veteran at last

Today my Jaguar XJS finally gained veteran status. That means it is now officially recognized by the Swiss authorities as an oldtimer car. This in turn means lower taxes and insurance, but comes with the requirement to not drive more than 3’000km per year. Also the rate of technical examinations changes from 2 to 6 years. To gain that status, a car has to be at least 30 years old, and in very good condition. All parts need to be original, and the vehicle is not allowed to have modifications. At the first attempt after I woke it from the winter sleep, the regular technical check was no problem. But it didn’t get the veteran state, as the examiner found some barely visible traces of rust  in the lower fold of the driver door. So I had this fixed by a plumber. And this time it got the veteran status.

Jaguar hast two main model lines, the saloons and the sports cars. Initially, I only knew about the saloons that mostly older executives drove. I always liked these cars, and imagined I would someday drive one myself, when I’m old and rich. Now, I still don’t consider myself neither old nor rich. But at the end of 2001 I ran into a very beautiful XJ6 series 2 with vinyl roof, that was for sale, and even affordable. Too bad, the rust already won on that car, such that it was not worthwile to restore. But that was enough to infect me with the Jaguar bug. Now that I knew that older Jag’s were affordable, I wanted to have one, and the search began. That’s how I found my 1984 XJS HE V12. I bought it in the summer of 2002 when it had 75’000 km. Because there was a strange noise coming from the gear box during the test drive, I got it a bit cheaper. Later we found out that a missing  rubber holder on the propeller shaft was responsible for the noise. This was easy to fix. In fact, I cannot confirm at all the bad reputation that the Germans like to impose on British cars. The biggest repair I had in the 12 years was refurbishing the power steering, because it leaked oil. And the funniest problem was a fizzly sound from the engine, when I had the car only for a few weeks. I thought some pipe of the exhaust gas recirculation was broken. My brother then found out that one spark plug was loose. There was no noticeable reduction in performance. Well with 11/12 of 294 = 270 hp there was still plenty of power. In contrast, when two spark plugs of our camper failed in south America, 2/4 of 95 = 48 hp, the lack of power was more noticeable.

The guy in the tyre shop told me long ago, that XJS were used for racing. But only after owning the car for almost ten years, I found out that they were actually very successful. While reading the book “TWR and Jaguar’s XJS“, I learned, that some of the XJS’s greatest victories were the 1979 canonball race, the 1984 european touring car championship, the Spa 24 hours race, as well as the 1985 Bathurst 1’000 mile race.

key signing

I have been using gnupg for a couple of years for digitally signing emails and debian packages and occasionally for encrypting files as well for ssh authentication. I wanted to participate in the web of trust for a while. But so far, all key-signing-parties in my region were on dates, that I couldn’t attend. Then I met the organizer of the last key signing party that I could not attend, on the last BitCoin meetup in Zug. Hence, we exchanged Id’s and key signatures, to sign the keys later. He briefly explained the procedure to me. Back at home, I wanted to sign his key, but was presented with an error message indicating that parts of my private key were missing. A quick search revealed that it was because of my setup, where I have the private sub keys on an OpenPGP smartcard, and the private primary key on an air-gapped machine in a secret place, guarded by orcs. Everything else can be signed using the signing subkey on the card, but other keys have to be signed using the primary key. Now, I began to think about moving all keys that I want to sign to that air-gapped machine and back using qr-codes. I didn’t like that Idea, and found a better solution: store the private primary key on a second smart card. Once it’s done, it works very well, I just insert the second smartcard when I want to sign someone’s key. But the procedure to get there is cumbersome to say the least. Luckily there was a concise description of what steps to perform.