If you read this column, you know I enjoy driving rented vehicles when I travel for business or pleasure. It’s fun to try out all kinds of new cars, particularly those that are not available here. So when Cindi and I were booking our 40th Anniversary trip to Europe, I decided to “scroll down the page” on the rental car sites to see if there was something available of interest.
SIXT Rental Car is all over Europe and I have used them often. For very little more than an economy car, I ended up with a Jaguar XF think BMW 5 series for comparison. What made this car even more interesting was that it was equipped with a 2.2 liter turbo diesel with a six speed manual gearbox! You won’t find that combination in US dealer showrooms. This will be the ?fifth or sixth diesel I have rented in Europe in recent years and I have always been impressed. Gone are the clatter and the smoke. No more glow plug cold start delay. In fact, if no one told you, you might not even know you were driving a diesel… except for the mighty torque grunt that makes diesel cars so much fun on the winding hills. Anyway, I got to fantasizing about what a diesel Nasty Boy would be like. For those who are not familiar, a Nasty Boy is a Healey with an engine transplant, usually a small block Ford. What if we dropped this Jag engine into a BJ8? The power unit is smaller and lighter than a Healey engine, so fitting it shouldn’t be a problem. Well, there might be a wiring or plumbing issue or two, but think about the performance! Not being able to leave well enough alone, I not only thought about the performance, I made a stab at calculating it. The chart on page 17 shows the major characteristics of a typical BJ8 in the second column, followed by the same figures for the Jaguar in the next column, followed finally by the mythical Jaguar/Healey Nasty Boy in the last. I will let this sink in a bit.
The Nasty Boy would be quite a beast, being 1500 lbs. lighter than the Jag. And look at the economy! Supercar acceleration, loads of torque, 85 mpg, top down, wire wheels and 2.6 cents per mile to operate. Anyone for a transplant?