Jaguar World London to Eastbourne Run May 2017

The annual  “Jaguar World” London to Brighton Run was changed this year to a new destination – Eastbourne. Due to various reasons including, so I hear, the increase in fees of 300% by Brighton Council for the privilege of using Maderia Drive in Brighton. The organisers arranged with Eastbourne Council to use Western Lawns  for the event. The road was closed in and around ‘the lawns’ and participants of the run parked up in a great setting looking out to sea. The event started at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

 

 

 

Those of us that started off early to arrive at the college were refused entry to the grounds until 8am. So a number of Jaguars were parked up in the side roads around the college. There were no indications that this would be the case on the communications from Jaguar World. What irritated a number of participants was that at 8am – after hearing the local chimes from the college, access was still not being allowed. It wasn’t until 8.05am and my involvement, that the staff at the college let the Jaguars in. Then we were directed to a parking area around a square in front of the ‘Painted Hall’. You can see some of the cars in the picture on the right. There was more grief when the custodians of the college indicated we were not to drive on the grass or on the pavement area in front of the gravel drive. As you can see again from the picture, there was not a lot of room to park up at the angle they wanted, without doing both, particularly for the long wheel base saloons! The event finally began at 9am but for some, ended up getting into a massive traffic jam on the A2 nr Bexleyheath, following an early morning crash. There were some that took evasive action – including yours truly – and diverted off the A2 and headed for the A20. This year, the Route Book included photos of junctions which was far more easier to follow than written text used in previous years. As they say, ‘a picture can paint a thousand words.’ However, it didn’t help some when they missed out a junction out at Lamberhurst! The run down to Eastbourne was, on the whole, picturesque and relaxing. The weather was kind to us too. The route included a stop off at Raystede Animal Sanctuary, nr Ringmer in East Sussex. They rescue animals including dogs, cats, and small animals and find new homes for them. Following this break we headed for Eastbourne, a further 26.4 miles away. We were met at Western Lawns by Phil Weeden, Managing Director of Jaguar World who introduced the cars and drivers to the crowds. We parked up and immediately started the clean up of the car due to early morning rain on the run to Greenwich.

There were a couple of rare converted Jaguars at ‘the Lawns, with folding roofs, including these two, Vicarage produced convertible Mark II and a Cabriolet International XJ6 above.  Overall, a good day out. Will I do it again next year?  The jury’s out on that one. 

Windsor Jaguar Festival – May 2017

The Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival run by the national Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club was the highlight of the year, or decade? There was an excellent turn out of Jaguars and Daimlers with a beautiful backdrop of the castle.

There was also a good turn out of our club members, some of whom were selected for the parade lap around part of Windsor town and up into the castle grounds. They were paraded in front of local dignitaries, Nigel Thorley, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire and Prince Edward.  960 Jaguars & Daimlers were parked up along the Long Walk, which runs south from Windsor Castle to the 1829 Copper Horse statue of King George III atop Snow Hill some 2.65 miles. A number of Jaguars had come to the event from Europe, including, France, Germany, Holland and Italy. One has to admire some of these foreign drivers having the faith to bring their early 40’s and 50’s cars on such a long journey to the UK. At Frogmore Cricket ground, the area had been reserved for the parading cars.

This area had tight security in place and only 240 selected vehicles were permitted to drive into this area. Once inside, the Metropolitan Police were searching all cars and passengers’ identifications. Quite a number of ‘Bomb’ dogs were deployed to sniff around the cars. Car boots and contents examined, the full works. No one was let into this area without the appropriate security wristband which was issued once drivers entered this area. Once the searches were carried out, the cars were parked up in their appropriate decades starting from an original Austin Swallow, (one of William Lyons first ventures into car production using an Austin 7 base car) to a 2017 XKSS Continuation.  

One of the cars on display at the event, was the Jaguar XJ13. A one off.

On 21 January 1971, the XJ13 was taken to MIRA for filming with Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis at the wheel. Sadly, the car was driven by Dewis at ill-advised speeds on a damaged tyre, against the instructions of Jaguar director ‘Lofty’ England. The resultant crash heavily damaged and nearly destroyed the car (as seen in the picture above left) , although Dewis was unharmed. The wreck of the car was put back into storage. Some years later, Edward Loades spotted the crashed XJ13 in storage at Jaguar and made the offer to ‘Lofty’ England that his company Abbey Panels should rebuild the car. The car was rebuilt, to a specification similar to the original, using some of the body jigs made for its original construction and at a cost of £1,000 to Jaguar. The rebuilt  machine was on display on the Jaguar Classic stand.

The whole event was in support of the Prince Philip Trust Fund and as stated before, Prince Edward was present to support this event on behalf of his father. A cocktail reception was held on Friday evening with well over 400 club members, local dignitaries and sponsors present. This was held in St. Georges Hall within the castle. As many will remember, this building was struck by fire in 1992!  Yes, 25 years ago!! However, it was rebuilt to a very high standard.

The Prince wandered around the hall talking with members and discovered one couple had come from Arizona, although obviously not driven here!  The champagne flowed most of the night and a good time was had by all.

The event was a one-off and unlikely to be held again. It was expensive but the only consolation was that it was going to a good cause. Most that attended, I am sure, enjoyed the experience. 

Going to Gaydon

The British Motor Museum, nee Heritage Motor Centre, sits on the Banbury Road, Gaydon in the heart of Warwickshire’s rolling farmlands. And whilst Gaydon, both the parish and the village, can be described as, well, small, it does boast a pretty impressive neighbour, the former RAF V bomber base RAF Gaydon, now home to the Museum, the JLR Centre and the Aston Martin HQ. It is also the depository for the British Film Institute’s National Archive which houses the flammable silver nitrate film in a series of vaults. Not a lot of people know that.

But it is not the films, Astons or even 138 Squadron’s Vickers Valliants that we have come to see on this fine sunny April morning. It is the Museum’s famous collection of British cars – the world’s largest – and, of course, the Jags. Since we were last here, in 2015, the place has undergone a refurbishment which includes a separate exhibition hall housing many special Jaguars with some from the James Hull collection together with other notable vehicles laid out over two floors. Let’s dive in!

Opened around February 2016, the ground floor of this two-storey building majors on Jaguars from prototypes to the Queen Mum’s Mark VII. A various selection of BL’s past masterpieces occupies the first floor. The place was packed like Chelmsford Car Auctions, so photography proved challenging but sometimes rewarding. We’ll start with a look at some rarely seen prototypes: the first up, and my personal favourite, was the 2001 R–Coupe Concept in metallic green.

A design by Julian Thompson/Matt Beaven/Mark Phillips and Design Di

rector, Ian Callum, the car was completed in six months and unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was the first four-seat Jaguar coupe since the XJ-C of the 70s. Advanced features included 21 inch alloys, pivoting xenon head lights, and LED fog and brake lights. Traditional materials – wood and leather – were used inside, but in a modern style. The dashboard, finished in anodised aluminium and leather with a simple instrument layout together with an electric hand brake and paddle shift gears, gave an elegant modern take on Jaguar’s signature features … and the full-length centre console incorporated a whisky flask. What’s not to like?

 

Alongside sat a brace of open-top sports cars. Separated by a decade, they showcased the way that Jaguar design would be heading. The 1988 XJ 42 Prototype, taking styling cues from the E-Type, looked good but did gain a few pounds over the gestation period and ended up owing more to the XJ-S than to any lean E-Type.

It did receive positive reviews in styling clinics but it was never going to fly, particularly with parent company BL in financial trouble. When Ford bought Jaguar, the XJ 42 was canned in favour of money being spent on improving the dire quality of the products.

The 1998 XK 180 Concept Car reminded me not only of the then current XK8 but also of the more recent Project 7, a car I was lucky enough to drive. Launched on the 50th anniversary of the XK120, this vehicle was fully operational, being largely based on a shortened XKR platform and mechanicals. Keith Helfet wielded the pen and ink ending with a shape a little reminiscent of the Le Mans winning D-Types of the ’50s and E-Types of the next decade whilst all the while showcasing a completely modern take for the new century. A truly compact sports car which paved the way for the F-Type which eventually followed.

It seems that you can never go far without seeing a James Bond car these days, and today was no exception. Sue’s favourite was the XKR used by the chief villain’s henchman in “Die Another Day”. One of eight used for Pierce Brosnan’s swan song Bond caper, it featured a full “weapons system” amongst other attributes including four-wheel drive, essential for those car chases across frozen lakes in Iceland. Four cars were so equipped and I think that this was one of them (?)Wander a little further and you’ll see the last XJS Coupe and Convertible and the Daimler Corsica. A great looking car, built as a non-working show car to celebrate Daimler’s centenary and later brought to life by Dave Mark’s Garage. It features an automatic folding hood and a shortened X300 wheelbase. Sticking with the Daimler theme, I spotted a ’95 Daimler 6 Limousine. This one-off was a stretched version of the long wheelbase model which comes with a further eight inches, something which, I venture, we would all welcome. There was an abundance of luxury goodies inside and the whole car was kept in visual proportion by strategically raising the roof line. Nice to see the two-tone colour scheme too.

Doug says that he has space for only 500 words for this article. Well I’ve blown that, and there’s so much more to see! So, let’s save the rest for another time. I will leave you with a great photo of the 2002 Polished XJR Saloon. This display car was an early pre-production X350, specially finished in polished aluminium to show off its new body material, and was used for launch presentations and motor show displays. I make no excuse for the photo. See you later.

Neil Shanley