September 29, 2012
No fingerprints could be tolerated on the British steel. Not a speck of road grime. A droplet of oil would lead to gasps.
“Twenty minutes to rag down,” yelled a judge as he walked down two lines of 28 Jaguar cars from different decades. The precisely parked automobiles were shined for intense scrutiny from the judges at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort on Saturday for the Jaguar Club of Southern Colorado’s Pikes Peak Concours d’Elegance competition.
“You kind of have to be a little crazy to do it,” said Howard Mumm, president of the Denver-based Rocky Mountain Jaguar Association, explaining that getting a car ready for the show is no easy feat. “If you ever drove to a car show in a car that’s immaculate, it’s worth it.”
His wife Cindy, a former president for the association, has been a judge for five years. Their involvement in the club stemmed from her desire to own a Jaguar, a too-cool English ride known for good looks and high maintenance. “It’s a good thing to join the club because you get all these resources,” he said.
Those resources include a network of obsessed Jaguar enthusiasts who, apart from competing, also mentor each other and bond at social events.
That network helped Jack and Alice Braly get the resources to restore their Jaguar 1954 XK-120 roadster to wire-wheeled, cream-colored perfection.
“It was a bucket of bolts when we got it,” said Alice, who after finding the car online, called her husband and said: “I found a car you have to buy on eBay. Only a few people in the U.S. can put this back together, and you’re one of them.”
The car was in Dallas, so Jack made the trip to Texas to find the car. “It was in pieces. But most of it was all there.”
“Somehow it runs,” he said with a laugh.
Jags, he said, are just his hobby. He’s not a mechanic, and he didn’t know anything about Jaguars when he bought his first one 25 years ago. So he bought a book, he went to shows where he talked to other Jaguar owners, and he joined the club. Since then, the Bralys have restored eight cars, which they still own. “You get attached,” Jack said. “You get to know every bolt by first name.”
Deanie Kennedy has been a Jag enthusiast since she was 7-years-old.
“I would only play matchbox cars with my brother if he let me drive the Jaguar E-type,” she said. When her husband, Steve, first showed her the 1959 Jaguar Mark 9 he inherited when he was 16, it was nothing like the sleek, sexy, sporty model she pictured.
“It was stripped, no glass, no chrome. It was a metal shell on four tires,” she said.
But she helped him put the nuts, bolts and beauty back into it. That was thirty years ago.
Since then Steve has written a book about the Mark 9 and Deanie has served 18 years as chair of the Rocky Mountain club, and two and half as treasurer of National Jaguar Clubs of America.
“Not that I’m interested,” she joked.