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- June 2009
A One-Way Ticket from Europe to America: The Story of a ’66 Jaguar
Written By: Stephanie Laska
Photos By: courtesy of Robin Linneman
It’s a rare day when you see a 1966 Jaguar S Type in South Dakota. If you live in Clark, South Dakota – you have a better chance than others have. One of these beautiful classics made its way to South Dakota from England after one South Dakota couple vacationed throughout Europe during the ‘60s.
“My parents originally bought it when they went to England in 1965. They drove the Jaguar all over Europe as they were vacationing,” Robin Linneman said. Robin is the current owner of the ‘66 and resides in Clark, South Dakota.
William “Doc Bill” Huet and his wife, Rachel, loved to travel. They had six children, but when they traveled the world, they decided to go by themselves. After their travels, Doc Bill and Rachel filled the car with souvenirs for their kids and shipped it home to South Dakota. Robin found a receipt with the shipping cost of the car’s one-way ticket to South Dakota. In 1965, it cost $150 dollars to ship the ’66 Jaguar.
Doc Bill, a radiologist, traveled for work to different outreach hospitals, and it’s no surprise he drove the Jaguar.
“I was three when they bought it. The car has been around all my life, it seems. I don’t remember life without it, and as I got older, the car was always with us,” Robin remembered.
Eventually, the car developed an oil leak. At the time, no shop in South Dakota would work on it. The family inquired about the leak at a shop in Minneapolis, but even they wouldn’t take the job. The 1966 Jaguar sat in the garage with the cover on it for the remainder of Robin’s childhood and wasn’t driven for 36 years.
Robin’s sister bought the car from her mother around 18 years ago, and she continued to store the Jaguar for the family.
“Years ago, I told my sister if she wanted to sell it, I would be interested. Finally, she decided to sell the Jaguar to me,” Robin said.
When the vintage car came into Robin’s possession, there was a newspaper in the trunk from September 1965. The front cover sported an article about Marilyn Monroe.
Robin restored the ’66 after her father developed Parkinson’s disease. He developed cataracts and glaucoma, and eventually, became wheelchair-bound and went blind. She wanted him to ride in the Jaguar again.
“I hired Eric Caulfield at The Body Shop in Bradley to restore it. Eric had never done one before, but he was excited to do it. The car even had the original owner’s manual in it,” Robin shared.
Robin involved her father in the restoration. “He wanted to be sure that the car got new tires. It was fun to see him come alive when we would talk about the restorations,” she shared.
The father-daughter duo wanted to restore the car to its original state. The exterior of the car was in good shape, as it sat under a cover for years. The Body Shop buffed out the few imperfections on the exterior. The original leather interior was in good shape, too; the shop used a leather conditioner to clean up the look of the seats, “and it smells exactly how I remember it from when I was a little girl,” Robin said.
Caulfield explained, “Most of the work we did was mechanical. We had to order a lot of the parts from the UK. We rebuilt the brakes, which was a four-wheel disc brake system. Normally, we don’t see this in American-made cars from the ‘60s. The car has an independent suspension system, which is different, too. We gave it a new exhaust system, installed new gas tanks and electric fuel pumps, and put new tires on it.”
This restoration was important to Robin because it was more than just a car, it was a memory for her father. “I wanted to give my dad a final spin in the Jag. It was finished by the summer of 2016, and he actually took two rides in it before he passed away,” Robin said.
William “Doc Bill” Huet passed in March of 2017. The car stands as a tribute to him.
“My dad loved fast cars. He was always on a first name basis with Highway Patrol, which was a running joke with family and friends. He was an amazing driver and had a photographic memory. He could tell where he was because of the pictures in his mind and would tell my mom where to turn, even after he went blind,” she shared.
The Jaguar lives on and reminds Robin of happy memories with her father.