A Classic Rolls Royce ~ always posh
In my global travels I have met many different people from many different cultures, and although most have spoken good English, it’s almost never been English / English. An educated Englishman’s vocabulary contains hundreds of words and phrases which baffle Australians, Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians… Perhaps it’s time the rest of the world remembered that the language is English.
So, partly at the request of my friend from Orange County, California, USA, I thought I’d try to explain the meaning and etymology of some of these English / English words and idioms. Starting today with the word posh.
Posh is an adjective. It’s a complement, unless it’s used ironically. To describe someone or something as posh means that they, (he, she, it), are aristocratic, upper-crust, high-class, elegant, stylish, luxurious, gentlemanly, regal… In other words, the cream of the crop. Being rich doesn’t mean that you’re also posh ~ Donald Trump is not posh. Whereas, a classic Jaguar is posh. (Logic doesn’t enter into it.)
Etymologists can look away now. Posh comes from the acronym P.O.S.H. ~ Port Out Starboard Home, which was chalked on the sides of the luggage of upper crust people travelling, by sea, from England to India in the Heyday of the Empire.
In the days before air conditioning it could become unbearably hot aboard ship during certain parts of this voyage; down through the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea. You wanted a cabin on the shady side of the ship, the Northern side. Going out this was the port side, coming back to England this was the starboard side. Hence; Port Out, Starboard Home ~ POSH.
Posh is a slightly old-fashioned word ~ if you hear an Englishman using it today, then he’s probably well-educated, well-read, well-spoken, well-bred… in fact quite posh. The opposite of posh is pleb, which is an insult I’ll explain another time.
A classic Rolls Royce is very posh indeed.
(while an Englishman will use words with many origins, Romani is not one of them)
When it was introduced in 1968 the Jaguar XJ6 was probably the finest car a gentleman with taste and refinement could buy. Outstandingly beautiful, quiet, comfortable, fast ~ fitted with the glorious, iconic, versatile, powerful, dohc straight six 4.2 litre, (258 cu in), XK engine the big Jaguar saloon could top 120 mph, (which was very quick in 1968), and made the classic Jaguar E-Type look jaded in comparison.
Jaguar and Rolls Royce for sale in Palm Springs
The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, (seen in a dull colour in the background here), was not even in the same league as the Jaguar, being slower, heavier, and with handling like a barge in comparison. The Rolls-Royce was also almost three times the price of the XJ6.
From its launch this was a car for crossing continents in comfort. When the Daimler Double Six came along, Jaguar had produced the most elegant car in the world.
The big downside for Jaguar was that the XJ saloon was just too good. In one form or another the XJ remained in production from 1968 to 1992, after which it was replaced by other Jaguar saloons which were, more or less, the same as the 1968 XJ. All in all, Jaguar made versions of this great car from 1968 until 2009, (in a bewildering number of variants), until it was finally replaced by the Eurobox that is the current XJ, (known by Jaguar as the X351).
Along the way the big Jag came in short and long wheelbase, two and four door, Jaguar and Daimler versions with straight six, V12, V6, and V8 engines of various ilks.
Probably the most desirable of all these magnificent cars is the Daimler Double Six Coupe, of which only 407 were made between 1975 1nd 1977. Fitted with the 5.3 litre, (323 cu in), V12 engine this gorgeous car could do almost 150 mph and sprint to 60 mph in about seven and a half seconds ~ and this in 1975. Even by today’s standards, this is a very fast car. (Daimler is the even more upmarket version of the luxury Jaguar brand.)
Daimler Double Six Coupe
How much should you pay for one of these cars? How much have you got? A friend of mine almost bought a beautiful example of a long wheelbase XK engined XJ6 in Palm Springs which had a sticker price of $9,500 ~ stupidly I talked her out of it, and I don’t think she’s yet forgiven me. If it comes to that, I haven’t yet forgiven me! Want one of these cars? Just you peruse the advertisements on the internet, and don’t even think about anything that needs a lot of work.
Long Wheelbase Jaguar XJ6
These cars are mechanically complex, (your local garage won’t have a clue), and some versions are very prone to rust. The luxury interior would cost you a fortune to restore, and in a Californian summer it will overheat. The V12 will really overheat. The answer is, buy the best you can afford because you will need a mortgage for any repairs or restoration work. Also, it’s a good idea if you know / can find someone who will spend a few hours a week fettling your XJ.
Unless you don’t have to worry about money, you can’t really afford to run a classic version of the XJ, not without scrimping on other things. The V12 will usually only give you somewhere between 5 and 15 mpg, (depending on how you drive and the size of your gallon of petrol / gasoline). The Jaguar independent rear suspension, with its inboard disk brakes, will have the average American mechanic in disbelief and needing therapy. And, even the XK engine, (introduced in 1949 remember), is complex and difficult to maintain and rebuild. (Trust me, I have rebuilt an XK, and I still have the grey hairs). But properly looked after, the big Jaguars / Daimlers are totally bombproof. (The XK engine was so strong it was even used in a tank.)
You know what? I am seriously thinking of driving from Chicago to Santa Monica this year, following the line of the old Route 66. A Jaguar XJ6 would be a great car for that road trip, a v12 coupe even more so. The big Daimler Double Six is Californian spiritual sex on wheels. The downside is the XJ didn’t come as a convertible. Perhaps a Jaguar XJS would be a better choice for my next road trip.