In 1969, the car began to have a problem with the engine (V-1381-8) and on July 23, 1969, the engine was replace. However I have come to learn, that later, my dad felt the engine really did not need to be replaced and that he was hoodwinked into having a used engine (V-4208-8) installed.
Weekends were spent cleaning the car, changing oil, cleaning the spokes with tooth brushes and chrome polish; ugh, and just general maintenance. Once-in-awhile, my dad and I would take the car for a “spin” through the Cuyamaca Mountains of east San Diego County. How I loved the sound and purring of that engine as it wound its way through the roads of CA 76/78/79 to Mt Palomar, Julian and beyond. And, on these trips and over the years I would suggest that he give me the car some day. For him, the someday was, “I’d like to have it restored before you get it.” Leaving home in the summer of 1973 to join the Marine Corps was the last time I saw it in one piece. The car continued to serve as his daily driver until an accident occurred on 13 Aug 1975.
The accident occurred at Lisbon and Jamacha Road in San Diego County when the car was hit by a 1966 Lincoln driven by a driver without liability insurance and a suspended license. The driver of the 1966 Lincoln was cited for causing the accident. Damage to the Zagato was the front end, grill, bumper and right front fender area. After the accident, the car went to Bettencourt Auto Paint and Body Shop in San Diego for body repair work. Upon leaving the auto body repair shop, the Zagato was driven to a good family friend (JG) to have engine work completed Now this is were the history of the car gets interesting for the car disappeared for three years. In my dad’s own words, these are the letter and sequence of events.
1. Nov 17, 1975: Took car from Bentencout Body Shop and drove to JG Garage for repair of electrical system.
2. Later about two months: Took car from JG and drove to City Frame for front end work.
3. Jerry at City Frame called and said he could not shift gears (A condition which sometimes occurred before the accident and which had been previously repaired at Sergio’s Garage.
4. Therefore I had the car towed back to JG Garage. After the transmission was supposed to have been repaired I was driving back home from JG’s Garage, but halfway home I stopped for gasoline at 69th and Imperial Ave and noticed transmission oil flowing out. Called JG’s Garage and asked him to tow the car back to his garage. But his worker, Lee, drove the car to Spring Valley without transmission oil and therefore damage the transmission gears. JG said he was having difficulty finding the required transmission gears.
5. Dec 17, 1976 I was forced to buy a used Mercury Comet automobile for transportation to earn a living because my Jaguar had not yet been repaired. I asked JG to hurry and get my Jaguar repaired.
6. Oct 13, 1977: I was at JG’s Garage and received a note (not a bill) from MF, an employee, that the cost of repairing the Jag was $675.00 but the car still needed some minor repair. On Oct 17, 1977 I paid JG $300.00 towards the account (Check # 124 dated Oct 17, 1977)
7. Dec 6, 1977 (about) My Comet Automobile broke down and I told JG to get my Jaguar fixed immediately because I needed transportation and did not want to put any more money in my old Comet. But JG said it would be quicker to repair the Comet than to get the Jaguar running. So I therefore authorized JG to put a “new” used engine into the comet on the condition that he would get my Jaguar running soon.
8. April 26, 1978: I informed JG that I wanted to get my Jaguar ready because my Comet was acting up and would probably break down again soon and I would need my Jaguar before then because I did not want to but more money into the old Comet.
9. June 27, 1978: I was at JG about my Mercury Comet and reiterated to get my Jaguar ready.
10. July 3, 1978: JG came to my home for an emergency repair on my wife’s car and I again informed him to get my Jaguar ready…He said he would do just that.
11. July 25, 1978 The transmission on my Comet finally broke down and I called JG and told him to get my Jaguar ready because again I did not want to spend any more money on my old Comet. JG informed my that he was extremely busy and could not work on my Comet and that it would take him at least another month before he could get to my Jaguar. JG now refuses to tell me where my Jaguar is located.
12. Aug 3, 1978: See attached photocopy of my letter mailed to JG on Aug 3, 1978….Results None
13. Aug 7, 1978: Phoned JG, he says he is too busy to call MF, his former employee to locate my car. JG says he did not receive my letter (But my letter has not been returned to me) JG says that the car needs a new electrical relay which has been ordered for a long time. I offered JG that I would try to locate the part needed. (my understanding is that Austin-Healy & TRE also use the same part.) JG says he does not have time to get the part number…Not until another month…if then.