2014 Jaguar XJR - First Drive - August 2013 (closed course)Enlarge Photo
If you'd returned to your Jaguar thirty years ago to find it had melted, your first thought would probably turn to the car's electrical system. Jaguars these days are a lot more reliable though, so the man who returned to find bits of his Jaguar XJ melting in a parking space in London might have been a little more confused--and it was a nearby building to blame.
According to the BBC, the glass skyscraper in London's Fenchurch Street is nicknamed the "Walkie Talkie" due to its shape. It's currently under construction, but it seems the building's concave and somewhat reflective glass sides have an unpleasant side-effect, focusing the sun onto the street below. That's not just inconvenient for anyone whose car is parked below, but potentially dangerous to pedestrians in the street, too.
The Jaguar XJ's owner, Martin Lindsay, returned to the car to find a photographer taking pictures of it--and discovered the damage when the photographer pointed out why he was taking photos. The focused sun beams had melted the plastic panel between the rear doors and rear screen, as well as a badge on the car and its door mirror housing.
Other news outlets report that several plastic interior and exterior panels in a nearby van had also melted. Passers-by have reported having to shield their eyes as they walk along the street. It's certainly more heat than any car is designed to cope with--even those tested in the oppressive heat of a Middle Eastern summer.
It isn't the first time concentrated solar light has caused problems for drivers--last year, several residents near a condo covered in solar-reflecting windows found parts of their cars had melted.
While the problem is investigated, the City of London has suspended three parking bays in the area. The building's developers have agreed to pay repair costs for Mr Lindsay's Jaguar.