Brucie’s Diary: February 2015

Current mileage: 163,924

The Oil Can Cafe

At the end of last year, while Brucie was safely stored away at XJK Independant Jaguar Specialist and snow was on the ground, we reverted to the sure-footed AWD X-type estate, ideal for carrying the ‘snow kit’ and while others faltered we made it all the way to Holmfirth in Yorkshire and stopped off for lunch at The Oil Can Cafe.


Typically, Rob Jenner found 2 damsels in distress on the way, and while he, with shovel in hand, went off to help them out of trouble I took advantage of some interesting photo opportunities!


Our hero takes charge of the stranded car !!


If you are a petrolhead and you have not been to The Oil Can Cafe, put it on your list of places to go – you eat amidst cars and automobilia, and there is lots of retro clothing for sale, ideal for Goodwood Revival !!


Lunch amidst exotic cars and automobilia at the The Oil Can Cafe



Fife and Tayside JEC Region Christmas Dinner

Four days after returning from our epic trip to Cornwall, as reported in Brucie’s Diary – January 2015, Fife and Tayside JEC Region invited us to their Christmas Dinner, traditionally held in this, the quiet time of the year, at the George Hotel in Perth. The hospitality and fare was every bit as good as last year, and was once more followed by an after dinner talk by Rob Jenner, this time on the joys and trials of multiple Jaguar ownership!


mar15_brucie5_666 18-01-15On the way home from Perth we stopped at the Forth Bridge to admire the diversity of British engineering – the Jaguar X350 XJR demonstrating modern engineering genius sits, dwarfed, beneath the Forth Bridge, a celebrated icon of Victorian engineering. Both complex feats of engineering in their own right and part of a heritage we should all be proud of.



X358 Sovereign Diesel LWB Park Brake Fault

Two and a half weeks after leaving the X358 Sovereign Diesel at XJK we were on the train from Berwick to Stoke on Trent to collect it. Stored by XJK after completion of the work, the car was ready for our collection on arrival. There were no problems at all with the gearbox on the 250 mile journey home BUT 10 minutes down the road from XJK the car threw up a park brake fault  light. We switched off to reset the car and it locked itself in park. We called Gavin at XJK for help, who advised us to sit tight, he was on his way. After the phone call Rob tried once more to take the car out of Park and it went straight into gear with no problem, so we cancelled Gavin and went on our way to Scotland. Thereafter, 10 minutes after every re-start the park brake fault light would flag up, and on re-starting the engine the car would refuse to go into gear, righting itself after a few minutes!

We made it home and then with the remote assistance of XJK Rob removed and replaced the park brake switch with a new one, sent up from XJK. He also replaced the cruise control switch below it, as the two are inter-related. Both switches sit one above the other behind the brake pedal and are operated by the depression of the brake pedal. Access is awkward but once gained they are easily changed.

So the Diesel is now fully functional once again.

It’s a great car, with all the luxury you’d expect of an X358 Sovereign LWB and the economy of an X-type so it gets quite a lot of use and even though Rob has an X-type estate we only revert to that for carting car parts or if it snows and we need  4WD !!



Bloodhound Supporters Dinner

If you are not familiar with The Bloodhound Project, it is the brainchild of Richard Noble and BLOODHOUND SSC (Supersonic Car) is a jet and rocket powered car designed to go at 1000 mph and break the speed of sound and several records into the bargain! It weighs 7.5 tonnes and the engines produce over 135,000 horsepower (more than 6 times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together) and is a mix of car and aircraft technology.

On Thursday 12th February Rob Jenner and I were invited along to The Bloodhound Supporters Dinner at Coventry Transport Museum, as the guests of Gary Hall, Chief Executive of Culture Coventry. This select event gave us first access to theCoventry Transport Museum Spirit of Speed Exhibition which celebrates Thrust and Bloodhound before it was opened to the general public the following day. The obvious connection here is that Jaguar have supplied the 550bhp supercharged V8, one of three power units installed in the Bloodhound car.


The scale of the car is immense, as demonstrated by Rob Jenner, and one power unit is supplied by Jaguar!

For me there is another connection with the Bloodhound Project, as my son applied for one of a limited number of placements open to army personnel. Two years ago when he applied, he was unsuccessful but was deemed to be above the standard required and offered the chance to become a Bloodhound Ambassador. In the meantime, other army commitments prevented him from taking the offer up, but I understand that he may be more involved in the near future, and a very worthwhile project it would be to become part of!

The evening began with drinks and canapes and the chance to participate in the Bloodhound SSC simulator which, along with the exhibition, would be open to the public the following day. The exhibition includes the 2 previous record breaking Thrust cars and replica of the Bloodhound SSC. The size of these machines is incredible and we were entertained by a talk later in the evening given by driver of the Bloodhound SSC, Andy Green, a Royal Air Force Fighter Pilot, who is familiar with the forces which both he and the car will have to withstand. Tyres apparently barely make contact with the ground surface and even then friction can potentially cause them to overheat and distort! The facts are mind blowing and the most extreme are the ones that made the greatest impression on me!

Among other guests on Gary Hall’s table were Joe Elliott MBE, whose many ‘hats’ include that of Chairman of Coventry Transport Museum Advisory Board, Director of Culture Coventry and Director of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.


Joe Elliot MBE and Rob Jenner at the Bloodhound Supporters Dinner

David Fairbairn, who we had both met before at the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience Launch Day and is the man responsible for the creation of the 6 new lightweight E-types from the remaining unused chassis numbers dating back to 1966. David researched and persuaded with vigour and enthusiasm to the point where his seniors finally accepted his proposal to see this project through!

And a fine time was had by all ..... from left to right, David Fairbairn ((Jaguar Special Projects), Rob Jenner (Chairman, Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club and our host, Gary Hall (Chief Executive, Culture Coventry).

And a fine time was had by all ….. from left to right, David Fairbairn ((Jaguar Special Projects), Rob Jenner (Chairman, Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and our host, Gary Hall (Chief Executive, Culture Coventry).

Graeme Blakey is the man responsible for all of the partitions, sets and scenery in the Coventry Transport Museum. Several lots were auctioned on the evening to raise funds for the Bloodhound Project. One of the lots was VIP tickets to attend a Bloodhound 200 mph Test day in Newquay, Cornwall which raised £2000 and another was a day at the Bloodhound Technical Centre at Avonmouth, Bristol which raised a further £2000. The third was a large scale model of Bloodhound SSC which Graeme Blakey bid on, and won for £3500. The model was presented to Graeme on the evening by Richard Noble.


Richard Noble (left) presents the model of Bloodhound SSC to auction winner Graeme Blakey

Richard Noble (left) presents the model of Bloodhound SSC to auction winner Graeme Blakey

We enjoyed a wonderful and informative evening with a 3 course meal and wine, at the end of which all guests received a small scale model of the Bloodhound SSC.

Another one of the guests, Ian Howe of The Hive Business Network took the picture below, which incidentally shows myself and Rob Jenner to the bottom right hand side, seated at Gary Hall’s table, listening intently to Andy Green (left) and Richard Noble (centre) as they were interviewed.



Ian commented: ‘What a fantastic event, I’m still buzzing from the inspiring and uplifting atmosphere and enjoyment. This is a truly amazing undertaking!’


X350 XJR Supercharger Coolant Pump

On the way to the Bloodhound Supporters Dinner we called into XJK Independent Jaguar Specialist as Rob’s X350 XJR was displaying an Engine Management Light. This was due to failure of the super charger coolant pump which sits behind the front bumper, tucked in beside the engine coolant radiator, on the off-side. Ian Kelsall at XJK removed the front bumper to gain access, in order to remove the failed coolant pump and drain off residue coolant. He then fitted a replacement supercharger coolant pump, topped up the coolant, re-assembled, checked and tested the car, and we were on our way again – still in plenty of time for the dinner !!

And finally for this month, while Brucie is safely tucked away in the garage, avoiding the worst of the winter weather and looking forward to the first day out in Spring, he is acquiring a following in Australia !!

Dear Letitia,

I first read about Brucie in Jaguar Magazine last year.  I thoroughly enjoyed the article and have been  reading  Xclusively Jaguar since. I live in Brisbane and my link to Brucie is that I have an X300 as well.  It’s a 1996 3.2 and is in almost new condition. (No snow or ice, no salt, no rust.)  I also own an XJ40 which I have had for some years and would not like to part with – I couldn’t choose between the two, so I have an XJ40 and an X300 – best of both worlds!.  They will be part of my kid’s inheritance!  Jaguars are not as popular on Australian roads as the UK and it is quite usual for Jaguar owners to flash their lights at each other.  This is particularly so with the XJ40.  I sometimes have to defend the XJ40 as it has a most unfair reputation.  Mine is an early digital dash model and it has never given any trouble.  The metric wheels were replaced by imperial sized lattice alloys from an XJS which look really good on this car.  I do all the servicing and minor repairs myself, but the bigger jobs have to go to the Jaguar agent.

I am attaching a photo of both cars. They have just been cleaned and polished using Meguiar’s.  And the reasons for being a Jaguar fan?  My wife and I went on our honeymoon in a Series 1 XJ6 and I come from Blackpool.  When I was a kid I cleaned a number of MK II’s for pocket money and you probably don’t know this but Reginald Dixon had a red MkII with chrome wire wheels.  To a young lad it were magic!

Looking forward to the next Brucie diary entry,

Best wishes and thank you

John (Hall)