While Ian Ayton was growing up in the London area of England in the 1960s, he loved his father’s 1959 Mark 2. It had a 2.4L XK engine and an auto trans. “I thought it was quite something then,” Ayton said. “I only got to drive it a couple of times because he didn’t want me to mess it up.”
However, Ayton does credit the car with starting his love of Jags.
Cars were a natural interest for Ayton. “As a kid, I loved machines,” he said. “I got an apprenticeship with a company that built aircraft engines. Then I went to university and got a master’s in mechanical engineering. I did a lot of design work. I even built my own airplane.”
But cars always held a special place for Ayton. “They were re creation. You could take them apart and put them back together without having to design them,” he said.
In 1968, Ayton moved to America. So did his love of Jags. His first one was an XK 140. “It was in rough condition, but I restored it,” he said. “It took six years.” But he had a special fondness for the first family cat, a Jag Mark 2.
He began looking in earnest for one in 1985. “A friend had a repair shop in Lomita,” he said. “I told him to be on the lookout for one and he called me about six months later.” Ayton went to check out the car. “It was a wreck,” he said. “There were 100,000 miles on it and it had been sitting out in the desert near Banning. The weather pretty much sand blasted it. The owner had protected the chrome with grease, but the paint and interior were shot. It was semi-dismantled. All the wood trim had been torn out, but was all there.”
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