XJ40 Prototype Survivor

Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW on the Dash to Turkey charity run September 1987

D38 BRW seen here in September 1987, ready for a very special journey!


Recent research leads us to believe that D38BRW is the only surviving XJ40 Prototype.

Originally an Alpine Green Press Car, D38 BRW was later re-sprayed white and used as a Silverstone Grand Prix medical car with appropriate signage on the bodywork.

In late 1997, Jaguar Specialist David Marks purchased D38 BRW from the JDHT, having initially viewed it in a storage lot at Browns Lane. It was a non-runner and missing a few electrical components. The Silverstone Grand Prix Medical Car signage was removed before delivery to David in Nottingham.

David had intended breaking D38 for spares, as in 1997 used XJ40 parts had a very real value, but instead he decided to get it running and put it on the road. This was achieved by the end of November 1997. The car was then in everyday use until late 2003 by which time it had covered some 50,500 miles.

Despite its known history, David viewed it as nothing more than everyday transport to be used by his then girlfriend, and recalls probably only driving it when it went for an MoT or needed servicing.

In fact, apart from the XJ40 30th Anniversary at Dunkeld in 2016, David thinks that the only time he used D38 for a long distance journey was back in about 1999 when he went to Cornwall for a combined weekend away and to collect a side car made by SS for Tony O’keeffe!

By 2003 D38 was getting into a more parlous state and only just scraped through the 2002 MoT, requiring what was quite a large patch in the left front floor pan.

So, decision time once again and after thinking about it long and hard, for the second time David dismissed the idea of breaking D38 for spares and chose to rebuild it and have it ready for the May 2004 JEC 20th Anniversary at Thoresby Hall.

The whole project was featured in 20 consecutive episodes in the JEC magazine, starting in April 2003.

Members of the JEC can access parts 1 to 9 of this extremely useful resource, which are reproduced in pdf form via the links below. Sadly, the JEC magazine archive only goes upto December 2004, so the later instalments would have to be requested via the JEC office if you do not have JEC magazines going back that far.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

David Marks Prototype XJ40David Marks Ex Press Launch Prototype XJ40, as it is today


Credit MUST be given to Tony O’Keeffe, formerly of JDHT, for facilitating the location and subsequent purchase of many of the parts required for the project; the JEC (and Nigel Thorley in particular) for adding an “authority” to the project with regard to assistance from the JDHT and, of course, Alan Proctor (now retired), who did an astonishing and superb job with the body work.

Without the commitment of the above mentioned, the car would never have been rebuilt and so survived.

David recalls that the initial strip down to being back on the road took only 4 months or so, which he acknowledges just shows how much hard work was put in by everyone including his business partner Bob Middleton and then employee, Richard Harrison.


How and why D38BRW managed to survive, and the fate of the remaining pre-production XJ40’s used at the launch of the new model at Dunkeld 30 years ago has always been a mystery, but the recent anniversary celebration at Dunkeld prompted Howard Hunt (who was involved with the launch and invited to the recent celebration) to write the following account, which does at least shed some light on life after the launch for D38 BRW!


Dash to Turkey by Howard Hunt

Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Warrington Police Training College September 1987


Searching for some information for a proposed coffee table book to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the XJ40 recently celebrated at Dunkeld,  I stumbled on details and photos of an operation I did with D38 BRW and her sister D44 BRW…. D38 is a travelled lady !!!

I recall that I had picked up D38 when she came off the assembly tracks and taken her on her first venture on to the open road for a test session so that she could commence her preparation in the Press Car department for the Press Launch at Dunkeld. We disposed of some of the fleet after the launch and some people have said that D38 was one of them – this confirms she was not, still being a working Press Car late in 1987. No wonder it felt like an old friend when David Marks gave me the privilege of driving the car at Dunkeld. I would have driven the car many times as it was prepared for Press loans during the 14 months after the Dunkeld launch, up till the event referred to below, in September 1987.

The event was called “Dash to Turkey” and was a charity event supported by Jaguar to raise money for dependents of the victims of the Zebrugge ferry disaster. Six police officer instructors from the Warrington Police Training College were to drive the two cars to Istanbul from Warrington in three days. No mean feat today, a  lot more difficult back in those days. The roads at the Greece/Turkey border were not maintained for miles each side of the border due to the two countries involvement in the Cyprus situation.

Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Warrington Police Training College September 1987 They were to deliver English made Turkish Delight to the British Ambassador’s wife in Istanbul and auction off several items, including the British teddy bear seen in the photos. Then to purchase antiques in Istanbul to be auctioned off at a large charity event on their return to the UK.


The cars were given a thorough overhaul, as described below, in preparation for the big drive.

  • New brake pads all round: carefully bedded in, as police drivers in my experience are hard on the brakes!
  • New wheels and tyres: Press Car tyres have a hard life with performance tests and track tests on a regular basis, so new boots were essential
  • A full service: though still not strictly due at the time
  • Add some packers: to bring the car back to nominal riding height, bearing in mind the full load and those roads near the border!
  • An underside nut and bolt torque check along the full length of the car and all the normal turn around Press Car checks to complete the overhaul

I thought on the re-test of doing a short run on the pave at MIRA but you can do more harm than good on pave so I settled for driving some of the roughest roads in Warwickshire.  I took the cars up to Warrington in September, driving D38 myself, accompanied by my Police demonstrator XJ40.

Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Warrington Police Training College September 1987 Most of the photos are at the Police College in Warrington. I am in this one, with Val West from our PR department, who was organising the charity side. (my hair was a wee bit darker then).
Warrington Police Training College September 1987 The impressive line up of trainee bobbies were there to cheer D38 on her way.
Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Warrington Police Training College September 1987 I escorted them out of Warrington in the Police demo car – with permission to have the blue lights on!
Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Browns Lane 1987 D38 parked under Sir John Egan’s office, on her safe return to Brown’s Lane in October 1987
Prototype Jaguar XJ40 and John Egan's Daimler DS420 at Browns Lane 1987  D44 parked next to Sir John Egan’s Daimler DS420, on her safe return to Brown’s Lane in October 1987
Prototype Jaguar XJ40 D38BRW at Browns Lane 1987 Another picture of D44 at Brown’s Lane on her return from Istanbul
Howard Hunt, NUB120 and the 'Dash to Turkey' Police Team The Police Team who drove D38 and D44 in the ‘Dash to Turkey’ pictured with NUB120 and myself


There were photos of D38 BRW at the British Embassy in Istanbul and on some pretty hairy roads in the Balkans but unfortunately I do not have them. Both cars completed the drive without any problems. I was glad about that as quite a few places on the route were hundreds of miles from a Jaguar agent!


We now have to establish how and when D38 became the Silverstone Grand Prix Medical Car!


The XJ40 Press Launch Fleet

Research by David Marks and Rob Jenner, with thanks to John Lawler at Pentland Jaguar

Using sources such as the DVLA “IS MY CAR TAXED” website, coupled with checking VIN data against registration number, this possibly limited and not assured to be accurate process has produced the following results:

The registration number range of the press cars would appear to be D21 – D44 BRW (24 cars in total)

D20 BRW does not exist as a number related to a Jaguar VIN and is not listed on the VIN database as ever having been associated with a Jaguar.

D45 BRW is a number given to a Daimler DS420 Limousine VIN 200876, and several numbers after this are also related to DS 420 and XJ Series 3 V12 cars.

Of the range of VIN’s 21 to 44, only 12 survive as associated with Jaguar vehicles, and only one (D38 BRW) is currently MoT’d and taxed. None of the others are either taxed or tested. In fact, none of the other 11 cars have any recorded MoT history so it would seem that even if tested after the tax ran out, these tests were carried out prior to the computerization of the MoT system in 2007.

Registration numbers D32, D35 and D43 do not exist on the Jaguar VIN database.

D40 BRW is now on a VW Passatt and, by amazing coincidence, may be the car I (David Marks) saw in Cambridge around 18 months ago. I recognised the plate as one of the range, but had no time to photograph it.

D41 and D42 are/were the only two Daimler XJ40’s recorded as being in the XJ40 press launch fleet.

The very first XJ40 VIN was 500001. The press cars all begin 500 and predate the production VIN range running consecutively from 289 to 318, with the exclusion of 292 to 297 inclusive.

All of the press cars (with remaining records) were first registered on 1st August 1986. They were not registered in VIN order, and are listed below in ascending order of registration number, with all available information.

XJ40 Press Launch Workshop at Dunkeld

This picture, supplied by Howard Hunt, clearly shows D21 and D38 in the temporary workshop at Dunkeld in 1986


D21 BRW – VIN 500317 Jaguar XJ6 3.6 – Sovereign Gold

D22 BRW – VIN 500316 Jaguar 3.6  – Jaguar Racing Green (tax due 1st May 1992, no MoT records)

D23 BRW – VIN 500304 Jaguar – Nimbus White

D24 BRW – VIN 500299 Jaguar – Jet Black

D25 BRW – VIN 500313 Jaguar 3.6 – Alpine Green (tax due 1st May 1999, no MoT records)

D26 BRW – VIN 500303 Jaguar XJ6 3.6 Manual – Bordeaux Red.  Tested by Performance Car magazine November 1986 (tax due 1st November 2002, no MoT records)

D27 BRW – VIN 500302 Jaguar XJ6 3.6 Manual – Arctic Blue. Tested by Motor magazine 11 October 1986 (tax due 1st May 2000, no MoT records)

D28 BRW – VIN 500305 Jaguar 2.9 – Satin Beige (tax due 28th April 1988, no MoT records)

D29 BRW – VIN 500312 Jaguar Sovereign – Moorland Green

D30 BRW – VIN 500298 Jaguar 2.9 – Jet Black (tax due 1st October 1992, no MoT records)

D31 BRW – VIN 500290 Jaguar – Arctic Blue

D32 BRW – VIN 500291 – Satin Beige

D33 BRW – VIN 500311 Jaguar 3.6 – Arctic Blue (tax due 1st August 1999, no MoT records)

D34 BRW – VIN 500306 Jaguar Sovereign – Alpine Green. Tested by Daily Express 8 October 1986

D35 BRW – VIN 500307 Jaguar Sovereign – Clipper Blue

D36 BRW – VIN 500318 Jaguar Sovereign 3.6 Auto – Talisman Silver. Tested by Car magazine November 1986. Full cover picture with the accolade ‘Best Saloon Car in the World is British’  – a pristine copy of this magazine was presented to Jim Randle at the Dunkeld 2016 event, by Howard Hunt (XJ40 Launch Co-ordinator, Special Vehicle Preparation, Press Cars).

D37 BRW – VIN 500309 Jaguar 2.9 – Silver Birch (tax due 1st August 1991, no MoT records)

D38 BRW – VIN 500310 Jaguar Sovereign 3.6 Manual  – Alpine Green, Doeskin hide. Subsequently resprayed White and fitted with Lattice alloy wheels. The instrument pack was changed by Jaguar from digital to analogue, and currently reads 105,000 miles. The only known surviving pre-production XJ40. Owned by Jaguar Cars until 1997, and from then to date by David Marks. Used as a Press Car until September 1987 at least, and sometime thereafter it became a Silverstone Grand Prix Medical Car. (Took part in the “Dash to Turkey” with D44 BRW in September 1987)

D39 BRW – VIN 500308 Jaguar 2.9 – Dorchester Grey (tax due 1st August 1990, no MoT records)

D40 BRW – VIN 500315 Jaguar XJ6 2.9 Manual – Bordeaux Red, Cotswold Tweed. Tested by Motor magazine 27 December 1986. This registration has now been issued to a Volkwagen Passatt at time of research.

D41 BRW – VIN 500300 Daimler 3.6 – Sandpiper Brown (tax due 1st August 1999, no MoT records)

D42 BRW – VIN 500314 Daimler – Clipper Blue

D43 BRW – VIN 500289 Jaguar XJ6 2.9 Auto – Talisman Silver. Tested by Motor magazine 11 October 1986.

D44 BRW – VIN 500301 Jaguar XJ6 3.6 Manual – Tungsten Grey, Pennine Tweed (Took part in the “Dash to Turkey” with D38 BRW in September 1987). Jaguar Press car until September 1987 at least. Survived until 2002, meeting its fate in Boston, Lincolnshire, where its owner dismantled it for spares before he realised what he had got! The usual XJ40 corrosion in the sills, floor and pillars had sadly got the better of it! The engine and gearbox were sold on, and may still survive, and the owner remembers offering David Marks some parts when he heard that he was rebuilding D38.

D44 BRW Jaguar XJ40 Prototype

The dealer name on the number plate reads Charles Clark Jaguar


D44’s last owner sent us the picture above and gave us the following information:

“I have tax discs, the last expired May 2002 in Nottingham. On 23rd March 2004 I moved the car to its breaking position, to dismantle it. I had sold the gearbox, clutch etc. I have the letter from the gearbox purchaser and my reply. Never drove it. Bought it, needed too much doing to it, had 4-5 others, so broke it for spares, it was in bits before I knew what I had!”


See also Dunkeld 2016

With many thanks to David Marks, Howard Hunt, John Lawler, Rob Jenner, Paul Skilleter and Naki Kouyioumtzis for providing the information necessary to compile this feature.