What's Your Eleanor? – Deartháir Edition

Where it all began — now an ornament on my parents' Christmas tree
When I was just a wee young lad, my father gave me a toy car that had been his favourite when he was younger. I’m not entirely certain of the story behind the toy, but I can’t help but notice that the toy was issued in 1961, when my father would have been 16. Knowing his family, and knowing how cheeky they can be, I have to suspect that might factor into the story. My father was one of the youngest of nine children, and he told me how his oldest brother had bought his own Model T Ford when my father was a young boy; I’d guess dad probably mentioned that he’d like a car of his own when he was old enough to drive, and most likely received this Jaguar Mk2 as a joke gift.
This would be what my Dinky Toy looked like when brand new.
The die cast model toy is a 1961-issue Dinky Toy, Model 195. Over the years, I wore much of the paint off; that little toy car and I were practically inseparable. When my parents took me to church, they knew I would be perfectly well-behaved if I had my “Jag-car”, and its soft rubber tires meant that I could play on the hard wooden pews to my heart’s content without disturbing anyone around us. When I went to bed, the “Jag-car” sat on the headboard, waiting for me when I woke up. On car trips, the Jag-car could be relied upon to keep me entertained for the hours of boring highway.
And finally, I saw it in real life.
In short, I probably spent most of the hours of my first few years of conscious life staring intently at the curves of my ’60 Mark II 3.4 Saloon. I knew the lines intimately and could draw it with reasonable accuracy from memory. So when I saw the hint of a fender behind some bushes, from the corner of my eye, while out for a drive one afternoon, my mind knew exactly what it was without a conscious thought. I had pulled into that parking lot without slowing down, and before the car behind me had a chance to notice I was moving. The owner happened to be there for me to talk to, and he was most accommodating, albeit not overly knowledgeable on the subject of his car. There was something that was almost mystical about having the opportunity to climb in and around the car I’d played with through my entire childhood. It felt almost as if I had suddenly shrunken to a fraction of my own size. I crawled in and around his beautiful classic, and the owner seemed absolutely thrilled to be receiving all this attention, particularly when I told him the story of my childhood toy. The car itself proved quite remarkable. The owner claimed it was completely unrestored and original, and it had, to date, never needed any significant repairs; regular oil changes and tune-ups, certainly, but no major repairs. That’s right. This Jaguar still has all of its original Lucas Magic Smoke. I had never completely realized how much the Jaguar MkII was a part of my childhood, and a part of my make-up as a car guy. Seeing it in the flesh was an almost magical experience for me. Some day, my friends. Some day.

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