doepke jagxk120-nose2

This Doepke Jaguar Went From Mint to Junk to Mint to Survivor

Ron Ruelle model car hall of fame
by Ron Ruelle

One of my earliest diecast car memories involves a model that was released well before I was born. It’s a Jaguar XK120 from Doepke, and it’s huge. It is about 1/12 scale and has some nice working features. This particular one has been through a lot.

The car came as a kit, a very heavy diecast body painted light blue, and a bunch of stuff to attach via snaps and screws. Fully assembled, it had working leaf spring suspension in the back and front steering. It was huge and heavy.

My Dad built that model when he was a kid. For some reason, it was in our garage, along with some other car stuff, but not in the basement with most of his other model car stuff. I used to play with it on the driveway or even the sandbox, but was respectful of it.

doepke jagxk120-box

Until one day, a friend (Let’s call him Bugs… Bugs Meany, maybe?) wanted to destroy something because kids do that. Well, bad kids do that. We threw it around, stomped on it, and bent it around utility poles. When my Mom saw what we were doing, she was horrified.

When my Dad found out later that day, he was just… sad. No words.

doepke jagxk120-topfront1

Flash forward over 20 years later, and 25 years ago, I find a Doepke Jag in an antique store. Far from perfect, missing a few pieces, and more expensive than I would have predicted. But I knew what I had to do.

This was the late 1990s, so the interwebs weren’t quite what they are today. But I found a website, Gasoline Alley Toys, that offered reproductions of most of the detail parts, even the decals. So in addition to about $300 for the car, I was in for several bucks on those bits. I also found high-heat spray paint in the exact shade of blue.

doepke jagxk120-chassis

So I set about repairing this Jag. It looked pristine when it was done. I wrapped it up gave it to my Dad, and when he unwrapped it, he just said… “It’s the car.” He said he didn’t even remember what had happened to it. But he was touched to have it back.

doepke jagxk120-int

Flash forward… over the years, the Jag was prominently displayed in the house, and several grandkids played with it (rough, but with respect). When Dad died, I got it back. It is currently in not-too-terrible shape, prominently displayed in my living room. I’m contemplating getting a few replacement parts to make it completely whole again. Some stories deserve to keep rolling.

(Ron  also wrote about this car in an article for DiecastX several years ago.)