Collector of the Week: Todd L. Duhnke

c32e38afbefd597b800eb6c091e217b9

Todd L. Duhnke, of Wichita, KS, sent in the story of his life long love affair with E-type Jaguars:     

My E-type story is from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy.  That’s how old I was when my Dad came home one Friday afternoon from work in October 1964 and told me I better eat quickly, as we needed to go to the airport to pick up a new car!  Simply put, that in and of itself was an amazing declaration. So, in wide-eyed amazement, we jumped on a Braniff Convair 340 to Kansas City, and then a Braniff Lockheed Electra and flew to Dallas that evening.  

On the plane, Dad told me he had traded in his ’62 Triumph TR4 for a new XKE roadster.  Dad didn’t want any kid to drive the car back home, so the dealer suggested he go to the distributor himself to get the car.

The next morning we jumped in a ’57 Ford taxi and set out for Southwest Motors, which was situated between Dallas and Forth Worth.  We stopped at Dealey Plaza to see the site of the ghastly assassination a short eleven months earlier.

Our ’64 Gunmetal Grey and red leather 3.8 OTS was stunning.  Dad was extremely eager to hit the road with his new car. I looked inside and asked: “Where are the seat belts?” They said that the seat belts could either be installed now—- or back at the dealership.  Dad remained eager to hit the road and install them later.  Remembering an accident we had witnessed the year before, I insisted that we get them now. I reminded Dad of the accident on Highway 100 north of Milwaukee, and he relented. The 12-year-old prevailed!  The belts were installed within an hour or so.

We drove the first day to Wichita (which is, coincidentally, where we live today).  We got home the next day. The XKE was a wonderful addition to the family for four years. I learned to drive a stick in that car. I was taught basic Gymkhana skills in that car.

I couldn’t wait to be able to take the car out for a spin by myself once I turned 16.  That was never to be, as my Dad sold the car a week before I turned 16! He bought a new Montego, as he needed to trim expenses.  I was devastated, as you can imagine.

Attached is a picture of the car in 1967.  Dad repainted the car black after a “slight altercation” with a ’58 De Soto.

I still have a passion for XKEs and finally bought one a few years back via Classic Showcase. I now have a ’65 Opalescent Golden Sand roadster among four other collector cars.  So, now I am finally able to drive a Jaguar solo!  I love it, and enjoy reading about them in SCM.

Why don’t you share your car story and become the next Collector of the Week? Send us a photo of you and your car, a short description of the car and your thoughts on performance. Check back next week, as you may be our next featured collector.