HERMITAGE — With a smooth acceleration typical for high-performance vehicles, Stuart Steinberg’s Jaguar leapt effortlessly from a near-stop to almost 60 mph, the G-forces pressing driver and passenger alike into the luxury seats.
The temperature is warm and the sun makes the Jaguar XK-R’s red paint job really “pop.” So even though Steinberg keeps his car inside and under cover to protect it from the elements, he doesn’t keep the car just for display.
“When you ride in the sun and you’re having this much fun, and can hear the engine and smell the exhaust, you can’t not drive it,” he said.
Steinberg has been taking his bright red Jaguar throughout Mercer County and beyond since he bought the car in 2010. He’s not a particularly big fan of car shows, but he and his ride can be seen internationally in the pages of magazines devoted to aficionados of cars like his.
Even though he’s never written professionally, Steinberg, a frequent contributor for publications devoted to Jaguar owners, won first-place honors in the 2018 Jaguar Clubs of North America Inc. newsletter awards, in the “Jaguar Journal Submission” category.
The article, “Amish Wisdom,” told the story of Steinberg’s experiences as both a Jaguar owner and resident of a town near an Amish community.
In the article, Steinberg describes showing off his Jaguar to an Amish neighbor named “Zeke.” While the car owner is used to impressing others with the Jaguar, Zeke compares it to his horse and buggy.
For example, the car has a remote control, while Zeke can simply call his horse and buggy.
Over the course of the story, Steinberg doesn’t just learn about Zeke’s lifestyle and sense of fulfillment, but also discovers a sense of humility — with some humor sprinkled throughout, which Steinberg said he uses to keep his stories a little lighthearted.
“I always try to incorporate a little humor in my stories, because with everything that happens in the world, I believe you need to laugh when you can,” he said.
Steinberg has written about a dozen articles, featuring either experiences with his Jaguar or humorous anectdotes. But he didn’t expect to receive an award, just as he didn’t plan on being published in the first place.
His first article, a writeup about the Jaguar he purchased and had restored, featured photographs taken by a friend. He submitted it to Jaguar Journal, assuming it could run somewhere in the magazine. He didn’t expect that his car would be the second North American Jaguar XK-R to be featured on the cover — after only a vehicle owned by Hollywood icon Steve McQueen, published after the actor’s death in 1980.
“We spoke on the phone when I sent it in and I asked ‘will there be something on the front mentioning the car?’ and the editor said ‘Yeah, we’ll have something on the front,’” Steinberg said. “Then later I get the magazine and the car was the whole cover.”
But despite the publications and the recognition Steinberg and his car have received over the years, his home epitomizes the humility featured in his writing.
There are the occasional photographs of his car, such as a framed cover of Jaguar Magazine featuring his XK-R, but the sidewalk to his door is lined with his brother’s pottery, while the interior of his home is decorated in family photographs and souvenirs, such as Native American artifacts, that he has collected during trips across the United States.
And there’s still that Jaguar XK-R, kept under cover next to the sport-utility vehicle that serves as his everyday ride.
The house and the writing also reflect the man, with healthy measures of humility and humor.
“I was trying to back into the garage recently and misjudged the distance to the side of the entryway when I heard this screeching noise along the side of the car,” he said. “That was kind of painful.”
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