Reward for months at sea: A Red Jaguar
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
After months at sea on tankers, rarely setting foot ashore, I got some great pay-offs. I bought my first car in 1973 when I left the English Bridge. For ₤90 I got a fire engine red 1959 Jaguar, that had been owned since new by a British racing team mechanic. I loved that car. I only had it a couple of weeks when I came out of the house to find it gone. 'Dad! Someone's stolen my car!'
'I told you not to leave your keys in it' was all he said.
I raced around the streets frantically searching for my pride and joy, finally came back home downhearted and told my dad, 'I'm going to have to go to the police station'.
He reached into his pocket and took out my car keys.
'It's parked on Moss Lane' he said, 'Don't leave the keys in the car again.'
It was a valuable lesson until I began working as a chauffeur to a tremendously wealthy old lady who had thirty-seven cars, most of them vintage classics, who insisted that the keys be left in the ignition at all times, just in case she decided to drive herself in the middle of the night! Never had a problem for years, until a maid's son, discovered the keys were always in the cars, and one night stole, ironically, a brand new twelve-cylinder Jaguar out of the garage in Florida, drove it up to Tennessee on a drug run, and set it alight. Such is life in the fast lane.
The Jaguar on the dock is similar to the one I had. What a gorgeous car that was. Real wood and rich leather. Pleasure to look at and wonderful to drive. And, thanks to Duncan Montgomery, a former British Merchant Seaman, I found out that the ship was either the Medic or its sister ship the Megantic, both of which belonged to the Shaw Saville Line. Wow! My first trip to sea was on the Medic. I've stopped believing in coincidences, now I see them as magic. Sheer magic!
Photo credit: Leigh Purcell.
Found in the archives of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Red Jaguar Photo: https://www.classiccarratings.com/