JAGUAR (the duke and baby brother)


The Duke, a 1939 Jaguar SS100 Roadster replica kit car


Baby Brother


34 Bugatti Half Scale Care

In May, 2008, I was surfing the internet, when I located “THE DUKE”, a 1939 Jaguar SS100 Roadster replica kit car for sale.  This kit was manufactured by Classic Cars in North Dakota and was purchased/assembled by a Miami banker.  Being a lover of convertibles and red vehicles, I fell in love with the automobile, especially since the vehicle was located 40 miles north of Atlanta.  One week later, it was in Mobile.  The car seemed lonely, since it had been garaged with 4 other Jaguars.  Again, I surfed the internet, and found a half-scale 1934 Bugatti Roadster on Ebay.  It looked similar to “The Duke”, and was also red.  I purchased it from Wisconsin, and named it “Baby Brother”.  It was manufactured by Axe Co. in Antwerp, Belgium, and is powered by a 50cc Sachs motorcycle engine.  “Baby Brother” would be a perfect vehicle for my grandchildren to drive or ride.


Since the 1970’s, I have entered different vehicles in the annual University of Alabama Football Homecoming Parade in Tuscaloosa.  Previous vehicles included a 1928 T-Bucket Hot Rod and a restored 1954 International Fire Truck.  Alabama’s mascot, “Big Al”, rode the in back of the fire truck on several occasions.  After 8 years of absence in the parade, I re-entered this year’s parade with a different approach. A trailer hitch was fabricated for  “Duke”, and a tow bar for “Baby Brother”.   Both cars were transported by trailer to my home in Northport.  “Duke” would represent the “Class of 1962” (my graduating class), and “Baby Brother” would represent the future “Class of 2020 and 2023” (the years my two riding granddaughters would graduate from Alabama).


Now, for the rest of the story:

1-      As we proceeded to unload the cars, I discovered that “Duke’s” battery was weak, thus causing the starter to drag. Remedy – My son’s booster cables were put into service, thus providing power to start the car…..allowing the alternator to assist in charging the battery.

2-      While attempting to unload the trailer, we discovered that the ramp angle was too steep, thus causing the transmission pan and linkage to drag and hang up. Remedy Put 4” blocks under the ramp at ground level and elevate the trailer jack to reduce the angle.

3-      As we attached the tow bar to “Baby Brother”, I discovered that the tow bar angle was too high to lock down to “Duke’s” hitch ball.  Remedy – Put the tow bar tongue between the trailer ramp’s angle iron and have my son jump up and down on the other end to bend the tow bar 30 degrees.  All connections now operational.

4-     Compliments on the “Duke” was great, but response to “Baby Brother” was overwhelming.  All the children were envious of my grandchildren riding in the car.  Overheard comments were. “Daddy, I want that little red car”.

5-      One half-mile from the campus, I turned on the radio to play the “Yea Alabama” fight song.  Guess what?  Not enough voltage for the motor and the radio.  Yep! “Duke” died in middle of the street.  RemedyAllow the car to coast to the curb, wave at the remaining parading vehicles and floats, call my son to bring the trailer, using a phone borrowed from a crowd bystander (our phones left in the towing vehicle), load the cars on the trailer and head to my Northport home.

6-     We went to the ballgame, won the game, then traveled home to Mobile.

7-      Upon arrival to Mobile, I discovered the battery had a bad cell, the starter was bad, and the solenoid was erratic.  Remedy – New battery, starter, and solenoid.  Don’t ask about the wrong starter being shipped to the parts house, thus requiring re-order.  Re-weld the transmission linkage, cut off protuding metal.


“You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him roller skate.”