The Twelve Drives of Christmas - 07. A Jag on the Baltic Sea.
By the time the calendar had ticked over into 2012, things were rather different. Whereas eighteen months earlier, when we'd wanted our road trip fix in the middle of the credit crunch, we'd resorted to buying mountain bikes and cycling around Iceland, in 2012 things were rather more agreeable, as once again I had the money to spend on crap old cars. And not so crap old cars too, as the year before, I'd actually splashed out on a green TVR Chimaera, which I'd named Kermit. But that's getting ahead of ourselves.
Predictably, having not done much in the way of silly road trips for a while, I had a backlog of ideas cluttering up my mind. The biggest of these had been mooted by a friend of mine from behind a pint a few years before - V8Nam. Get a car with a V8, drive it to Vietnam.
However, in 2012, I wasn't really ready to take on another huge trip, so V8Nam was put on hold until 2013 and a few smaller trips were planned instead. And one of those smaller ones was based around the question - what would happen if you tried to drive an old Jag on the Baltic Sea?
This was an important question which needed to be answered, and so myself, Laura and Tom from AfricanPorsche bought a Jaguar for £900, winter tyres were fitted, and away we went.
Car: Jaguar XJ40 3.2
Modifications: Winter tyres
Route: A 5,000 mile lap of the Baltic, driving the ice roads which form on the frozen Baltic Sea when it freezes each year.
Ben's rating: 8.5/10. Never under-rate an old Jaguar. Seriously, this was a perfect car for the trip. Raffish, comfortable, effortless and oozing cool Britannia. Before the trip, I never really got people's fascination with Jags. After, I rated it one of the best cars I'd ever owned. It was that good. Must get an XJR sometime...
For the full story of the Jag's Baltic trip - including the moment we almost sank it in the Baltic - here's the article I wrote for Autoclassics:
We sold the Jag shortly after the trip and got almost all our money back, but it was a great car, and I'll definitely have another one of these days. You can see photos from the trip in the article I've linked to above, but so you can truly appreciate this glorious machine, here are a few photos of it from after the trip. What a beauty… and only £900! They don't make them like they used to...