President's Mewsings June 2015
“We at JCNA have long wished for a real car person …… to lead JLR’s marketing effort – well, we got our wish. Buckle up folks; it could be quite a ride.” Those are JCNA President George Camp’s words describing Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing at Jaguar Land Rover North America, honorary Vice President of JCNA, and Keynote Speaker at our AGM last March. She validated George’s claim recently by participating in the Mille Miglia with her husband, Mitch. Most of you know that the Mille Miglia is a re-enactment and celebration of the original 1,000-mile road race held between 1927 and 1957 through some of the “bellisima” parts of Italy - from Brescia in northern Italy, to Rome, and back. The re-enactment is a road rally for cars that either competed in one of the original races, or would have been eligible to compete. This year celebrates 60 years since Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson’s landmark victory in 1955 when they completed the 1,000 miles in an unbelievable 10 hours and seven minutes at an average speed of 98.53mph. Only 281 cars of the 621 entered actually finished the race. The re-enactment is much more laid-back and covers a four-day span. The Mille Miglia has been on Kim’s bucket list for some time, ever since she and Mitch started getting involved with Classic Cars and Vintage Motorsports. Each year thousands of entry-applications are received for approximately 400 slots. This year 456 cars were accepted, so it is quite an honor to take part in the race. Kim and Mitch purchased a 1954 XK-120 OTS, owned by the same person for 60 years. It has a Dove Grey exterior with a Tobacco interior. Cosmetically the car was in very good shape, though showing the patina of a completely original example. They did focus on refreshing the mechanical parts to make sure the car would run for the 1,000 miles. That included re-building the original 3.4-liter straight-six engine and transmission, re-building the brakes, and replacing the exhaust. Kim got to see the finished product just a little more than two weeks before the rally and she admits to quite a bit of apprehension – wondering whether it would weather the grueling road rally. They were car #318 out of 456 and started on Thursday afternoon, May14. Day one goes from Brescia to Rimini. Friday is a long day’s drive along the coast and on to Rome. Saturday is the great driving day, passing through Siena, Pisa and Lucca, and over the Abetone Pass to Parma. Stage four on Sunday heads to the Monza racetrack, through Bergamo, and finishing late afternoon back in Brescia. There are over 80 timed stages in the rally where the focus is on average speed over set distances, similar to our sanctioned rallies. This was new to Kim and Mitch, so they were busy working out how to use the bank of stop watches and trip meters they had fitted. They have had plenty of experience sitting in old cars for long amounts of time without such modern amenities as power steering and brakes since they have taken part in the Copperstate 1000 through Arizona three times, and the 1,000-mile California Mille twice. To be continued … next month I will follow up with a description of their travels and travails on their inaugural Mille Miglia. Editor’s note: The above material was extracted from a blog by Jaguar North America Communications. 2015 DVJC Concours d’Elegance … The weather cooperated once again for our Concours and we had a good turnout of DVJC and neighboring club cars. Thank you to everyone who made it a success; judges, show car parking volunteers, spectator parking volunteers, those who helped with the setup on Friday, and most of all to Charlie Olson who organized the event despite the recent passing of his wife of 60+ years, Carole. See Mike Tate’s Roving Reporter column for a brief description of the event. We welcome Mike’s return to the fold after suffering some significant health problems over the past two months. She loves it … Those of you who read this column last month know that I am on a quest to convince Irena that we need a new F-Type in the stable. You also know that I won the use of an F-Type for a week (generously donated by Jaguar Main Line) by winning the live auction at our Holiday Party. We picked up the car, an Italian Red F-Type S convertible, on June 5th. So far it has lived up to all of its hype and as I suspected Irena has fallen in love with it. She even made some comments like, “This is the coolest car I have ever ridden in.” That’s quite an admission since she has ridden in a number of Ferraris, a 300SL Gullwing, and a number of rare vintage sports cars. So my case is slowly being made. But I do have a bump in the road (no pun intended). Irena was rear-ended in her 2006 Volvo S80. She is OK, but the damages amounted to over $8200 on a car with a book value of $7100 – so the insurance company totaled it. What a shame, the car was in pristine condition and now I have to buy a new car to replace it and she would like another Volvo. A minor setback to the cash flow situation, I hope. In the meantime, I am having a ball with the borrowed F-Type – kind of like when I got my license at age 16. I look for every reason to run errands that were just a bother before and all the errands seem to take an hour or more. Anybody need anything at the Wawa? Be happy. Drive safely. It’s a Jaguar kind of day.