- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2002

It was about the time of the Korean War when preteen Bill Kellenberger saw his first Jaguar on the streets of his hometown, Independence, Kan.
Fifty years later, he still remembers: "It was a light green XK120 fixed-head coupe." That's when he fell in love with the looks of Jaguars.
A decade later, Mr. Kellenberger was a U.S. Marine going through officer candidate school at Quantico. One weekend, he was in Georgetown when he saw an XK120 roadster on a used-car lot.
He was smitten.
Without so much as a test drive or even a bit of tire kicking, he marched in and paid the full asking price.
Four years later, in Santa Monica, Calif., he bought his second XK120. In 1976, living in Manassas and piloting jet airplanes for United Airlines, Mr. Kellenberger stepped up and purchased his first jaguar XKE roadster.
The sleek XKE was introduced to the motoring public in 1961. A report on the E-Type Jaguar in Car and Driver magazine offered this description:
"There's something so sensual, so elemental in the appeal of that car that few men can resist its siren song. It's like that woman you used to love, the one you'd never waste another minute on. You can avoid her for months, but one night she calls and you'd crawl naked across three-hundred yards of flaming gasoline and broken bottles to get to her. Obviously, a car that can excite such primitive urges is bigger than a non-synchro first gear or bad oil consumption."
"I've owned several XKEs," Mr. Kellenberger acknowledges: "coupes and mainly roadsters." A few four-door sedans can be added to the mix.
The 1963 XKE roadster that currently graces Mr. Kellenberger's driveway was bought in 1980 from a retired airline pilot. "He swore that he had 'buried' the 160-mph speedometer on the Dulles Access Road before it was opened," Mr. Kellenberger said.
Tracing his car's lineage, Mr. Kellenberger knows that it left the Coventry factory in England and was first sold at the Peter Lindner dealership in Frankfurt, Germany.
How the car got to the United States a couple of years later is not known. However, the second owner bought it in 1965 and held it until Mr. Kellenberger became the third owner in 1980.
Two rows of 14 louvers march down the gracefully sloped hood to help the three SU-8 carburetors breathe as they feed fuel to the 3.8-liter, dual-overhead camshaft, six-cylinder engine.
One brief drive at the wheel of the 14 -foot-long XKE convinced Mr. Kellenberger that this car is "my keeper."
"That baby talks to you when it gets above 3,000 RPM," Mr. Kellenberger said.
About a decade before he retired in March 2000, Mr. Kellenberger started a total restoration, which concluded five years later.
"I did all the work," he reports, "except the sewing and machine-shop work."
Records indicate that when the car left the factory it had a black top and interior with a light metallic blue exterior. Mr. Kellenberger prefers triple black with chrome accents, so that's how the car is today.
"The restoration was a complete rebuild-replacement of everything on the car except the 3.07:1 rear end," Mr. Kellenberger said.
"That 3.07:1 rear end is worth its weight in gold," Mr. Kellenberger says with enthusiasm. The standard XKE sold in the United States had a 3.54:1 rear end.
When new, the sleek 2,720-pound early-'60s Jaguar, with just 5 inches of ground clearance, carried a base price of $5,595.
The 72-spoke chrome wheels were originally shod with 6.40x15-inch bias-ply tires, which have since been replaced with radials.
The front fenders and engine hood tilt forward as a unit for access to everything under the hood. Exposed are the black porcelain exhaust manifolds and stock-style stainless-steel exhaust pipes, mufflers and resonators.
Mr. Kellenberger says the exhaust system is stock, with the exception of the main mufflers, which are enhanced by having been bored through. That improvement gives a much better "tone," he said.
The Jaguar still sparkles like new, even though the restoration was completed eight years ago.
Since the engine was rebuilt, Mr. Kellenberger has driven the car about 2,600 miles. That amounts to about 350 miles annually.
Whenever Mr. Kellenberger does take his black beauty out on sunny days for some exercise, he declares, "It doesn't get better than that."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide