month later, the gold car was sold to a man who traded in an
earlier XKE. David thought he would never see the car again.
A dreary winter passed. At least he had a new Volvo to
In April 1964, a salesman called to
say the Jaguar had been traded in and the price was now $5,000.
It was still not exactly manageable on a young man's salary, but
David took it as a sign that the car was meant to be his. He
cobbled together some cash and put the Volvo up as a trade.
He bought a $300 Peugeot as a winter grocery-getter and settled
into domestic bliss with the car of his dreams.
Later, the car would move with
David to a farm near Almonte, where it would accumulate barely 147
miles in the next three decades. "Most of the car's mileage
was put on between 1964 and 1970," Says the retired Bell Canada
manager. "We moved to the farm and the car had 61,000 miles
The three miles of gravel to and
from his driveway discouraged him from driving it. As well,
David's interests took flight: He has owned three aircraft and
loves motorcycles - as fast as the Jag is, nothing quite surpasses
the exhilaration of two-wheeled speed.
A year ago this week, the Jaguar left on a flatbed trailer, bound first for the attentions of Rob Staruck of British Automotive, and then on to Kemptville Auto Body to be coddled by Gary McGee into showroom perfection.
The process was painstaking.
They thought, for example, of going with a reliable PPG paint, but
there was not the right shade of Golden Sand. A German
brand, Glasurit, turned out to have exactly what was wanted: a
gold with a soft, hazy miniscule metal flake that imparts an
ageless patina to the E-Type lines, which auto design critics have
In David and Arlene Longey's
vehicle collection are motorcycles, daily drivers and an
obligatory sport-utility, but over the years, these may outlive
their usefulness or place in their owner's lives. The Jaguar
will always have a spot in their garage.
We spoke to David about the Jaguar
and its restoration.
Q. What have you had to replace?
A. The leather interior is all original but I had the headliner
replaced and got new floor mats and visors.
Q. Is there anything odd about this
car as opposed to other vehicles you've owned?
A. Like a tail-dragger (airplane with a small wheel at the rear so
that the tail rests on the ground when parked) that takes a bit of
getting used to, the Jag has idiosyncrasies. For instance,
the transmission is called a Moss box, a four-speed, but it is not
"synchroed" from two to one, so it appreciates double-clutching.
Thankfully, it has a reputation for being indestructible.
Q. Was it difficult finding a
company to insure this car?
A. I had the car appraised by Peter Leidecker and then shopped
around for insurance. Some insurers require that the car be
attended at all times. You can't leave it in a lot and go
for breakfast! I chose the Silver Wheel Plan (Tony Lant/Collectors).
They were very careful, wanted to know where the car was going to
be, asked about the garage - it's secure, has a fire alarm, a
smoke alarm and intrusion monitoring - and they were fine with
this/ I got the total package for half of what a regular
insurer would have charged.
Q. Will Arlene be invited to drive
A. Yes, it was a family decision to proceed with the restoration.
The registration is in both our names. Hers is the only
name, other than my own and the first owner, that has ever been on
Q. Final comments?
A. It's been a hell of a journey. Most of the toys I've
enjoyed are gone. Meanwhile, of my three interests
(airplanes, motorcycle and cars), the Jag came and never left...
and it never will.