Jenny’s dream Jag

Photos Jaime Pitt-MacKay


Jenny Thompson was at primary school when she first dreamt of owning a Jaguar.

The dream was inspired by seeing a very elegant neighbour driving her magnificent Jaguar saloon.

Jenny knew her neighbour was a lovely lady and everything about the car – the style, the colour – appealed to Jenny.

Along with other things, Jenny has gone on to be a well-known artist, so her recognition of the superb features of the Jaguar were an early indication of her sense of design.

Jenny says she didn’t have a particular interest in cars, she just immediately knew Jaguars appealed to her.

Jenny then met her late husband Norm, who worked in the motor trade.

Later they established their own business and Jenny assisted in the office.

Many years after she had first seen the neighbours’ Jaguar, Jenny noticed a really stylish silver-blue S Type Jaguar about town.

Her dream was awakened, and she told Norm how much she liked that car and how much she would like one like it.

Secretly Norm went on the hunt for a Jaguar, and he found an identical S Type for sale in Christchurch.

He decided the car would make a great surprise birthday present for Jenny, but at that stage her birthday was six months away.

The seller agreed to store the car for some of that time, but a little while before Jenny’s birthday Norm had to spirit the car to Ashburton.

There was space at their business, but of course if the car was parked there Jenny would see it, so during the day Norm would park the car elsewhere and then after Jenny left for the day the car was brought inside overnight.

There were a few times when Norm arrived home only to remember he hadn’t parked the Jaguar in the workshop, so had to make an excuse to go back to work.

Finally the big day came and Norm arranged a birthday party.

He told Jenny and some family members he needed to call into work and invited them to come too.

On arrival Jenny was stunned to see their workshop was empty except for one very special car – her birthday present, the silver blue S Type – highlighted and looking resplendent under bright lights.

Naturally Jenny was amazed and 45 years later recalls her tears of joy.

In the years since, Jenny and Norm retained the S Type, but also purchased later model Jaguars, and not so many years ago the S Type was sold.

Jenny says each of the Jaguars they have owned had their own distinctive features and characteristics and she has liked them all.

They were all saloon models, most powered with V8 motors.

Not long before Norm passed away he suggested to Jenny she should get a sports model.

So she began thinking about that and last year looked at some Jaguars being sold in Christchurch.

Among them was an XK8 sports coupe, the same colour as her first Jaguar.

Jenny wondered what she should do, and then noticed the number plate contained her initials.

That seemed like a good omen and helped the decision making process, so Jenny traded her Jaguar Sovereign saloon and came home in the 4.2 litre V8 Coupe.

It was a good omen.

Jenny says the XK8 is quite a change from her previous cars.

The styling is different and there are two less doors but the traditional streamlined Jaguar styling and interior refinements remain.

“I’m enjoying the sporty feel of the XK8 which is a delight to drive”, says Jenny who goes on to say “Because of their looks it’s no wonder people often liken Jaguars to cats on the prowl”.

Others often tell Jenny her car sounds great, but she says that’s the one slight disadvantage of driving it – she doesn’t get to hear it from the inside.

Jenny is enjoying contact with other owners and has been on some great outings with them.

The XK8 is the seventh Jaguar in Jenny’s life and it’s a perfect match.

Jenny and the XK8 are just right for one another.

Jokingly Jenny says the lady who inspired her keenness for Jaguars set a high standard for her dream.

A dream which has come true several times over, and along the way brought much happiness.

– By Bernard Egan