A friend was talking about getting a new car and their excitement reminded me of how thrilled I was when I bought my Jaguar XK-8 cabriolet some time ago. Many have asked me what the purpose of the Jag Jabs are (a term coined not by me but one of my readers) so I’ve decided to regale you with some of my tales of woe.

I’ve been fortunate in life, and after coming off two Mercedes disappointments, I decided a whole new level of disappointment was necessary. As a car snob, I was trying to think of what I might want to drive next. I didn’t want another Mercedes, my wife had a BMW, the Audi’s didn’t look nice back then, I wasn’t a fan of Porsche and I wasn’t James Patterson so Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s weren’t in my price range.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PORSCHE: if you want some nice product placement in my future books, I’m more than willing to take a free 911 Cabriolet!

Browsing Autotrader for convertibles, I spotted a Jaguar and immediately fell in love. I had made a decision that buying new seemed to not have worked out for me, so why not buy used, the kinks already worked out. The car was at a Jag dealer, it was under warranty, was in mint condition and had low mileage.

So why not?

Well, let me tell you why not.

But not all of it today, it would take too much time. But I will reveal the myriad of reasons over a few missives.

Where I live the big car market is about a four hour drive from here. I contacted the dealer, they assured me the car was perfect and besides, it had a warranty and that warranty would be honored by my local Jag dealer, so there was nothing to worry about. Everything was arranged, I had them install the Bluetooth before I got there and throw in a set of winter tires, a necessity here because, yes, I intended to drive the thing year round—why the hell not? On the truly bad days I’d take my wife’s car, but most days of the winter the roads are generally bare, you just don’t want to be caught in an unexpected snowstorm with 300+ horsepower at your command and hard as rock all-season tires.

The day came.

I picked up a certified check from the bank and rented a car, a Chrysler 300 I believe, then drove down to get my new ride, all excited and proud of myself. Arriving using my Mapquest printouts at the rental company, I was driven to the dealership, met the rep, took the car out for a spin, and immediately fell further in love with it. It was absolutely gorgeous and accelerated like nobody’s business, almost as good as my 1998 SVT Cobra Convertible in Cobra Yellow (the only car I’ve ever missed, but that’s another story).

The paperwork was signed, three of the four winter tires were stuffed into the interior of the car including one in the passenger seat—yes, it was cramped but I didn’t care—and I was soon underway with my reversed Mapquest printouts at my side.

For those who’ve never driven in Toronto, let me describe it like this—it’s LA, just with people who apologize to you rather than wave a gun when you cut them off. The thoroughfares are massive ten to sixteen lane affairs that you can’t just take the next turnoff and butterfly around to reverse direction.

In other words, once you’re on, unless you know where you’re going, you’re committed.

About ten minutes into my drive the first indicator light came on the dash.

An ABS light.

I cursed, slamming my fist into the steering wheel.

What happened next was even worse.

To be continued…right here.

So now it’s your turn. Tell me about your worst car buying experience in the comments section. Can you top mine so far?


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