A couple of months ago I bought a 2003 Jaguar XK8 coupe with a black metallic exterior (I had originally thought a dust storm had rolled through town until I realized that those flecks of gold were actually embedded in the paint). I had long wanted one of these beautiful cars, and so when I saw one for sale at a reasonable price, I made the leap.
The sleek, sloping lines of my XK8, harkening back to the E-types of yore, seemed to me to embody the human form at its best, providing the second best sensual experience I have ever had while alone. But my romance with my XK8 has not been as smooth as its ride.
1) The Codependent Relationship. I could function without this car — take the subway, the bus — but leisurely rides on public transportation have gone the way of leather straps for standees. Besides, I need that 340-watt stereo system, leather seats, carpeting and — oh, my — the ogling from passers-by. And, as it turned out, the XK8 needed my bank account to remain mobile.
2) The Controlling Relationship. One partner makes the rules, the other partner follows them.
Rule #1: Any component relying upon electricity to perform its duties will suffer a falling-out with said partner, and the resulting divorce will have catastrophic effects on any component close enough to hear the owner cursing.
Rule #2: Any resemblance between the cost of Original Equipment manufactured specifically for the Jaguar XK8 and similar parts available at popular prices from a local auto parts store is strictly coincidental.
3) The Rebound Relationship. I suffered from a loss of enthusiasm for driving; my XK8 had suffered from a loss of power to the headlamps. We were both wandering around in the dark.
4) The Open Relationship. We are both committed to each other but, truth be told, we have both strayed. I did have a May-December dalliance with a Volvo V70 TC, a tour de force hidden fling with not one but two MG Midgets, and a Roman Holiday with an MGA during the gas shortage of 1973. My XK8 had a spate of adulterous affairs with various service departments of Chicago-area Jaguar dealers before settling down with me in Philadelphia.
5) The Asexual Relationship. Oh, come on, now! I’ve only recently come to grips with why I spend so much time polishing the little beauty.
6) The Trophy Relationship. Who wouldn’t look good in an XK8? Okay, maybe me. Let’s just say I don’t look as bad as someone driving a minivan whilst on a cross-country trip with a 10-year-old who just learned to whistle.
7) The Imperfect Relationship. I know that owning a Jaguar XK8 is like descending through Dante’s 9 Circles of Hell…
1. Limbo: To buy an XK8 or trudge through a slough of Nissan Versas?
2. Lust: Always a favorite. I mean, after all, it is a JAG.
3. Gluttony: You can never have too much leather.
4. Greed: Ah, those who hoard possessions and those who spend lavishly on them. Yep, that’s a Jaguar owner.
5. Anger: Occurs every time I hand over my credit card for yet another Original Equipment replacement part.
6. Heresy: How dare you say there are better made, more reliable alternatives to my Jaguar!
7. Violence: Often follows a stint in Circles 5 and 6.
8. Fraud: Translation: Used car dealers.
9. Treachery: According to Dante, all residents herein reside in a frozen lake. Hmm… must have had that marvelous XK8 air conditioner running full blast.