OB John Bodie (C 44-48) shared a wonderful story recently about his very first car and how he met up with its current owners who traced him while researching the car's history and first registration.
The car, a Jaguar XK150S, was the first right-hand drive Fixed Head Coupe 3.8 S manufactured on Monday 4th August 1959. It was the 33rd of one hundred and fifteen XKs manfactured in this configuration. It had an interior trim in Biscuit colour and Regal Red was the metallic exterior paint colour. It was despatched from the factory on 22 January 1960 and was bought by John in London from retail dealer Harold Radford and Co. of Berkeley Street, whose plaque is still visible on the right hand sill face when the door is open. John tells a charming tale of asking his Senior Partner when he was 29 years old, as a surveyor in a property development firm, if he would buy the car for him and getting a positive response to what he now thinks was a most impertinent question! After John had used the car for two years, it was later sold for a sum of £600.
John had ordered the car to be factory fitted with a boot rack, badge bar and the centre dash panel to be upholstered in red leather instead of the standard grey leather finish. Other additional items included a map tray under the dash, period racing mirrors on the top of the mud guards and a Motorola radio. The exterior colour 'Regal Red' was also a special order paint finish, believed to also be used by Rolls Royce and this car was the only XK120, 140 or 150 to be painted Regal Red. John told a charming story about the luggage rack being fitted as the suitcases used in those days were rigid and difficult to fit in the boot. He remembers on one trip to Italy arriving at his destination to find that his luggage had gone, removed in a village that he has passed through by very crafty villains.
The car is now owned by John Ledbrook and his wife Liz who live in Forbes, as small town in Australia and who bought the car in June 1969. It has travelled to all states of Australia during his ownership and twice been to National Rallies in Western Australia - a journey they plan to make again to Perth in 2020.
The story of Regal Red and its current owner recently scooped an award at the annual presentation dinner of the Jaguar Drivers' Club of Australia for 2019 held in Sydney (pictured below). It is a fabulous story about a very long-lived and well-loved car and wonderful that its current owner discovered the first registered keeper 60 years later and in his 90th year. In John Bodie's own words " he was not only fortunate to discover me, but also to find that I was still alive!"