Ride of the Week: Michael Axon’s 1973 Primrose Jaguar

A day as an Englishman is not an easy one. It’s full of proper legalities, crumpets and fine clothes.

Which is why, when the stress level of all that garb hits its peak and you just can’t take anymore, a smart Englishman will hit the road in true British style.

This, of course, leads me to my good friend and confidant, Michael Axon. Now, if you’ve been to my car show in Malibu, chances are that you’ve met Michael and experienced his witty sense of unique English humor, or at least noticed that when he shows up, he’s driving one of 20 different English road rockets.

That being said, this is Ride of the Week and today we’re focusing on Axon and his 1973 Jaguar XKE Roadster in Primrose Yellow. Axon, as the CEO of a fascinating company called LazerCAD, needs to release his workload by grabbing one of his unique cars and heading into the canyons. I’ve done this many times with him, and it’s a type of “fun” that surpasses unique driving.

But before we get to that experience, let’s discuss the car a bit. It’s a V12 Jag with 314 brake horsepower and automatic transmission purchased out of New York four months ago.

“This car is a one-owner from new at only 49,000 miles,” Axon begins to explain excitedly. “The previous owner refurbished the transmission, brakes and exterior. The only thing left to do was the interior letter-work which was aged and dry beyond repair.”

But we’re just getting started.

“Back in the ’70s and growing up in Manchester in England, the E-Type Roadster was the car to have,” he said. “All the movie stars and soccer players had to have one. I remember one Saturday lining up for the Manchester Soccer derby — Manchester United playing Manchester City. … One of the soccer stars drove into the stadium in an exact Primrose Yellow ’73 XKE Roadster and I thought it was the most beautiful car I had ever seen. I decided then and there that I had to own one.”

Forty years later, and in another country, Axon ended up with the same model that he saw in Manchester all those years ago.

“It is amazing to me how the memory of a car from 40 years earlier can stir up so much emotion, desire and passion,” he said.

Well, therein lies the rub, eh, Michael? Like a suggestion that feeds off of your mind for years, captivating, growing and molding itself into reality. Then boom, Bob’s Your uncle.

“Now having had the interior leather trimmed to the original spec, I would say that this car looks and drives as close to it did when it left the Browns Lane Jaguar factory in Coventry over four decades ago,” Axon said.

Wow. Imagine if you can, a 40 year-old car with 40K on the books. 1K a year (more or less). That’s a lot of wasted time.

Axon went on the explain that the 1973 model is the Series 3 with all the changes and refinements incorporated from 10 years of previous models, now sporting a V12 engine, air conditioning and a longer/wider wheelbase for much improved handling.

“Driving through Malibu in ‘Primrose’ has invented a new breed of human being known as ‘the head-turner,’” Axon said. “I actually had to stop last week when a cyclist ran straight into the back of his friends as he was looking at ‘Primrose’ and not where he was going. They all ended up being none the worse for wear, but the resulting 45-minute conversation about the car with him and his friends made me late for dinner with my girlfriend — yet again.”

Oh, the horrors of it all to be an Englishman. 

“But now she knows that if I am out in Primrose, I will always be late due to talking to people that see what I saw all those years ago,” he added.

Alas, we get to the driving experience.

“Driving down PCH and through Malibu in ‘Primrose’ just takes you in a time machine back to the 70s,” Michael says with one eye in another time. “It’s such an amazing feeling, the wind through your hair and the V12 engine seamlessly powering you along the coast with the added bonus that her sheer beauty draws people over to you. I still find it incredible that my classic cars bring people from all walks of life and culture together for a chat or coffee at one of the local coffee shops in Malibu.”

So true and eloquently stated. Makes you want to buy an ascot and dinner jacket, then head out onto the curves. And, knowing Michael, we may just do that.

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