Les Hughes (left) pictured with the late Norman Dewis OBE
Les Hughes, a former winner of the Sir William Lyons International Jaguar Award for journalism, is editor of Jaguar Magazine and a sponsor of Xclusively Jaguar.
Despite living and working in Brisbane, Australia, he has enough links in the UK and Europe to make his magazine appealing to all. Les lived and worked in the UK for a number of years during the 1980’s, and met his wife, Bronwen, while he was here.
In this brief biography, Les gives us a glimpse of his life and love of Jaguar cars.
Words and Pictures supplied by Les Hughes
|I bought my first Jaguar (a ‘Mk1) at the age of 18, and joined the Jaguar Car Club of Victoria. Because I was an apprentice Lithographic Artist in the printing industry I became Club magazine editor – and it all started then.|
|As a result, a few years on I decided to write and publish a book on the history of Jaguar in Australia, so combined an Aussie working holiday in the UK with researching for ‘Jaguar Under The Southern Cross’. Australia was the biggest export market for Jaguar then aside from the US so it was an important untold story.
Jaguar Under the Southern Cross is the most comprehensive history and study of the S.S. and Jaguar motor cars in Australia. With only one limited edition of numbered copies being produced, it is one of the hardest books to find on the history of Jaguar!
|Before I left I wrote to Andrew Whyte, who was then PR Manager for Jaguar, and met him in his office at Browns Lane. We got on very well, and I gushed when he handed over all their personal records of C and D-Types which had been in Australia.
Andrew Whyte, pictured left, with one of the XJ40 Press Fleet Cars
|My wife-to-be and I moved from London to Galashiels in the Scottish borders to work in a pub, and as a result got to know Bob Kerr near Glasgow, and we were the first people into the Jim Clark Rooms one year because of people we met in Gala. Graham Gauld and others became friends later as a result, and I didn’t realise that when I worked earlier in the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh Ecurie Ecosse founder David Murray’s accounting business was opposite my hotel bedroom!|
|I went back many times to Browns Lane over the next three years, and without intent, Andrew and I became very good mates. He introduced me to Sir William Lyons, Lofty England, then later to Roger and Penny Woodley, Richard and Carol Hassan, Dick Soans and many more ‘real’ Jaguar people.
This picture of Les at Browns Lane dates from 1978 and the first extended trip he made to the UK to work on his proposed book.
|I started Jaguar Magazine in 1984 and Andrew wrote for us in every edition until he died suddenly in 1988. Roger Woodley took over from Andrew, and I came back to Europe every year that Jaguar raced at Le Mans in the 1980s and ‘90s, so got to meet many ex-Apprentices, plus the likes of Duncan Hamilton, Tony Rolt, Phil Weaver, Walter Hassan, Bob Blake and many more legends who ‘made’ Jaguar.
Number 32, pictured left, is the oldest edition of Jaguar Magazine in my collection. Dated April/May 1990, it had already been running for 6 years!
|It really was Andrew Whyte and Roger Woodley who included me in so many Jaguar things through those years that I became very familiar to many famous Jaguar, Dunlop and other people who made Jaguar legendary.
Pictured left, Les Hughes with Roger and Penny Woodley at Silverstone with D38 BRW, still on the Press Fleet ….. it’s a small world!
|Jaguar Magazine conducted Tours back to the UK and US every 3 years, and again, fortunately, many more doors were opened because of that. We got to the inner sanctums at Abbey Panels when they built the XJ220 and DB7, into the Bloxham JaguarSport assembly plant, Whitley, Browns Lane, Castle Bromwich and the great Briggs Cunningham even met me and a couple of close friends to show us through his fabulous museum.
Pictured here, with Ian Callum to his left
|Jaguar Magazine, which has always been published with the approval and blessing (close assistance initially) of Jaguar Cars, continues to grow and is more exciting now than I could ever have imagined. In fact, I thought we would publish 20 editions and then run out of stories … and as edition 202 is released (pictured left) I am currently putting together edition 203.
Mine really is a deep love for all things Jaguar – plus a lot of luck. But it is a great thing which is still happening without having ever been planned.
We self-published 1300 copies of Jaguar Under The Southern Cross, sold the last copies we had for $10, and now they are $500 plus – so yes – I have made mistakes too!