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Bennett Jaguar/Land Rover VIP Opening
April 5, 2006

The British Car Club of the Lehigh Valley behaved itself as well as it could when members attended the VIP Grand Opening Preview Celebration of the brand-new Bennett Jaguar/Land Rover showroom on West Tilghman Street in Allentown.

Gerry Kunkle and Mike Micklos wore Jaguar shirts, but the rest of us may have looked a relaxed compared to the rest of the invited guests, most of whom were dressed to the “eights.” (Not quite the “nines.”)

Mouse over photos to pause the slideshow

Photos by Charles de Bourbon/BGA Studios

Nonetheless, the group didn’t hesitate to have a thoroughly good time. We stopped only briefly to admire the shimmering mountain of jumbo shrimp chilling beneath the swan cut out of ice, before diving in and devouring them by the plateful.

Also available for nibbling was a table full of fancy labeled English cheeses. These weren’t the kinds of cheeses most of us ever see: White Stilton with apricot, Wensleydale with cranberries, Heart of England cheddar, for example.

For dessert, there was a table piled with fresh cream puffs and mini-eclairs next to a fountain of chocolate for dipping. Also a wine bar and hosted beverage table that included champagne, beer and soda.

There was sophisticated live music, of course, out in the main showroom, where there was a lot of admiration for the two brand new Jaguars and two new Land Rovers that were on display.

Eventually, though, most of our group migrated to the back of the building, where four of member Arnold Rapoport’s fabulous Jaguar collection were on display: A 1952 XK120 OTS, a 1957 XK140 MC drophead, a 1969 XKE Series II roadster, and a 1974 XJ12L sedan.

Keeping these fine classics company was one of Bennett’s 2006 Jaguar XKR convertibles, not too shabby for a sticker price of $93,495.

The shop itself had most of the group drooling, since the immaculate garage was about twice the size of most of our homes and featured four drive-up lifts and six standard armed lifts, with tools hanging neatly from air compressor lines over each one.

In the showroom itself were permanent displays of historic Jaguar and Land Rover photos, tastefully displayed, of course, and a small assortment of brand-new Jags and Land Rovers.

Should you be fortunate enough to be able to bring a car here for Bennett’s care and feeding, you’ll have plenty to occupy your time while you wait. The waiting room features leather chairs grouped in front of a plasma flat-screen TV, plus an internet station with phone. Also a separate playroom, complete with toys, for children.

As we headed out the door, we were handed a goodie bag that included a commemoraitve desk clock and a brochure for the new model Jaguars, should any of the club decide to trade in their classics.  

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