HANG ON BOYS
Irecently purchased the latest copy of New Zealand Classic Car magazine (August 2018, Issue No. 332) and was taken back a bit by the story on Bruce Mclaren and his Jaguar cars, and the mention of the 1959 Mark 2 3.8-litre Jaguar.
This is a car I remember with great fondness — I remember when Ron Riley owned the beautiful maroon Jaguar with wire wheels and the cream (beige seats). The car was always in concours condition, and always very clean and tidy. I was lucky enough to have several rides in the car — Ron would take a few of us boys off to our Saturday soccer games in it, and it was always a privilege to be able to ride in it.
The day I remember most was when we were on our way home from a soccer game. We were coming down Church Street in Penrose when the bells started ringing and the barriers started coming down, as a train was coming along the tracks. I think we must have been going pretty quick.
Ron said: “Hang on, boys, we are going to beat this train.”
Next thing, Ron had swung to the right, and then left, and we were flying through the air, down the other side of Church Street on the downhill side. I looked back out the rear window, to see a freight train thundering past behind us. Thinking about it today, it must have been pretty close — but what a memory, and no time to be scared as it was all over and done with in a flash.
The memory of Ron saying: “Hang on, boys, we are going to beat this train” has remained in my mind for many years.
I am not sure, but I think Ron may have been the last owner of the car in New Zealand because when I asked him, “Where did the car go to?” he said, “It is now in Australia.”
As I have already mentioned, I have very fond memories of riding in the Jaguar. Resplendent in maroon, with highly polished wire wheels, it’s still one of the most beautiful cars I have been lucky enough to ride in. Seeing a photograph and a mention of the car brought back some great memories. To find out after all these years that several New Zealanders, including Bruce Mclaren, Denny Hulme, Tony Shelly, and Ray Archibald, raced the Jaguar adds to the specialness of this amazing car.