I wandered into the Cape Town city centre the other day to capture some old cars and check out the street art in the mild Winter sun. Walking the streets of the Bokaap I came across this Jaguar 420G, a fabulous beast from another time.
As a teenager in the mid 70’s the 420G already seemed to me like it was from a much earlier age. I guess having the brilliant XJ6 sold alongside it was likely to do that.. The 420G was officially sold in South Africa, though only briefly. Looking at the price list in my June 1968 copy of Car magazine [local, not related to UK Car] the largest model on offer was the 420. The Jan ’69 issue had a road test of the 420, and mentions the 420G would become available in limited volume.
By August the 420G was priced at R6895, making it the most expensive car listed in the country. The next most expensive model was the Mercedes Benz 280SE at R5917. The 420 and the 280SE were locally assembled, while the 420G would have been fully imported and been highly taxed accordingly. The 420G exited production in 1970.
Seeing this car in the flesh always elicits a positive response in me. It feels like a statuesque nude from a Rubens walked off the canvas and is standing next to me in the street, it has overwhelming presence. Especially in a country where superminis dominate the sales charts.
This car has sweeping curves and shapely hips, I can’t see a flat plane anywhere. It may not be Sir William Lyon’s finest, but the unity of purpose is there, to be a muscular luxurious shiny big cat.
The same day I dropped by at Crossley and Webb, a wonderful supercar and classic sales room on the opposite side of the city centre, in the East City Precinct, and snapped this Jag XK140’s swoopy rear end. I feel the same sporty DNA is running through both cars, if a bit more lithely here.
This 420G has one big problem living in Cape Town, its size, more specifically it’s width. If you think this is a big roomy city, well, a lot of it isnt! If this Stop road marking, as seen in Woodstock on a previous foray, can’t fit into the lane how is a 420G going to?
Some of our houses are really narrow too.. I hope this house in the Bokaap is going to be refurbished soon.
If you are planning on getting around the city with ease better to get a Mini, as seen here in the East City precinct against an image and words of Nelson Mandela, our former President.
Or, get a bicycle.. This one is ready for work.
Or walk! There are plenty of places to rest, and people are friendly.
I amazed by how the East City Precinct is transforming from a near-dead zone to a design-led hub of excitement and job creation. I love this Art Deco update.
And of course, keeping up the small car theme, Crossley and Webb had a very nice early ’63 Mk 1 Mini..
and a ’69 Lotus Europa S2, it came up to my knees!
Parked opposite the 420G was this pretty Alfa Romeo Spider, perfectly sized for city life. Cape Town does not have the nudge-park culture I have seen in European citys, so the vulnerable nose is less of a worry here.
Finally a view of that splendid rear end.
And finally a look at the complete piece of wall art. I just love it, and salute the person who painted it.