Jim Suttle has impressed a 6-year-old. It wasn’t his years in public office that impressed him, nor was it his position as former VP at the nation’s 17th largest architecture and engineering firm. It was his vehicle, a Jaguar F-Type S—impossible to miss with the plates reading “Jagster” and the Caldera red color telling viewers this car is smoking-hot.
“I had stopped in Waverly, I believe, for lunch at a McDonald’s,” Suttle said. “I walked in and there was a father with a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. The 6-year-old was looking at the car. I told him to ask his dad if he could sit in my car. The dad took photos as the kids sat in the vehicle. It just made their day. It put big smiles on all three faces, four including mine.”
Lunch at McDonald’s, coffee with friends, board meetings—Suttle has driven his British luxury car everywhere.
“Why buy a car and not drive it?” Suttle said. “I’ve put 41,000 miles on it in 3.5 years.”
Suttle has owned several special cars over the years. A picture of his first car, a gold 1957 Studebaker Hawk, hangs proudly in the two-car garage attached to his home. His previous car was a 2002 red Thunderbird named the “Birdster.” This car, however, is different for a variety of reasons.
“I’d been eyeing this Jag for about a year and a half,” Suttle said. “I went to the dealer, and they didn’t have one in stock. But, I was getting ready to go visit my daughter in Minneapolis.”
The Jaguar dealer in Minneapolis had the vehicle on the lot, so Suttle test-drove the vehicle there and considered his options. The V-8 engine was too powerful for his tastes. He wanted an automatic, not a manual, transmission. As he picked his perfect car, the manufacturer rolled into a new year. Thus his 2016 Jaguar became a 2017. It was delivered on May 7. This is the first British car Suttle has owned.
“I am really impressed at how quickly I can maneuver,” Suttle said. “In Kansas City, I was on the highway and a [pickup] truck was backing up. I thought ‘what the heck is he doing?’ A toolbox had fallen off of his truck. I was able to maneuver right around it, and him.”
The 380-hp vehicle comes with features such as Bluetooth wireless technology, remote keyless entry, touch screen monitor, a navigation system, and push-button engine start. The engineer in Suttle appreciates all the modernity, but his requests for the car were relatively simple.
“I wanted a top-of-the-line sound system, because I like music,” Suttle said. “I wanted all-wheel drive, and I wanted leather seats.”
The overall design was a factor. The car came loaded with features that he said took him about a year to figure all out. The seats are heated and come with adjustable lumbar support, upper back support, even adjustable side wings. The volume of the muffler can be adjusted. The spoiler deploys at 60 mph.
The battery and the windshield washer fluid reservoir are located in the trunk. In early winter, Suttle experienced an alternator problem, which meant the mechanics needed to work with the alternator in the front of the car and the battery in the back of the car for everything to work correctly.
Suttle’s wife, Deb, isn’t so fond of riding in the car, but his 22-year-old granddaughter, Savannah French, has taken it for a drive. In fact, there are three buttons for the passenger seat that can be programmed to adjust to three people’s preferences. Button no. 1 is for Suttle’s granddaughter, no. 2 is for his daughter, and no. 3? That’s for Nougat, the Suttles’ schnauzer-poodle-cocker spaniel mix.
It appears children, and dogs, like Jaguars.
This article was printed in the February/March 2020 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.