This is a mostly-true story, although some of the details have become a bit fuzzy over time. It’s a story about old cars, family friends and lost opportunities. The story begins with my father, who as a youngster was very fond of an older boy, Jimmy, who lived just up the hill. One winter day during the war, Jimmy, home on leave for just 48 hours, asked my dad to go skiing with him. So they skied most of the day, until Jimmy had to go home and have a last meal with his family before shipping out to the European theater the next day.
About a month later, Jimmy was killed during the last throes of the Battle of the Bulge. His death hit my father pretty hard.
Fast forward about 30 years, to the late 1970s. Jimmy’s namesake, his nephew, had joined the Army and become a Ranger. This Jimmy and I used to go hiking when he was home on leave, which wasn’t very often. As a Ranger, he was in incredible shape, and we’d sometimes cover 20 miles or more a day while backpacking the Long Trail in Vermont. Jimmy had the annoying habit of bypassing the scenic overlooks in favor of putting more miles under our feet, as if he was just trying to wear out his jungle boots. I don’t recall all the places Jimmy was stationed and I didn’t really see him much after I graduated high school.
Bear with me now, this is where the cars come in. Fast forward about ANOTHER 30 years. My dad, who restores and drives old Mack trucks, calls me up. We chit-chat for a bit and then he asks, “Would you have been interested in an old Jaguar?” I say, “what do you mean, ‘would I have been’”. He explained that Jimmy had bought a couple of cars during the 1960s and stored them in the family barn up the hill from my grandmother’s house. Apparently the barn roof was in pretty bad shape and the family wanted to tear it down, but they needed the cars removed first.
“Dad, just what was in the barn?”
“An E-type Jaguar and a MG of some sort,” he says. “Would you have wanted them?”
“DAD!” Of course I would’ve. Not that I had the money to purchase and restore an old Jag, but it sure would’ve been nice to have the option now, wouldn’t it? Alas, the family sold the cars to a local restoration specialist and that’s my sad tale of a lost barn find. To commemorate this story, here are some pics of a DeAgostini Jag in 1/43 scale.