4 Feb 1965 : tempted by a Jag, scrap car culture and plans for setting sail : New York, USA

New York

Thursday 4th February 1965

Dear Family,

We have really started to work hard now as we have at last got the hang of the job, and can complete a changeover quite quickly now.

Unfortunately as you can see we are still in New York, and are longing to get away.

The people at the places we go to are very friendly and nice and generally very interested in us and our trip. The only snag is that it tends to hold us up a bit, but we get paid just the same, so who cares?!!

Today we had a chance of a lifetime. We were at a place doing a job and the jobber (as he is called) – who is the owner – owned a car scrap yard which was next door.

Outside in the street was a 2.4 Jaguar, blue, and in very nice condition except for the boot door which had been pushed in by an accident.

It was rust-free, had good tyres, a good engine, etc, etc, but looked very dirty and abandoned. It turned out it was his and was due to be ‘junked’ (the term here for broken down for spares). We asked him if he would sell it to us and he said ‘sure’ and said we could have it for $150 (just £50). A 2.4 Jaguar for £50!!

Our first reaction was to buy it, and we sat in it for ages talking about it, but we sadly had to accept the fact that it was impractical. If I had been coming home I would have bought it and brought it over, but to buy it and take it around the world is difficult due to the spares problem. In England I imagine I could get £600 to £700 for it which is a fair profit.

This is the attitude here. Since the snow and ice there have been lots of accidents and cars have been abandoned at the roadside with simply a bashed in back or front and some of them seem to be almost new.

This weekend we have decided to try our hand at skiing and have booked in at a Ski Lodge up north of the Catskill Mountains, at a place called High Mount, Bel-Air.

(NB Wrong! Bel-Air is an exclusive neighbourhood of Los Angeles, made famous by TV comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Tony and Colin were actually visiting Highmount, Belleayre, New York State!)

It is an inclusive weekend of food and accommodation, and equipment can be hired for skiing, so let’s hope everything works out alright. We leave tomorrow straight from work and should be there by about 9 o’clock.

We have started to make arrangements for getting to New Zealand, and with the present plan will fly to Honolulu and spend four days there, and then by boat to Fiji, and spend nine days there, and catch a different boat to New Zealand.

We are making enquiries about Fiji, and if the cost of living is as cheap as we believe it is, we may stay there a lot longer.

With dollars this is conceivable, as they seem to go a long way in most countries. We would spend longer there, and less time in New Zealand. However all these plans are very tentative and may change completely.

To be continued…

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