Saved From The Crusher
Gas Monkey Garage Buys Cannonball Run Jaguar From Pennsylvania Recycler
When Terry Hill, of A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts in Shoemakersville, Pa., got a call asking if he wanted to buy a beat up Jaguar XJS for $200; he said without a doubt, “Yes.” Little did he know that when the auto recycling business received the car, he would find that it had been in the infamous Cannonball Run race. However, this was not just any car that ran that race. This was the car was driven by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough.
To most people, these two names mean nothing, but to Cannonball fans, these names are royalty. In 1979, this duo set the record for the Cannonball Run race at 32 hours and 51 minutes or an average of about 87 mph. This was an amazing feat that went untouched for 28 years. The car was embossed with the memory of the race through a custom dash plate. If it wasn’t for this dash plate, A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts would not have known that this car was a piece of racing history.
A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts posted an online ad that said it had a Jaguar for sale and Richard Rawlings, the owner of Gas Monkey Garage (www.gasmonkeygarage.com), called and asked to look at the car. Now for those who don’t recognize the names Richard Rawlings and Gas Monkey Garage, they are from the hit Discovery Channel show Fast N’ Loud (www.discovery.com). The show is known for taking rusty, old, near-death cars and bringing them back to life, whether it’s a restoration or converting them into a hot rod. This Jaguar meant more to Rawlings than all of the other cars that he has bought on the show. This was the car that held the record until Rawlings, and his co-driver, Dennis Collins, set a new record in 2007 of 31 hours and 59 minutes - an average of about 87.6 mph. The duo always dreamed about owning the original Jaguar and they figured that it had just fell off the grid, perhaps into a crusher or collecting dust in a barn; which did almost happen.
A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts almost crushed the Jaguar for scrap, which would have brought them $400 in scrap value. When Rawlings found the ad, he immediately called Collins and said, “Pack your bags. We are going to Pennsylvania.” Collins asked, “For what?” and Rawlings’ response was, “You’ll find out.”
They came to the yard early one morning because the car was close to being crushed. After a quick inspection of the car, Rawlings knew he had found gold. The duo had found the car that they had been trying to find for years. Now, they had to get it for the right price. They went back to their car to think about how they wanted to approach an offer on such a great find.
The Jaguar was not in very good shape and did not run, but it was a piece of history that they knew could be fixed and restored to its highest state. On the down side, the members of A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts knew that Rawlings and Collins had a high level of interest in this car and that the duo was not going to leave without it. It was show time for Gas Monkey Garage to see what kind of a deal they could get for this racing masterpiece. Rawlings, as always, gave Stacy Hill - the A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts associate who was doing the dealing - a price a little higher than the scrap value of the Jaguar, like clockwork Hill said, “We know you want it.” In the end Rawlings paid $5000 for the car, 25 times what A-Z U-Pull-It Used Auto Parts paid for it originally. The car will be featured periodically on the show as Rawlings and Collins decide what and how they want to restore this piece of racing history.
Jeffrey Klos is the son of Kay Klos, the executive administrator of the Pennsylvania Automotive Recycling Trade Society (PARTS). Jeffrey has helped with the PARTS annual event, he is a full-time college student and big fan of Fast N’ Loud.