Quest to Turkey: Part 1


This is a story of 3 parts, with the XJ40 prototype D38BRW at its heart:

 1. Dunkeld

D38BRW pictured third from the left at Dunkeld, Scotland, for the XJ40 30th Anniversary Celebration

Picture courtesy of Neil Fordyce

 Jaguar XJ40 30th Anniversary Celebration, Dunkeld
 2. Quest to Turkey

D38BRW pictured on the right, outside the Turkish Embassy with sister car D44BRW, which has not survived

Picture courtesy of Willie Baker

 D38BRW and D44BRW outside the Turkish Embassy 1987
 3. Reunion

D38BRW as she is today, pictured with her  Quest to Turkey crew from 1987 (l-r) Peter Halls, Mick Chew and Willie Baker

Picture courtesy of David Marks

 D38BRW reunited with her 1987 Quest to Turkey crew



Our story begins with the 30th anniversary of the XJ40 in August 2016, when a group of enthusiasts got together at Dunkeld in Scotland.

The celebration at Dunkeld was legendary, but as with any successful event a lot of preparation went on behind the scenes beforehand. At that time a group of XJ40 enthusiasts formed new friendships and reinforced existing ones.

Howard Hunt was re-aquainted with D38 BRW, the only surviving  Jaguar Press Fleet XJ40 to have been at the Dunkeld launch in 1986, a car he probably thought he would never see again once it had left the Jaguar Press Fleet in 1990.

Now owned by Jaguar Specialist, David Marks, we touched on the history of D38 BRW and its involvement in the Quest to Turkey in our feature, entitled XJ40 Prototype Survivor published in Xclusively Jaguar News – November 2016. We’ve learnt a lot more since that feature was written, one small point you may notice is that the Quest to Turkey was then referred to as the Dash to Turkey.

David Marks’ enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge on the history of his car spurred Howard on to go back through his archives and find more information on D38 than we ever dreamed we would have!

My part in all of this was being able to put all the new information onto my website and into my newsletter, in order to share it with other enthusiasts and always hoping (but not believing) that it may lead to lost links being found in the cars past.

Quite incredibly, with the help of friends such as John Lawler and Paul Keating, David, Rob and I were able to put together a complete list of XJ40’s that were used at the launch in 1986.

Howard Hunt then threw in the trump card ……… the story of the Dash to Turkey, a summary of which I reported on in XJ40 Prototype Survivor which, as it transpires, only touches the surfaces, as we now have the full story, to follow in due course, in the words of those who were there!

Howard was able to supply details and pictures to support his story, and suddenly, D38 was no longer a tired press car that had done its duty and been shipped off to Silverstone to be resprayed and used as the medical car – D38 had been on an adventure the like of which few of us would have experienced AND in doing so had raised much needed funds for an international disaster – the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise in March 1987. In writing my report on D38 and D44’s involvement in raising money for the Zeebrugge disaster I obviously wanted to do some research on the internet to verify my facts, find more information etc, but no mention is made anywhere of Jaguar’s support for this fund raising project in aid of the victims of the Zeebrugge disaster.

Then, 6 months after publishing my account of the 30th Anniversary of the Launch of the XJ40 at Dunkeld I received the following email:


21st February 2017

Hi there,

I’ve just found the article as above (XJ40 Prototype Survivor). I was one of the police officers who organised and took part in the quest to Turkey!!

Although I am out of the UK at the moment I return in a few weeks time and as this year is the 30th anniversary of our quest I would very much like to get in touch with you and those behind the article.

 I, and my colleagues have many other photos and stories of the adventure!!!


Best wishes,

                  Willie Baker


At that moment I couldn’t believe what I was reading ….

Further conversations between myself and Willie confirmed that my account of The Dash to Turkey is the only mention this fund raising effort receives on the internet and as Willie and his colleagues had wanted to do something to acknowledge the anniversary of the disaster, he had contacted me.

In a state of shock I then rushed off to tell Rob my news and then emailed David, Howard and Ann – what a result !!!

Being a group of very busy people, it took us 7 months to find a compatible date on which to meet up, but it was well worth waiting for and we had the most fabulous day, one which I don’t think any one of us will forget, and which I will report on in future issues of Xclusively Jaguar News.


The story continues with Quest to Turkey: Part 2a


Related features

XJ40 @ 30

Mission Accomplished – Sir John Egan and Jim Randle receive their copies of the XJ40 30th Anniversary book

XJ40 30th Anniversary Commemorative Book

XJ40 Prototype Survivor – the life and history of D38 BRW

Dunkeld – a complete resource on the XJ40 30th Anniversary Celebration with links to all other related features, photos, contacts, participants and cars etc on other websites, magazines etc etc

November 2016 News Round Up

October 2016 News Round Up

Jaguar Heritage News: Aug/Sept 2016

Brucie’s Diary: September 2016

Successful Coventry Transport Museum XJ40 Gathering



The November 2016 issue of Jaguar World Monthly and the October 2016 issue of Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club magazine both have reports on the XJ40 30th Anniversary held at Dunkeld in August 2016