There's a chasm that lies between the major auto makers and kit car builders, call it the taint between the big boys and the homeboys. That's because it's pretty obvious that one t'aint t'other. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Jag SS evoking ‘Duke' closes that gap a bit, but is its price tainted?
Okay, let's do a little test - look at the fingernails on one of your hands, I'll wait. Now, if the manner in which you did that was by curling your fingers in towards your palm, as though half-way to making a fist, then you're probably among the 90% who voted yesterday's gurrrrl power 2001 Audi TT to be Crack Pipe. If however, you splayed your fingers at arm's length and canted your head to admire them, well, you're likely with the remaining 10% who thought it Nice Price and then realized it was time for a mani-pedi.
So I'm sitting here writing this while listening to Led Zeppelin and thinking about how well their music has held up over the years. Page and company's music is as timeless as today's retro-retro car is potentially not. And in contrast to those English rockers who modeled their music on the distinctly American sounds of Motown and Stax, this made in American (Fargo, North Dakota, donchaknow) cottage car apes the distinctly British Jaguar SS100.
Built by Classic Roadsters, Inc. the ‘Duke' is an approximation in fiberglass of Sir William Lyons' pre-war roadster. The Duke designation isn't in honor of John Wayne, but to denote its position in light of the company's Dutchess MGTF replica. This black and beige Duke is advertised as a 1939 Jaguar SS replica, so it's hard to pin down the exact year of manufacture, but it's safe to say that the mostly Mustang II underpinnings hail from when Zeppelin was still being pressed on vinyl regularly.
Those refugees from the most loathed of Ford's pony car include the 2.8-litre Cologne V6, the C4 automatic - reportedly renewed and still under warranty - and potentially the front suspension/rack and pinion steering and brakes. The live axle in back is probably from the II as well, although Classic Roadsters had a penchant for using CHevette parts too. All of this may seem like plebeian ingredients, but they are some of the most common of kit car donations, and in additional benefit, take a Mustang II off the road.
The Jag-esque body (really, it looks more like a TF) atop all the semi-modern bits looks to be in great shape for what it is, the fiberglass appearing un-cracked, and the paint still with reasonable luster. The faux Daytons do look a little worse for wear, and would it have killed the seller to have cleaned the underside of the side-mount well in the fender? The chrome radiator shell and bullet lights look like they'd require sunglasses to view on a bright day, while not so bright is the affixing of a leaper to what is nominally supposed to be a pre-war car.
Inside, the low-back seats look pretty good, and are probably real dead cow. The dash is a plank of some kind of wood, and holds tiny instruments and what looks like a KRACO stereo. Classy. Keeping the weather out as best it can is a jaunty-appearing soft top.
Under the side-hinged hood is the familiar V6 engine, which puts out somewhere in the neighborhood of, oh. . . who knows, 10? 200? Probably somewhere in between. Suffice to say, it's a retro car, not a rocket ship. The engine bay looks pretty tidy, and there's even A/C on the car. The only thing that's a little freaky is what appears to be an umbilical cord running back to the firewall, and I don't think I'd want to find out what's on the other end of it.
Okay, the first thing that should be noted here, is that you do not want this car. That pretty much goes without saying. If it went completely without saying, I wouldn't have said it, but I did, so it's only pretty much. That being said, there is a small, dedicated market for the Duke, and it seems like a lot of owners take great pleasure in their automobiles despite others considering that such cars put the ass in classic.
And so it is for those prideful owners, and anyone who wishes to join their ranks, that it is now time for you to weigh in on the likelihood that the seller of this Duke will get his $18,995 asking price. What do you think, is this fake Jag worth that much real cash? Or, would you say that price t'aint gonna' happen?
H/T to Kurt H for the retro hookup!
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