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.