Where did e-type@jag-lovers come from?

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A brief history

There may be a quiz later!

By George Cohn

For those of you who haven't been with us from the beginning, here's a little history of how this mailing list came about. I apologize for the length but I wanted to tell you a little about myself as well.

I had previously owned a 1964, Series 1 roadster that I bought in June of 1968. I was just a month shy of 22 and it was my very first car! Might as well start at the top I guess. Until then, I had been interested in motorcycles, mostly Hondas. I had the '64 until 1972 when I tired of the maintenance and longed for something new with a warranty. I bought a brand new Datsun 240Z. We'll leave the comparison between the cars for some other time. I finally sold the E-Type for a magnificent $1,500 as I recall!

One day in October of 1995, my wife and I were going shopping when she yelled for me to stop, she wanted to look at a "cute" car. The place we stopped at sold and restored only British cars. The car she wanted to see was an immaculate Bug-Eye Sprite. While she was ahhing and oohing the car, she poked me and said, "What's that car over there with the whole front up?" I looked and saw a beautiful, fully restored Primrose Series 2 roadster. It was love at first sight! I had to go ask about the car.

I asked if it was for sale. "Indeed it was", said the owner of the company, "and only $50,000." My heart skipped several beats and I asked if they didn't have something a bit more affordable, like a project car? As luck would have it, they did have such a car. It was a 1970, Regency Red Series 2 roadster that they had bought from the previous owner after a minor accident. They had been intending to restore it but had postponed the project for nearly five years. It was 95% complete and they even had a new G.W. Bartlett interior for it.

My wife, bless her heart, saw that I was head over heels in love with the car and after several weeks told me to go ahead and buy it or I would never forgive myself for passing it up. Another several weeks of negotiations and the car arrived home on a trailer. It took another trip in her pickup to retrieve the engine and transmission. After taking inventory of the car, several more trips were made to retrieve as much of her as they could find.

Several months earlier, I had discovered the Internet. Funny it took so long, I've been involved in computers since I worked for Control Data Corporation in the early '70's. One of the first things I found was Nick Johannessen's excellent mailing list "Jag-Lovers". I joined and lurked for several months before posting anything. I was ordering parts for the E and reading as much as I could about E-types at the same time. I noticed that there were very few posts about E-Types and those messages that were posted, seemed to "get lost in the bandwidth".

Other people also were noticing the lack of E-Type information as well as the tremendous volume of messages that were being generated each day. Often times you would get two 40K Jag-Lovers digests every day! A tremendous amount of reading and all very interesting but still something was missing There had been some general complaining about the volume with the suggestion that maybe the list should be broken into smaller sub-sections. Usually this was followed by much booing and hissing and comments about how bad it would be to "split the list". Finally it came to a peak around October of 1996.

I quietly made the suggestion that I would be willing to create an E only list if there were 20 or 30 people interested. The next morning my mailbox had over 40 messages in it expressing interest! That day I checked with my Internet Service Provider and on November 7th, 1996 announced the XKE-Lovers mailing list was available for subscribers. Within a week we had about 80 subscribers.

As with any new child, we had a few teething problems at first. Some people still complained about "splitting the list" and wanted to put it back together. Other people felt that they needed to cross-post to both lists to get maximum coverage. But time moves quickly on the internet and by January things had settled down to a comfortable pace. Then disaster struck! AOL had a couple of outages, ATT also took a hit and my ISP's mail server crashed! With all of those messages bouncing out there, the hard drive filled up then ate the FAT table. They immediately suspended mailing lists and attempted to fix the e-mail problem.

Without letting any of us know, they decided that mailing lists were responsible for the majority of the mail problems and made provisions to move the mailing lists to their own server. Messages sent to the list were returned with a message that "The mail server is down, try again later". Repeated attempts to contact customer support were met with silence. Finally, after about a week, they had the new list server up and mail started trickling in again.

But things were not altogether well yet. We no longer had a working digest. This was the most frustrating two weeks I ever spent. Half of our subscribers were sending me messages asking where we had went and I in turn was bugging my ISP to fix the thing. Then the ISP really messed up and created a mailing list for mailing list owners. They had intended it to be a way for them to communicate messages to the mailing list owners. It took the list owners about one day to figure out that they could post messages to all of the other list owners and compare notes. The ISP is probably lucky that the 60 or so of us who run mailing lists didn't cause a riot! Eventually, they got most of the bugs out and things were reasonably back in order.

We are now about 9 months old (July 1997) and it's time to take a look at where we are. We just passed 480 subscribers. We're seeing 15 to 30 messages per day. We still have occasional technical glitches, but this is the new frontier! There have been no serious flame-fests and everybody's still speaking to each other! We've learned a lot about each other and everyone has a warm sense of humor to go with the technical expertise. I guess it helps having a sense of humor if you own a Jag! We're picking up two or three new subscribers every day. Someone even made the comment a while back, "How did we ever restore these cars without the internet?" The technical tips and restoration details are invaluable.

Oh, a couple of other events, there have been two additional spin-offs from the original Jag-Lovers mailing list. At about the same time XKE-Lovers was created, Dick White created XK-Lovers for owners of XK-120 through D cars. Just recently Per Stenius created XJ-Lovers for owners of the XJ Salons. And I believe there is even a German language spin off of XKE-Lovers! We'll see what the rest of the year brings!

BULLETIN

As of May 15, 1997 we have joined in a new venture with www.jag-lovers.org and added our mailing list to a group of other specialty lists. The name of the list has changed a bit. We now call it e-type@jag-lovers.org but it's still the same group of enthusiastic e-type owners and admirers. We must be doing something right as the list keeps growing every day. I have also added this new web site where we can grow and expand and add features to support the mailing list. Stay Tuned!

If you would like to be a contributor to the e-type list, I am always looking for team members to compile "Frequently Asked Questions" or other topics. All that is required is that you collect all of the messages on a particular subject that interests you and send them to me as one e-mail. I can then make a web page out of them giving you full credit of course! Or, you can write a definitive post on any subject having to do with restoration or maintenance. I am particularly interested in painting and body work posts.

Dec. 28, 2001

We are now over 5 years old! May the next year be as enjoyable and informative!

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