The year was 1972. I had just graduated from college and was the proud owner of a 1958 Jaguar XK150, which I purchased the year earlier for $600. Needless to say, it was no Concours queen, but I was young, single and a rather dashing sort….it suited me well and was only a weekend driver anyway. After graduation I got a job which called for me to relocate to Nashville, TN. My new employer was kind enough to move my stuff, including the Jaguar in an enclosed van. The car was parked in the outdoor parking lot of my huge apartment complex. The complex was actually about twenty building spread over several hilly acres. I enjoyed driving the Jag through the beautiful Tennessee countryside most weekends, but alas, after some months those drives became less frequent.
I returned from visiting my girlfriend (now wife of 41 years, Cindi) one Sunday afternoon to find the Jag missing! In a panic, I called the cops and then drove up to the apartment complex office to report the theft. Much to my surprise, the 150 was parked in the office lot! I entered the office to find only the office manager and a Nashville police officer. Immediately I reported the theft (and apparent recovery) to the officer. His reply went something like this, “I guess you are not from around here boy. In Tennessee any vehicle that is not moved in thirty days is considered abandoned and can be claimed, without notice, by any other citizen. I have been watching your Jag for the last month, and it has not moved. So today I claimed it, it’s mine now.”
Perhaps it was my hangdog face, or the way I went on for some time about how important the car was to me, or my confession that indeed I was “not from around here”, but in the end, the officer relented, returned the car to me and made me promise never to let the car sit for more than thirty days again.
I guess the moral of the story is, “Jaguar, use it or lose it!”