Al Thaut is an automobile enthusiast; especially when it comes to classic cars.
The Monument resident owns a 1953 MG TD, a 2006 Cayman S Porsche and several Porsche 944s. But on Sept. 21, Thaut was at Sundance Mountain Lodge showing off his 1995 Jaguar XJS.
Thaut is a member of the Jaguar Club of Southern Colorado and was at Sundance for its annual Pikes Peak Concours de'Elegance (its Super Bowl) along with about two dozen other members of the club, as well as folks from neighboring clubs in the state.
“There aren't too many of these cars,” Thaut said of his Jaguar. “It's pretty special. You can tell by the design of this series. It's quite unique and it caught my eye.”
Thaut purchased his Jaguar in 1998 with about 8,000 miles on the speedometer. In the 15 years he's owned it he's only driven it 4,500 miles - mostly to Jaguar car shows and occasional weekend road trips.
“This car is not one of the old-timers that are gorgeous in their own right,” he said. “It was intended to be my retirement car. When I retired I took a look at it and said `It's too nice to drive. I don't deserve it.' So I just preserve it and keep it nice.”
The Concours de `Elegance was a two-day event (Sept. 20-21). It kicked off with a dinner at Palmer Lake's Villa Restaurant.
On Saturday, a team of judges awarded prizes in each class of car, as well as the best in class. The scoring is rigorous and the scores go into a national data base.
As cool as Thaut's Jaguar is, there were several other older models that were absolutely stunning in their design. Arguably the crème de la crème at Sundance was Gary Kerkow's 1958 Jaguar XK150.
“We bought it four years ago at one of these shows,” said Kerkow, who lives in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. “It was in pretty good shape. We started work on it and the next thing you know its frame-off restoration.”
Kerkow purchased the car for $42,000. He spent over $100,000 restoring it to its original form. That means everything is original to a specific screw.
“Every nut and bolt; everything from front to back,” said Kerkow, whose everyday car is a 2011 Jaguar XKR. “These old British cars have a lot of character.
“My wife and I will drive it around town, up to Woodland Park. Occasionally to Denver. It's got about 500 miles on it since it's been restored.”
Kerkow is the third owner of the car. He bought it from a gentleman who purchased it from Owen Faricy in Colorado Springs in 1968 for $1,068. It came into Dallas originally from Great Britain and originally worked its way up to Colorado Springs.
Charlie and Valerie Wilson of Larkspur had one of the more unique Jaguars - a 1966 XKE Series 1 Fixed Head Coupe. Charlie purchased the car in 1969 for $2,000.
“It was a daily driver for him until 1974,” Valerie said. “At that point he parked it and it didn't turn a wheel until we completed what's called a rotisserie frame-up restoration. We did every single thing on the car.”
By restoring the car the way they did, the Scotts were able to preserve the heritage of the marquee, but modified it to make the car drivable. Those modern-day modifications include oversize breaks and air conditioning.
“It's also the only model in the world that I know of that has shaved door handles,” Valerie said. “We figured out how to do a power door lock. We have a clicker. We also have electric windows.
“We built this car to make memories. Not just to have garage art.”
It took the Scotts eight years (2002 to 2010) to restore the car. They have it insured for $165,000.
“But that wouldn't cover what we spent (to restore it),” Valerie said.
The club has a genuine family feel. Members openly share their unique stories and journeys. They are all very passionate about their cars. For some folks, cars have been in the family for at least two generations.
Mel Perry inherited his father's 1967 Jaguar 420G when he passed away in 1989.
“It's the biggest car Jaguar ever made,” said Perry, a Colorado Springs resident. “It was bought new by my father, Bruce Perry, from Owen Faricy in 1968.
“My father had a burgundy XKE Coupe. When I was a kid he bought me a Jaguar Roadster. He was looking around for a sedan and went down to Owen Faricy and bought this car.”
For more information on the Jaguar Club of Southern Colorado, go to www.jagclub.org.