A Year in the Life

All was buzzing in July 2009 as we prepare to send Peter Kalikow’s Jaguar XK120 off to Pebble Beach for exhibit.  Off it went; once unloaded XK120 #670151 got its juices flowing with Peter and Nic Kalikow completing the Pebble Beach tour in fine style.  Exhibit on the lawn upcoming, Charlie Webb and  Mark Aglora went over every little detail resulting in a 2nd in class award at Sunday’s 2009 Pebble Beach Concour d “Elegance.  Great event, great weekend with the Kalikow family savoring it all as we packed the car up on Sunday for its trip East.

Tours around the scenic Monterey peninsula are one thing, The Mille Miglia is quite another. Peter and Nic had a plan and we were all pleased to find this historically significant Jaguar accepted for both the 2010 running of the Mille Miglia and exhibit at the Villa d’Este Concour d ‘Elegance. Whew, events like these are few and far between and we wanted to be sure we put our best foot (or feet) forward. Lots to be done and the winters of 2009-10 were spent preparing the car for some serious springtime activity. It was truly a team effort: Peter relentlessly searched his archives of parts and history for period correct rally equipment for the car. We went to work to insure that the mechanicals were at their absolute best to stand up to the rigors of a 1000 mile high speed event, while Nic focused on event related planning details & schedules.

Out came the drive train, then it was off with all the suspension bits. Once apart, careful inspection, shot blasting and away to the crack tester for every 60 year old part we would be relying on to keep Peter and Nic safe, speedy and in control over those twisty fast Italian thoroughfares. What an opportunity!! Though 2nd at Pebble Beach, we might have been first if the engine bay and other interior areas were absolute perfection. Guided by years of experience, Peter's extensive knowledge and research on the matter at hand, we did just that. By January of 2010 and it was clear that all the restored components would find a new home exactly as they had at the works circa 1949-50. They would be in condition to perform at their absolute best. All is back together and ready for testing in late March. March is spent testing/tuning and tweaking until we are all confident that this Jaguar purrs perfectly. Early April, one final once over and we are ready, into our trailer and off to the shipp. Next stop, Villa d'Este on Lake Como in northern Italy. We pack up boxes of spare parts, tools and various other event support accoutrements and FedEx them east a few days later.

The car gets there, the spares and tools find their mark, but not a one of us can…rumblings from a volcano in Iceland close European air space at exactly the wrong time. Peter’s long time friend and Ferrari historian extraordinaire, Marcel Massini and associate Rene Wagner do us a huge favor and take great care of 120 # 670151. They tidy any shipping “sludge” then do a great job of exhibiting this elegant highly traveled Jag at the event.

Skies clear just in time. Nic finds his way first to Belgrade on business then on to Brescia. Charlie, Mark, Kathy and I arrive on a sunny Monday morning while Peter and Mary experience some minor ash cloud interference but get there Wednesday afternoon. Marcel has taken great care of us once again, and we have the whole day in the garage at the AC hotel in Brescia to look after our ward and take it from Concour to rally configuration. Charlie’s engineered a series of quick fits that work perfectly such that by day’s end we are testing and tuning using Euro fuel which differs from our ethanol laced products. Tuesday finds Charlie and Nic touring Brescia and environs to get comfortable and then we’re off to the Mille Miglia paddock. What a spot, superb array of fine machinery, good friends about everywhere and quite the place to be indeed. Peter finds us mid day Wednesday after a long travel time but he’s up for the experience. Licensing, event packages, technical inspection and all the pre-race activities come off perfectly and WE ARE READY!

So, how did we do? Great; we had fun, we learned a lot and the car performed absolutely perfectly. Where did we finish? Well…..We didn’t, but by choice not by default. Peter wisely decided that one important aspect of this event concerned him; high speed & challenging motoring among a bunch of highly motivated enthusiasts of vastly varied skill levels in a sleep deprived condition simply did not make sense. Discretion being the better part of valor, we opted out mid stream. A bit past Bologna we called it quits. We got some sleep and headed north to Brescia at a pleasant pace. Peter drove the Jag back clocking a long stretch at 120 MPH in this incredibly capable vintage machine. “That was fun” he said as we pulled into Brescia in plenty of time to be part of the post event festivities. The post Mille celebrations are a treat we all enjoyed though ash clouds were again threatening. Kathy and I went on to Venice for a couple of days. Nic headed for Rome, Peter and Mary had an uneventful return trip, while Charlie and Mark had to tolerate a few delays and arrived stateside late on their pre-appointed day. Great experience for us all. Our thanks go to Peter & Nic with big thanks to all who work so hard to make this event something special. Finally, thanks to Jaguar for building such a great piece of equipment some 60 years ago.

XK120 #670151 is en route back when yet another opportunity arises. It is Jaguar’s official 60 the year in the US market and the organizers would very much like it exhibited at The Greenwich Concour d ‘Elegance, Sunday, June 6th of which they are a title sponsor. Peter graciously agrees, shipping gets expedited and we’ve a short window to get it all cleaned and ready for exhibit. The photos tell the story. The award, what else; The Best Car for the Mille Miglia presented by Maserati of North America. Thank you judges and thank you Maserati for being good sports. There were indeed some worthy Maseratis and other Italian machines on exhibit…though we note that the 120 was the only exhibit displaying such recent Mille Miglia roundels! One year, one great Jag, well over 15,000 miles traveled, some great experiences, marvelous and appreciated awards; it’s been a blast, what more can we say. Thank you about covers it, especially to Peter and Nic for including us all and to all those who create these events we’ve enjoyed. Drive on!!