This is a story about a love affair.
When I refer to my >69 XKE coupe I always use the feminine. People have asked why a car is, of necessity, a she, and I always explain: When I have an affair, it is important, at least to me, that I be having said affair with a lady.
So, I guess this is a brief story about my affair with a yellow XKE.
This story starts, as do many love stories, with a tragedy. My previous XKE was stolen and burnt. While I had not had that car long, I had figured out that I had to have one. Fortunately a gentleman in Tulsa was selling a car. He had shown the car in the past, but he had moved onto an XK.
I still remember that first drive, 40 plus years ago, but feels like yesterday. Like a sip of fine wine, the drive home was heaven, though it did feel like the car didnít want to coast as well as it should. This was born our when I walked past the front tire when opening the garage door and felt a whiff of warm air. The good news is that you can only get one finger thru the spokes to feel the front brake discs. That way you will only fry one finger when you touch a brake disc that has been dragging all the way from Tulsa.
Lesson 1. Don=t touch brake discs to see if they are hot. They probably are. Lesson 2, don=t buy a show car and think it is a daily driver. It probably isn=t.
As time went by I fixed the drag in the brakes (tight [email protected]
ring in the brake servo valve - of course I also put in silicon brake fluid to replace the paint stripper some folks think is brake fluid, keeps from rotting the old girls arteries), re-rebuilt the engine (shop in Tulsa did not bother to clean out the oil passage-ways in the crank, ended up hammering the rear bearings), updated tires to more modern specs, insulated the interior to minimize that smell of roast beef coming from my right foot, and generally drove the heck out of the car. In those early years we went to Yellowstone twice, drove about every mountain pass in southern Colorado, including several that were marked AJeep Road - the rest of you fools turn [email protected]
And the car just ran, and ran, and ran. Somewhere along the way I decided she deserved a little lift for her rear-end, so I installed a 3.07 differential. Up=d power too with a set of tripple SU=s off an earlier model.
As you can begin to tell, my affair is not with a show car. My lady is a driver (not to be confused with a beater - see >86 Nissan Sentra). Yes, she could use a coat of paint. She came very close at one point. In fact the very day that I was going to start pulling her down I got a call about an XK-140...... but that is another story.
But still, she is a driver. New paint would make her more nervous about going where I take her. And besides, the list of modifications is sort of long. Things like a rotary A/C compressor, cruise control, oil cooler, modern distributor and fuel pump, competition aluminum radiator and upgraded fan, proportional radiator fan control, and a 5 speed with 0.8 overdrive, aluminum flywheel and fluid vibration dampener, they all make my lady more reliable, and to me, desirable.
Heady and romantic stuff, eh?
With 190,000 miles on her, of which 130,000 are mine, she fits like a well worn glove and runs down the highway like a fantasy.
So, if one of these days you see an obviously love-struck gent driving a lovely old butter-creme colored XKE, eat your heart out. There is nothing out there as good as an XKE. OK, the new Elise is close....