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Charles Anton | Published on 7/27/2021

Run for the Hills!


Good day to everyone!  What a day for a drive from Claremont to the San Gabriel Mountains.  Melody looked at the route, all its twist bits, and said to me, “You’re on your own.  You can take my car.”  I remembered the last time my XJS V12 was at an event.  It was 5/2019.  This was the Muck Concours.  I had not taken this car on a driving event since joining in 2013.  The forecasted afternoon temps were not too bad.  So, what the hey?  Off I went on a morning that turned out to be much warmer than I thought, but there was no turning back once I took off from Placentia.


To my surprise, I showed up before Mark…. HA! Mark’s XJ-S and mine were the two V12s that made this drive.  I figured if his car was up for it, I will go for it also.  After chatting with many folks like Jim and Betty Friel, and meeting some new folks, we were ready to go.  I had to drool over that X-Type Estate before leaving, Lisa Mattice new owner.  There are not many nice X-Type Estates left.  Get yours while they are reasonably priced.  This one was spotless.  There was a good show of Healey’s as well.  They looked great with the tops down.


The drive was something else.  These are the toughest roads I have ever been on.  Anyone who knows how much I drive knows that is quite a statement.  The scenery was great, looking down on the valleys, not a cloud in the sky.  Most of the time, my focus was square in front as these were tough roads to drive on.  This was a test to see how well your car runs.  I am what people might say “a nervous driver.”  As soon as the hills started, the heater was turned on and the windows down.  I was watching the temp gauge more than I was watching my speed.  The needle ran 2/3 most of the way uphill.  I would not push my luck again.  V12 repairs are just too costly! 


No scenic tour would be complete without folks getting lost.  I knew I would not be able to look for street signs, watch the road, and watch the temp gauge without missing something.  If I missed something, it was going to be a street sign, not either of the other two.  I just found another Jag and followed.  Unfortunately, the Jag in front of me also was lost.  HA!  Jokes on me!  I was stressed at the time.  Without service or GPS, I started down the hill.  Mark Mayuga to the rescue!  30 seconds later, this “lipstick” XJS being driven by some guy with Aviator Sunglasses goes in the other direction.  “Hell yeah!”  I flipped a b%^&* and took off after him.  Mark was on it.  I do not know how many people he rescued, but we sure appreciate it!


Now for the fun part!  Mark was the Jag in front of me for the last 20 minutes or so.  It was all uphill and he was hauling.  Let us see if my car can keep up.  Second gear…check.  Heater blasting…. check.  Temp gauge at 2/3, been that way all day…check.  Gaining on you, Mark!  I watched the temp gauge creep up another millimeter.  So, I decided not to risk a breakdown.  I let off the gas a bit and everyone made it to the top. 


Most of us brought bag lunches.  Melody made me this killer pasta salad, but I was ready to make Mark look the other way while I steal a shrimp from his basket.  Chatting about F1, and the drive was relaxing.  The weather was great and there was plenty of shade.  After the fan finally quite running, I checked for leaks.  There were none, only a FF23 error fuel mixture error.  That is an easy reset with the battery.  I will take it.  At the end, this nice gentleman let me follow him down the mountain so I would not get lost.  The temp gauge read ¼ the whole way.  It is time for some air conditioning!


This was an event to test how well your Jag runs.  It you made it to the top, your Jag runs great!  I only used just a bit of oil, which will be changed in a couple of days anyway.  This sure beats stressful freeway driving with other drivers all around you doing everything but watching the road.  I thank those who put the route together with Mark in place to round up those who lost their way!


See you in Idyllwild, but I think I will bring Melody’s car for that one.  Hehe.

Charley Anton