Surviving a Blizzard in a ‘56 Jaguar

How I drove from Florida to New York with no heater

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Community

Surviving a Blizzard in a ‘56 Jaguar

How I drove from Florida to New York with no heater

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Community

In March 1985, I bought this totally original 1956 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe from a seller in Palm Beach, FL. It was unrestored with original paint, leather interior and a powerful dual-overhead cam, six-cylinder engine.

In ‘85, I was young and foolishly decided that instead of paying what I saw as an exorbitant price ($600) to have the car shipped to Syracuse, I would drive it the 1,400 miles home. Everything went smoothly until I reached southern Virginia, where a late blizzard was moving in. Since the car had been in Florida since new, its heater had long been removed and it had four summer tires, making it difficult to drive in the snow.

I drove 40 mph on the interstate, which was dangerous with the faster traffic constantly passing me. I continued on, hoping the Jaguar would stay on the road as the snowfall became heavier. Again, my youthful foolishness got the better of me when I decided to sleep at several rest stops rather than “wasting” money on a hotel. I almost froze to death.

After driving through Pennsylvania with the windows down to keep the windshield from fogging, I finally reached New York State nearly three days after I began the journey in Florida (a trip that usually took me a day and a half). Luckily, the Jaguar had no mechanical problems, no crashes and I made it home averaging almost 20 mpg.

In the end, it took a few days to regain feeling in my extremities, and a great deal of time to remove the salt from the Jaguar. Chalk it up to youthful foolishness, but I saw it as all part of the “fun” of owning an old sports car. I kept the Jaguar for ten years, driving it about 10,000 miles, and during that time I became a founding member of the Syracuse Jaguar Club.

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