Getting Happy

According to the NY Post, “buying time” can be the secret to happiness. Sarah Hoyt questions their methodology, as do I. Here’s the study’s methodology:

In the study, more than 6,000 people in four countries were given an extra $40 a week for two weeks.
During the first week, the participants were told to buy material goods.
The next week, they were told to save themselves time by paying someone to do their menial, back-breaking tasks.
Ultimately, people said they got more happiness by saving precious time than by buying more stuff, no matter how exceptional it was.

If anyone can think that $40 a week can buy you happiness, they’re doomed to vote Democrat and/or Labour for the rest of their lives. Hell, for $40 you can’t even buy someone’s time to do menial jobs for you, unless you live in India or some other Third World hellhole where labor is cheap. And unless you live in one of the aforementioned hellholes where $40 can buy you someone’s firstborn, you can’t buy much for a lousy forty bucks either. Good grief, a bottle of decent single malt costs more than that, and that won’t last you a week either (if you consume the lovely stuff like Stephen Green or I do).

Most often, the “money can’t buy you happiness” meme is applied to lottery winnings. The usual rejoinder is, “If you can’t buy happiness with $100 million, you just don’t know where to shop” (as witnessed by this picture, sent to me by Reader OldTexan):

But the idea of buying time when you have a boatload of money makes perfect sense, if you have sufficient money. Here’s an example, using the more appropriate sum of $100 million instead of that $40 rounding error.

So you’ve won the Big Lottery. Assume that you’re not going to waste it (on stuff like trust funds for your kids or donations to Greenpeace), and you decide to buy time with it.

Let’s say that you’ve always wanted to own an E-type Jaguar, because if no less a man than Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car ever made, who are you to argue with him? A quick reminder of what we’re talking about here:

Nigella Lawson with wheels.

Now you have the money to afford it; but there’s a problem. You see, beauty doesn’t offset the E-type’s many flaws, to whit:

…which means that the thing often won’t start, the lights won’t work at night and ditto the windshield wipers when it rains, etc. Now if you’re one of those guys who loves working on cars, none of this matters, because you’re going to spend time fiddling with the thing.

Note that I said, “spend time”. If you’re like me, and want to drive the thing instead of fiddling with it and/or wasting time while other people fiddle with it, you’re not gonna get an E-type.

Fortunately, there is a way for people with boatloads of money to get an E-type and be able to drive it pretty much all the time. It’s an outfit in Britishland called Eagle Great Britain, and they rebuild E-types using all the modern techniques and using modern materials which will eliminate the Jag’s problems. If you’re in a hurry, you can get one of their fully-reconditioned E-types and drive it off the lot. If you can’t find one you like (and unfortunately, this will cost you some time), they will hand-build your E-type to the original (or your own custom) specs. Here’s an example:

Suffice it to say that none other than Jeremy Clarkson said that driving this particular E-type was one of the greatest driving experiences he’d ever had — and he’s had a lot.

I’m not to going to tell you the price, because you have enough. (BIG lottery win, remember?)

Just remember, this is all about buying time (which makes one happy, according to the study above) and I would suggest that time spent driving this piece of automotive beauty would be more exciting (and probably less expensive, ask Charles Saatchi) than driving Nigella Lawson. And that’s a hell of a thing for me to say.

Buying happiness just means knowing where to shop. And if you’ve just won a big lottery prize and owning an E-type is your dream, I’ve just told you where to shop for one.

You’re welcome.

18 comments

    1. Which mark? I’ll confess a lust for a Mk XIV….although after a flight in a P-51, I suspect I’d come away dissatisfied. With either, the Mustang being a bit of a pig to handle.

  1. Hitting the nail on the head real hard. Yep, in the early 1980’s I bought the car of my dreams, 69 E-Jag because my wife wanted a sports car and I told her we would get a real one. Big mistake, first of all she would forget to put the choke back in when she started it and it would be shooting stuff out the back end with ruined spark plugs. Maybe the plugs were messed up because hard braking, which had a vacuum assist or something, would pull brake fluid into the exhaust and make a white cloud of smoke coming out the back end.

    Electrical was always fun and that wonderful panel of switches had little screw knobs on each side so you could drop it open going down the road and put a paper clip across the windshield washer switch on the inside to hot wire it. (being careful to not touch the wire itself. However on a cloudy day with the temp between 70-75 F, the humidity somewhere in the mid 70’s it was a great and glorious ride and a person had to be careful when going about twice the 55 mph speed limit of the time and not get a ticket.

    One of the most exciting experiences when vapor starting coming from the engine while I was in traffic at a stop sign. When the light finally changed I went on through, pulled over expecting to see a split radiator hose and I was surprised to see the natural rubber tube leading from the fuel pump to the carburetors had split, spraying gasoline all over the engine which was not a good thing.

    That car was relegated to a garage pet for a few years and then passed on to the next nice guy who wanted a slick car for his wife. On real nice evenings in the spring time of the year I kind of wish I had it now and then the reality of both by ex-wife who I bought the car for and the E-type comes back. They were both, classy, good looking, a whole lot of fun when things were going right and without warning from time to time they wanted to kill me.

    Twenty five years into my current marriage with a nice looking, happy wife who drives her Toyota 4-Runner while I drive my Ford F-150 pickup life is much more predictable and pleasant. Wish I could afford one of those reworked E-types today because they look like a fantastic way to spend a lot of money and make a dream come true once more. Thanks Kim for the E-type update.

  2. I’ve never understood the fascination with the E– and yes, I’ve driven and built many of them. It’s a slower, worse handling Shelby Cobra– which in itself is a hilariously terrible thing to drive (though in a good way). Enzo thought it was pretty? For the time, sure, but then he also thought the Mondial was pretty and disc brakes were the work of the devil.

    As an investment, a clean E isn’t a bad idea, but then you’re sticking it in a nitrogen bubble somewhere for a few decades, and if you’re not going to actually drive it, there are better investment instruments. As a car? It’s just not worth the ~90-100k a decent coupe will cost you, much less the ~160+ a drophead goes for. And, frankly, if you’re blowing a million bucks on that Eagle: 1) You’re utterly insane, and 2) I can build you one for half that.

  3. I’m not much for sports cars, although I guess with 50 or 60 million in the bank I might get one just because.

    However I’ve got a Australian Spec Toyota HJ60 (right hand drive, diesel) in the driveway that needs a wee bit of TLC.

  4. It’s too easy to survive driving an e-type. I’ve always wanted to build a Lotus 7 from a kit, like Number 6 in The Prisoner.

  5. The sports car bug bit me in 1956. I was active in sports car racing (corner worker, mechanic, owner-driver) through 1978. Of all the cars I saw, the one which impressed me the most was the Ferrari GTO that Moss drove at Daytona in 1962.

    I wandered past a table in the Chevy test lab in 1963. There was a three-liter Ferrari engine fully disassembled. It quickly became obvious why it was so successful in that era. Rotating parts were brutally strong; reciprocating parts were light in weight.

    But in its day, the E-Type was certainly gorgeous. Half the price of a Berlinetta coupe.

    1. I’ve owned my 1980 MGB for three months, no Lucas trouble yet. But, it’s only been three months….

  6. Now if we could only get Factory Five Racing to buy the rights to the shape they could make a good looking kit car on their Mark IV platform.

  7. I do see the point- one thing people with money do is spend money to reduce the amount of time involved in tedious task, so they can go and do stuff they want to do.
    If I hire someone to pull my weeds and cut my grass, then I have more available range time on Saturdays. Owning my own car means I don’t have to fit my life around the public transport schedule, so I can stay at the range as long as I want.
    And when it comes to work, the general consensus is that if you want me to work longer, you’ll have to pay me more money. Because I don’t like missing out on range time.

    Short version- the less tedious stuff you have to do, the more range time you have. And that does make one happy.

  8. To me the biggest benefit of having that much money would be to vastly increase the number of people in my life that I don’t have to pretend to listen to, and the number of people (which would probably be pretty much be the same people) that I could tell to bugger off whenever the whim struck me.

    I don’t tell a lot of them off now primarily because it would be unprofessional and I am not going to cause avoidable problems for my employer as long as I take their dime.

  9. I always loved the E-type, but these days….the Eagle is nice, but I’d be more tempted by a cheaper option. Like a Porsche 911 Cabrio. Or a Jaguar F-type convertible.

  10. This goes back decades, but a doctor friend, of whom I was also a patient, knew that I had worked my way through college spinning wrenches on motorcycles, and inquired as to my carburetor balancing skills. He had procured, brand new, a 12 cylinder E-Type, and the dealership couldn’t adjust them in a manner to keep them balanced. I told him that’s not a worry, no one can adjust them to keep them balanced; it’s British, comes with the territory, and if all that routinely fails is carb balancing, you’re far enough ahead of the game to settle back and enjoy your blessings.

    At his insistence I did give it a try. I did have substantial experience with Brit bikes, including, but not limited to, the early ’70s Nortons with misaligned cylinder bores (although when they came out with the “Isolastic Two-Section Frame For Improved Handling” – we called it the Isospastic – keeping the motorcycle vertical and in one lane when powering through corners took the lead over minor annoyances like aluminum piston chips plugging the oil pump screen), the inability of Triumph to use one fastener type on their early ’70s bikes (metric, SAE, Whitworth, an occasional USS, and Some Random Thread Pitch, all on the same bike, but in different places on each one, was common), the usual oil leaks from vertical split cases, constantly deteriorating rubber tubing, and the Constant Companion, Lucas Electrics.

    A drinking buddy worked at a large Lotus emporium, and after hearing some stories from him I considered myself fortunate (he suckered me into helping me assemble his Super 7 kit; to Phelps (above), have you considered that building a 7 was part of Number 6’s punishment scheme? I would.). It took years, and a great deal of single malt, but I was able to recover from that with only minor psychological damage. Pro tip: Necessary for assembly of a Lotus Super 7, but not included in the kit, are, in descending order: a Bridgeport mill, a lathe with minimum 10-inch swing, a full heli-arc inert gas rig (and someone who is an artist with it), a mile or two of good copper wire in various gauges and American electrical components, a thorough knowledge of British hydraulics (which I discovered was inadequately covered at the Bachelor Degree level in an American Mechanical Engineering program, but is certainly a viable candidate for a Master’s Thesis), more hand tools than are displayed in both the Snap-On and Mac Tool catalogs, several gullible friends, lots of alcohol in various proofs, an extremely patient girlfriend, and more luck than three Triple Crown winners combined. There are Other Necessary Items, but this list will get you started.

    A couple months of a Super 7 kit will have you replacing your dining room with an altar to W. Edwards Deming, Akio Toyoda and Soichiro Honda. How the Brits won, or even wound up on the winning side, in WWII remains a mystery. I’ve never had the experience of working on one of Reginald Mitchell’s beauties, but if it’s a Lotus or E-Type with wings, I’ll support sainthood for the mechs and pilots.

    Oh, the doctor’s 12-cyl E-Type? Between the Bridgeport, the Warner & Swasey, several obscure parts catalogs, a friend who was a prototype machinist for an optical company, and more hours than I care to admit, the linkage was completely redesigned. Massive improvements were achieved, but, as is usual with British vehicles, it was less a “cure” than a “treatment.” I considered extension of the “needs balancing” period from a week or two to 6-8 months a win (my suggestion to yank the 12 and replace it with a large American inline 6 was not approved).

    1. “How the Brits won, or even wound up on the winning side, in WWII remains a mystery.”
      Two words: Lend Lease. The Brits are great ideas people, and have master craftsmen beyond compare. But when they turn things over to Marxist trade unionist, this is what you get. Which is why the British auto industry is German now.

  11. “…Iā€™m not to going to tell you the price…”
    As J.P. Morgan once said at the New York Yacht Show:
    “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.”

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