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Bring back the cat!

I love speed. When I drive, that is. I don’t “speed” in a legal sense, but I love getting off to a quick start and staying ahead of the pack. On an open roadway, I love taking my feisty little Hyundai into a tight, banking curve, keeping her nice and steady until she can slingshot out the other side. (And yes, my cars are all “girls.” Don’t ask me why, they just are.)

My first behind-the-wheel experience with this phenomenon came courtesy of my husband’s 1974 Mercury Montego, a  low-slung beauty that was essentially an engine on wheels with a couple passenger seats. She had metallic bronze finish and a hood that stretched out front for what seemed like a mile. That car was pure power on wheels and took the steep mountain roads of Scranton, Pennsylvania, with the ease of a stroll down a country lane. I really, really liked driving that car.

I don’t think it was until that point that I realized how much I enjoyed speed. I’m not otherwise a “fast” person. I don’t take physical risks. I avoid carnival and amusement park rides like the plague. (Remind me to tell you some day about my mother pulling me off the kiddie roller-coaster when I was five years old.) I suffer from vertigo so can’t handle up-and-down motions, but take me to a Blue Angels or Thunderbirds show, and my heart races as if I’m inside the cockpits with the pilots, the powerful jet engines scrambling my insides as I fight those G’s.

As a young girl, I must have understood this about myself on some elemental level, because somewhere around age 10 I decided my “dream” car was a Jaguar. I think a family friend had a wealthy relative who owned one, and I fell in love at first sight with those sleek, powerful lines, and, most important, that solid silver jaguar captured, mid-leap, on the hood.

I could hear the big cat’s growl, see the bunch of its muscles as it raced across some southwestern dessert in search of its prey. It spoke to me of ultimate freedom, and I envied it and admired it simultaneously. So for years that hood ornament has, for me, epitomized a personal  state of automotive nirvana, my pathway to elegance, power and speed. Keep your Beemers, your Mercedes(es?) and Lexuses. No matter what luxuries you pack inside, none of them could hold a candle, in my humble opinion,  to that hurtling cat on the car’s hood. (Not to mention, I would forever wonder if I was correctly forming the plural!)

“When we win the lottery,” I’d tell my husband, “I want a Jaguar.”

Okay, pumpkin,” he’d respond, usually patting my head.

So why am I bringing this up now? Because the Jaguar, as I knew it, is no more!

I had my first hint just last night. My husband and I were watching TV, and, as usual, I was reading during the commercials, paying no attention to the screen. I heard my husband say something like, “Huh…look at the Jaguar. It looks like any other car.” His remark didn’t worry me. After all, vehicle styles change from year to year, and every once in a while the designers will humor their customers and release a “retro” model that looks just like the cars we love. As long as I can glance at the silhouette and see that exotic cat, ready to lead the way for the pack, all is well.

At least that’s what I thought, until today when I happened to see the commercial for myself. I sucked in a giant breath and rubbed my eyes.

“It’s gone!” I actually said it out loud. “The jaguar is gone.” No exotic silver feline on the hood. Nothing on the hood at all. Nothing to distinguish the car from any other car on the road.

Not believing what I was seeing, I logged into the Jaguar home page in search of the truth. “For a hundred thirty-two thousand dollars,” I muttered to myself, “I’d better damn well get a cat on my hood.”

No luck.

Next I tried building my own custom car, but could find NO OPTION to add that mighty symbol of wealth and stature. Finally I had to acknowledge the truth.

The cat had spent its ninth life

So there I sat, all those years later, my dream forever gone, not for lack of money, but because of some automotive executive’s hair-brained decision to eliminate the symbol that epitomized the brand.

Disgusted, and desperate, I then turned to “the ultimate authority” for answers—Google. ”What happened to the Jaguar hood ornament?” I typed in the search bar. I was hoping to find an on-line petition to resuscitate the cat, bring it back where it belonged. Instead, I found a page on eBay where I could, wonder of wonders, buy my own silver plastic Jaguar! For under $25! I love a good bargain!

So…anybody know how to install a hood ornament?

2 thoughts on “Bring back the cat!”

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