On an average day in 2004, a regular man met an icon. If you had asked either party a few decades prior whether this would happen, the answer probably would have been “unlikely”. But, as fate would have it, the encounter was inevitable. And with lasting consequences.
The year was 1961. The place was Geneva. A British auto manufacturer had brought along prototype 9600HP. It would soon take the world by storm and capture the imagination of millions. It was unveiled as the Jaguar E-type. Everybody who was anybody had to have one. It was popular among Hollywood stars, Jazz musicians, as well as an artist by the name of Salvador Dali (Picture bellow).
Enzo Ferrari himself called it “the most beautiful car in the world”. The automotive landscape was changed forever.
Meanwhile, a young boy in Denmark collected little model cars. His name was Jorn. Collecting toy cars may appear to be a common thing for a youngster to do, but for Jorn it might have not been the case.
“Nobody in my family was into cars – I was the only one” he later explained. And this childhood hobby happened in arguably the best decade imaginable – the 1960s.
The swinging sixties were ruled by short dresses, the emergence of world-changing rock music and the aforementioned Jaguar E-type. “The E-type was the coolest model car I had. To me it was the greatest thing I had seen”. And as the Jag came into his little collection, little Jorn was bitten by the petrolhead bug.
In 1967, one of the last series 1 E-type roadsters rolled off the production line. It was sold in Germany. A few years later, a Danish Jaguar dealer heard about this particular car and purchased it. This car, now the new owner’s pride and joy, underwent a thorough maintenance/restoration. It acquired a new coat of paint. Now its opalescent silver-grey body shined like it had never shined before. The E-type became the centre piece of the showroom in northern Zeeland and the dealership became legendary in and of itself.
The year is 1981. The place is once again Geneva. On June 6 Jaguar E-type owners from all across Europe gather in Switzerland to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of this iconic car. Our Danish Jaguar dealer takes part with the series 1 roadster. The Danish representative gained a lot of attention. The roars of the cat echoed through the Alps.
Back in Denmark, Jorn had grown up to be an engineer and by the early 2000s had worked hard and saved enough money to start thinking about realizing his childhood dream. Naturally, the car had to be special. Preferably a series 1. Undoubtedly a roadster, because that is the purest form of motoring. Jorn had grown up to be quite tall as well, so the roadster also appeared to be an ergonomically sound choice. Wasting the money wasn’t an option – it had to be a good specimen. The search for the ultimate E-type spanned most of western Europe. The process would not be rushed.
There was an ad from the native land of Denmark of a series 1 roadster in stunning silver. It was the one. The same car that the Jaguar dealer had cherished and handled with care for many decades, then sold to a businessman who kept coming back to the dealership offering more and more money until the dealer eventually gave in and sold his pride and joy.
A few years after that the car entered an ownership period with a young guy from a wealthy family – the youngster did not share the same level of compassion for the car as the old man from northern Zeeland did. It wasn’t necessarily abused, but the maintenance had been less than favorable.
The specification and the story sold the car to Jorn and he finally fulfilled his dream. He even visited the same old dealer in Jaguar House in Frederikssund. This meeting started an automotive relationship would prove to be a lasting one – for all repairs (including a major front end restoration after a significant crash) the silver beauty would go to Frederikssund. The new owner and the past owner would exchange endless stories and photos of the glory days. The dealer, now an elderly man, still runs the same dealership and his passion for the E-type knows no end.
For the past 15 years Jorn has been the proud custodian of this magnificent British cat. Together they’ve gone through a few mechanical issues, a car crash, many a journey, many miles travelled. They’ve been all around Denmark, they’ve driven the Swiss Alps, they’ve had their fun in the Dolomites. The bond between the man and the car has grown to be eternal. As long as Jorn can drive it – he will !
Story and photos by @Maksis Gauja