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The Other Woman

Bob Muzio’s 1963 Jaguar XK-E

By Dan Kahn

Bob Muzio has a secret. He spends weekdays toiling as a service manager at a Southern California Volvo dealership, helping Swedish car owners with a smile, waving politely as they drive off in their airbag-equipped safetymobiles. Nights and weekends, the gregarious family man spends time in his garage, detailing his show-winning TR-4. As president of the Southern California Vintage Triumph Register and organizer of the annual Solvang Triumphest, Muzio is recognized throughout the region as a died-in-the-wool Triumph fan. However, on sunny Sundays when the canyons call, Muzio’s heart belongs to another.

She has killer curves that stop grown men in their tracks. Her throaty purr is pure sex appeal. Her soft embrace and cosmetic perfection are unrivaled. Meet Muzio’s other love: a perfectly restored 1963 Jag XK-E Series I Fixed Head Coupe. That’s right, the man who works on Volvos for a living and spends most of his free time eating and breathing Triumphs is also a Jag lover, and he’s not afraid to admit it.

“What a machine,” Muzio says. “I’ve literally yelled out ‘I LOVE THIS CAR!’ as I chase V8-powered performance cars over rural roads. Sometimes I just stare at it, at a loss for words.”

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The story behind this love affair can be traced back to Long Island, circa the early 1960s. When the first E-Type was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, the automotive press went wild. While the triple-carbureted motor was standard Jaguar fare, Malcolm Sayer’s slippery body design and technological advancements such as four-wheel-independent suspension and disc brakes at all corners made the Jag a sports car lover’s dream. All the major car magazines of the day ran cover stories, and a group of young gearheads in New York was smitten.

Fast-forward four decades. By 2001, Muzio had moved to California, raised a family and established a career in the automotive service industry. His Triumph was already making a splash with the local British car club crowd, with several car show wins tucked under its bonnet. The little boy from Long Island could stay hidden no longer, and the search began for an early E-Type. To fund the endeavor, Muzio sold a collection of 14 classic saxophones he had amassed over the years. On April 1, 2001, he purchased the ‘63 Fixed Head Coupe you see here.

The April Fool’s joke is that the car was a complete basket case. The previous owner took it apart in 1977 for a complete restoration, then lost interest and never finished the job. Muzio finished the restoration in record time, and while most of the systems were refurbished to factory specs, a few changes were made to accommodate modern driving conditions. The 3.8-liter inline-six was rebuilt by Pacoima Machine and fitted with a Pertronix electronic ignition for reliability. The radiator was also replaced with a modern multi-core unit for improved cooling on long trips.

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Both the front and rear suspension was rebuilt to better-than-new condition, the Moss 4-speed transmission was overhauled, and 6-inch chrome Dayton wire wheels were fitted for an added touch of class. Pirelli P4000 tires give the Jag plenty of grip in the corners.

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The previous owner did most of the bodywork before Muzio picked up the project, so he hired a local body shop (now defunct) to finish the job with a glistening layer of British Racing Green, covered in modern polyurethane clearcoat. The interior is not the standard saddle color you find in most BRG E-Types, but a darker shade called Cinnamon. The leather seats, wood-trimmed dash and vinyl panels were all restored to perfection to match the newly glistening exterior.

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When all the dust had settled, Muzio managed to fulfill a lifelong dream, a feat not many of us can claim. He now splits his time between a wonderful wife, a fulfilling career, and not one, but two spectacular British beauties. He sums it up best: “The Jag’s sleek curves speak volumes. I think the XK-E is one of the most beautiful cars ever created.” We couldn’t agree more.    

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