Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Built in a Borrowed Garage With Junkyard Parts, the Jaguar-Powered Kirke Leonard Special Proves What a Dedicated Amateur Can Accomplish

Posted March 01, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: jaguar

Kirke Leonard never named the car that he built. He never raced it or showed it. Somehow, despite the fact that he built it in Los Angeles, the car never made its way into a car magazine during the time he owned it. In fact, he only held on to it for a short time before selling it off, never to see it again. Yet he still remembers almost everything that went into building the aluminum-bodied Jaguar-powered special pieced together from junkyard parts 70 years later.

"I just build stuff, I've always built stuff," Leonard said. "This was just my idea of a sporty car."

Most of what Leonard has built over the years has two wings and soars above the clouds: gliders, sailplanes, and powered airplanes. His father was big into gliders before World War II, and Leonard helped his brother-in-law, Paul MacCready, design and build the human-powered Gossamer Albatross that set a record for flying across the English Channel in 1979. But that's not to say wheeled vehicles didn't interest him. He spent his teen years scouring New England for Cord 810s and 812s to repair, refurbish, and sell off, making enough money by flipping them to put himself through college, and following graduation from Worcester Tech, he decided to embark for California in search of sports cars and hot rods.

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Re: Built in a Borrowed Garage With Junkyard Parts, the Jaguar-Powered Kirke Leonard Special Proves What a Dedicated Amateur Can Accomplish

03/01/2022 3:16 PM

I liked this quote, "There are better ways to lose money than to go into the custom car business."

Here is a man who knew his limitations but knew how to have fun.

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Re: Built in a Borrowed Garage With Junkyard Parts, the Jaguar-Powered Kirke Leonard Special Proves What a Dedicated Amateur Can Accomplish

03/07/2022 3:57 PM

A farmer was asked what he would do if he won a fortune in the lottery. "Well", he replied, "I reckon I would just keep on farming until it was all gone."

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