I’m very sad that I can’t attend the car-related festivities at Amelia Island this year, as I have many great memories from attending over the years. As I continue to sulk about missing the fun, I’ve decided to write a little "throwback" post from my first trip in Amelia Island back in 2011, when I discovered that a Jaguar doesn’t make a very good beach buggy.
My trip started in Atlanta, where I had purchased a 2001 Jaguar XJR sight unseen for $8,500. I was much smarter back then, and I actually paid for a pre-purchase inspection from an independent repair shop, which noted a few minor things, along with some recommended maintenance — which I had them complete before I picked up the car. The short drive from Atlanta to Amelia Island went off without a hitch — and I had a great time car spotting. My favorite photo that weekend came from witnessing a scenario only possible at these ultra-posh car events: a Buick Roadmaster Estate being chased by a Bugatti Veyron.
I also participated in the Porsche driving experience rally, which consisted of about 80 guys driving Porsche Boxsters — and me in my Jaguar. The rally ended in Jacksonville with a tour of an incredible collection owned by the legendary Brumos dealership and racing group. At this point, I was totally in love with my new Jag, and decided to stop for a photo shoot after riding the ferry back to Amelia island.
Throughout the weekend, I noticed many people driving their vehicles right onto the beach, but I didn’t notice that most of them were lifted 4×4 vehicles. I also failed to notice a sign noting that 4-wheel-drive vehicles were required for beach access. Since I’m from Kansas, I had no idea that normal cars can’t drive in the sand — and as I drove my low-slung sedan down to the shoreline, I was wondering why everyone was staring at me.
Surprisingly, I drove my XJR right down to the shore without any problems. I gleefully posed for some photos totally ignorant of the fact that my XJR stood no chance of making it back to the road under its own power. Trouble started when I attempted to reverse out of my position — and I didn’t make it very far before the supercharged 370-horsepower V8 had dug the rear wheels deep into the sand.
Thankfully, a man in a Jeep was willing to help tow my Jaguar back to the road — but not without lecturing me first on how stupid I was. He seemed a little less judgmental when I explained that I was from Kansas — and after hooking up the tow strap, my XJR was dragged back to the paved road where it belonged. This is probably about as obvious of a PSA as telling people not to eat Tide Pods — but I now speak from experience when I say driving a Jaguar XJR on the beach isn’t a very good idea. Find a Jaguar XJR for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.