Council alerts make a salt-free diet easier 1962 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC

Jaguar E-type

Council alerts make a salt-free diet easier 1962 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC

Like a teenager, I’ve become addicted to my smartphone lately. Not for its ability to tempt with apparently bargain classics, period racing footage or interesting hypotheses on how the Covid-19 vaccines are part of a plot to control us, but for the email alerts I get from Central Bedfordshire Council. Each time the big yellow trucks are scheduled to season the local roads with rocksalt, I get a few hours’ warning. If it’s rained and the tarmac has been trafficked sufficiently since the last time they were out, it’s time to seize the moment and make a dash for the garage.

Even with such useful intel, the opportunities are proving rare this year as once again the council seems particularly trigger happy as soon as the temperatures threaten to dip. I used to take any clear, dry day as an opportunity to exercise the E-type, with the optimistic belief that without water in the equation, any salt that kicked up from the road would fail to cling and even if it did, would be unable to form a nasty little electrolytic cell with the steel. The fact that my car had been protected with modern paints, sealants, anti-stonechip coatings and wax injection also gave me a sense of weather-proof security. A false one, as it turned out. A few years have now passed since the trauma of the car’s first rust scabs – in my ownership – and consequential minor surgery, but I’m still scarred enough to suffer salt aversion. So now I’ve faced up to the fact that even when salty roads are dry, the dust clings to every surface of a car, and if there’s much humidity in the air – like there is in the UK most of the time – it will absorb enough moisture to create its own chemistry experiment with any exposed bit of steel, aluminium or zinc it can seek out.

Maybe the more selective nature of how I use the car over winter has helped me appreciate it more, because even the most inconsequential journeys now seem more pleasurable than ever. Take last Sunday the sort of clear, crisp day that makes driving at this time of year a particular joy, especially when it’s followed a week of the sort of persistent rain usually enjoyed by my Welsh friends. First stop was my nearest Shell garage for a few gallons of fresh 98 octane, a place where a cashier far too young to relate to such an old car is always thrilled to see the E-type. And then it was time to head east into the delightfully fiddly network of minor roads between the A1 and the A14/M11 that have blissfully avoided upgrading to soul-sucking dual carriageways. With no great sense of purpose beyond exercising the car to ensure everything keeps working properly and safely, I’d lost track of where I was heading when darkness fell, so I bore right at the next couple of opportunities and continued my meanderings until I started recognising village names again.

I could have fired up my phone satnav for the most efficient route. But I’ve heard that excessive smartphone use isn’t good for you – surely it’s only a matter of time before I wake, sweating from a nightmare where I’m stood on the roof of the E-type, swatting away a swarm of airborne yellow gritting lorries as they divebomb time and again with their deadly payload of sodium chloride. Right then I was happy to enjoy the last few miles to where the salt-free sanctuary of my garage awaited.

1962 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC

  • Owned by Phil Bell
  • Time owned 11 years
  • Latest/total mileage 68/108,082
  • Latest/total costs £0/£15,800
  • Previously Discovered virtually no sign of ethanol-induced corrosion in the fuel system

Rocksalt alerts help Phil choose when it’s safe to drive his Jaguar 

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