Jeroen’s toys
 


Another favorite of mine, high on my wish list has always been the Jeep Cherokee. What with the winters and two feet of snow, it might be a good idea to have a proper American 4x4 as well. The Jag having 400 horsepower and rear wheel drive doesn’t do that well in the snow. Or to be more precise, is pretty lethal in snowy conditions. Also, 4x4 come in handy for hauling Christmas trees or Tellies for that matter. You can read all about that here:


After extensive research and several disappointing test drives across Kansas and Missouri I finally found a perfect example. It’s a 1998 version, 4.0 liter, 6 cylinder in line.

Here you see it at the dealer’s lot, Woody’s, in Chillicothe. You can see my other beauty, the XJR in the background. Of course, the Jeep is a proper American car. That means everything is big and heavy. So I  also had to upgrade some of my tools. My little jack was fine for an Italian little  sports car, but in order to lift the Jeep I had to get myself a more manly American Jack. Rated at 6500 LBS! The girl at my favorite tool shop, Harbour Freight, told me: Ah, you’re going for the medium model Jack!


I’ve only had the Jeep for two weeks and it has already spend considerable time on the jack! More to come.


NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW


I recently entered the Jaguar XJR in a real concours d’elegance, organised by my Jaguar Club, Hear of America Jaguar club. One first price in my class straight away. Check it out:


Heart of America Jaguar Club Concours d’elegance.


Or for the scoring:


Heart of America Jaguar Club Concours d’elegance scores


I have been all over Europe in this little car. From the highlands of Scotland right down to Italy and just about everything in between. This is a rag top sports car. That means two things. One, you always, and I mean always drive it top down. No matter what the weather. Two, you drive it as a sports car always and I mean always. That means pedal to the metal. This is a true Italian proper sports car. Rear wheel drive with great road holding, except when its wet. Just thinking about corners in the wet, will cause you to cartwheel of the road immediately.


My good friend and spanner mate Peter and myself have taken his Spider to the North pole, top down obviously, at temperatures of -26 oC / -15 oF. Snow, blizzards, freezing cold, you need to drive these cars top down. Why in Gods name would you buy a rag top if you don’t drive it top down all the time? Oh and it’s an Italian car, its old, it gets driven hard so do bring lots of tools and spares, because it will break down. For years Peter and I acted as the technical committee bringing up the rear of a column of Spiders, fixing all the ones that broke down en route. Let me tell you, we fixed a lot of those Spiders!

My other classic car is a 1982, Mercedes W123, 200. I alway wanted a big car. Remember this is Europe and for Europeans this is still a big car. I love sitting behind the wheel with this huge bonnet in front of me with the Mercedes Star at the very end. Although this happens to be the most basic model Mercedes had on offer, it still has the original Mercedes engineering quality. This is the last model Mercedes that was designed completely in-house by Mercedes engineers. Since than, Mercedes has subcontracted more and more design work. True hardcore Mercedes fans will tell you , build quality has never been the same.


Our good American friends Tom and Ann borrowed it one day for a short holiday to Germany. Whilst waiting for a very red traffic light, a colorblind German drove his Japanese compact into the back of my Mercedes W123, like it was a Kamikaze attack. The Japanese compact was totaled, the bumper on the Mercedes  was slightly off centre. Nought points for Japan, all points to German Grundlichheit.

When I moved to the US in August 2009 I needed a car obviously. I have a rather long list of cars I want to own at some point in time. High on this list has always been the Jaguar XJR (308). So I decided I would get it for myself. First night in Kansas City, in my hotel room, all by myself, Frances was still in the Netherlands, I went on Ebay and found my dream XJR right away. Problem was I had no idea how to buy, title or for that matter pay for a car in the US. So I contacted the owner. Turned out to be a very nice couple, a few years older than us. They were very patient with me, they were glad to see their beloved XJR go to a real enthusiast. Three weeks later I flew to Charlotte, North Carolina. They met me at the airport and we drove to their home and finished the paper work. I set off on my first US road trip, Charlotte to Kansas City. Kept on the back roads, covered nearly 1200 miles in two days. Beautiful scenery, met lots of very pleasant folks along the way and the Jaguar performed flawlessly. The rest is history. Covered 15.000 miles so far and joined the local Jaguar club.


Now my XJR is what is known as a sport saloon. It has a 4.0 litre supercharged V8. 0 to 60 mph takes just over 5 seconds, which even by today’s standards is ferociously fast.