NEC 2019 Report

It was an interesting week and I think David Marks summed it up after the show, to quote … “for every yin there has to be a yang!”


The Yin and Yang of the NEC Classic Motor Show 2019

We (Rob Jenner and Letitia Mace) were invited by the JEC to help on the stand at the NEC, which has become customary over the past few years, but to add to the excitement, this year we were also invited by the Bitter Owners Club to put our Bitter SC Coupe on their stand.

This meant a lot of planning, plus getting two cars to Birmingham from Edinburgh – one of them a 1985 Bitter with a failing 3 speed automatic gearbox! We left on Wednesday evening in order to be at the NEC for lunchtime on the Thursday. The weather was horrendous, and listening to the ongoing news we realised we’d got off lightly compared to others, but our experience of the major motorways in torrential rain, heavy traffic, poor visibility, standing water and at least one very precious car, was traumatic and exhausting.


Pictures by Letitia Mace and Rob Jenner unless stated otherwise



The Yin and Yang of setting up for the NEC Classic Motor Show 2019

We arrived safely, to find XJ13, the prototype D-type OVC501 (XKC 401), C-type NDU289 (XKC 045) and 77RW (the car Norman Dewis drove from Coventry to Geneva overnight), kindly provided by Jaguar Heritage, all ready to go onto the JEC stand. The theme was ‘A Tribute to Norman Dewis’.

We were first to arrive on the Bitter stand so I set to work cleaning ‘Bubbles’ so that she would look her best. Apparently, she has graced the stand at the NEC several times before.


Setting up the JEC stand took longer than usual this year, and as the JEC crew had sadly been split up and put in separate hotels, Rob and I found ourselves eating alone that evening, instead of enjoying the usual pre-event dinner and drinks to set us up in the right spirit for what is a long and arduous weekend.


Top left: Jaguar Heritage Volunteer, Graham Tarver, puts XJ13 into position.

Top right: Meanwhile, Rob Jenner puts 77RW into position.

2nd row: Letitia Mace ensures that XJ13 is spotlessly clean.

Left: XJ13 all ready for the show!

Row below: Letitia Mace cleaning the JEC F-type raffle  car and her Bitter SC Coupe ready for the show.




The Yin and Yang of Day 1 of the NEC Classic Motor Show 2019

On Friday, Rob was invited to join Mike Brewer and Wayne Scott in a 20 minute on-stage tribute to Norman Dewis.
The JEC were nominated for “Best contribution to Charity” in the annual Classic Car Awards, so we were invited to the awards dinner, which is an honour and always a very good evening.


This time, though, the JEC did not win!




The Yin and Yang of Day 2 of the NEC Classic Motor Show 2019

We had an excellent time at the event, catching up with lots of friends in the Jaguar, Maserati, Triumph and general car fraternity and making new friends in the Bitter Club!


An interesting selection of cars graced the Jaguar Drivers Club stand, including Kevin Bishop’s X350, Rob Sadler’s Mark 10 and Steve Coogan’s early Series 1 E-type.

Pictures by JDC magazine editor, Gaynor Cauter

While the judges decided on the winners of the annual Jaguar Drivers Club Champion of Champions Concours d’Elegance, Gaynor Cauter had been asked to bake a Jaguar cake for another competition!

Picture by Roger Kemp

Catching up with Graham and Janice Watkins from GB Classic Trim

Recent projects for GB Classic Trim include a new hood for Philip Porter’s E-type 848CRY (the car that starred in The Italian Job) – and a new headlining in Alcantara for Brucie

SNG Barratt are always at the NEC and it was good to spend some time catching up with Julian Barratt and members of the SNG Barratt team, some of whom have been with the company for a number of years.
Last summer, SNG Barratt loaned us their E-type, 50EE, for a week away in Wales, which I have yet to report on in Xclusively Jaguar News. At the NEC, 50EE appeared on the Lucas stand as part of their display, so I went and said hello to her!
Specialised Covers come up with some clever ideas, including this car cover, for those who are reluctant to cover their car because they enjoy looking at it and those who cannot decide what colour cover to have!
Specialised Covers also provided the cover for this “Guess the Car” competition at the NEC. Lancaster Insurance offered the chance to win the car under the cover if you could correctly guess the make and model!
During one of my brief circuits of the NEC Classic Car Show I spotted a car I recognised, having recently published a report on the car, submitted by its current owner, when it took part in the Brighton Speed Trials. EOL584C is an E-type with an interesting history, and connections to Sir Stirling Moss and Win Percy.
Tom Clarke from Meguiar’s proudly points out a very well-known multi Concours d’Elegance winning 1933 SS1 Coupe on the Meguiar’s stand at the NEC
This Daimler, which has been included in Xclusively Jaguar News in the past, was displayed on the Daimler Lanchester Owners Club stand and will be the subject of a separate feature at a later date.
Longstone Classic Tyres – another Xclusively Jaguar sponsor – were also at the NEC
The NEC is always a great place to meet up with good friends from far flung corners of the UK and abroad!

We were able to a have a brief catch up with Maserati Club UK member and NEC display controller, Edwin Faulkner, on the Maserati Club UK stand

The NEC is also a great place to meet new people or put faces to names.

We were very fortunate to have former Jaguar XJ13 Project Leader and retired Lotus CEO, Mike Kimberley, visit the JEC stand and spend some time chatting with us. had their first stand at the NEC. Well done to all those who supported this, and let’s hope it is the first of many regular appearances for at this event!



Jaguar Land Rover Classic had on display the newly launched Jaguar E-type toolkit, researched, designed and put into production by my eldest daughter, Esta-jane Middling. Despite the doubters, I am very pleased to say that by the end of the show they had sold their entire stock of 45 toolkits and Esta-jane is now in the process of re-ordering! Well done Esta-jane – I am very proud of you!



I was on a high when Rob and I went back to our hotel, looking forward to changing ready for dinner with all of our JEC colleagues, only to find that we couldn’t get into our hotel room as the door lock had failed, so we had to go to dinner without the chance to freshen up and in what we had worn that day, while the hotel sorted the lock out. When you are tired, and on a very tight schedule, it seems like a huge let down after such an amazing day.



The final Yin and Yang of the NEC Classic Motor Show

Sunday was another brilliant day – On behalf of the JEC I had invited Michael Quinn to draw the winning ticket for the JEC raffle car. Rob and I had therefore been charged with looking after Michael during the day; he was intrigued by our Bitter and thrilled to be invited to sit in the car!

The draw for the JEC raffle car went well, Michael drew ticket number 21773, the winner was informed and everyone was very happy.

The show ended soon after and breakdown commenced, marking the end of yet another Classic Motor Show at the NEC. Rob and I then collected the Bitter from the stand and the XJ from the hotel and drove in convoy to Nottingham, where we broke our journey and enjoyed dinner with David Marks and his partner, Sue, before retiring to our hotel.



On Monday morning, the plan was simple. Take the Bitter to David Marks Garage, transfer the excess luggage from the Bitter to the X351, leave the Bitter with David to overhaul the gearbox, and drive home in the X351, collecting the Bitter at a later date. All went well and we left the garage before 11am for the long journey back to Edinburgh. We stopped just down the road from David’s garage to re-fuel the XJ and on re-starting the “Charging System Fault”  warning light flagged up a problem! Knowing these cars very well, Rob said we needed to head straight back to the garage, and we might not even make it – the car would shut down as soon as it had drained its battery, which would not be very long!
Fortunately, we did make it back to the garage, but before David had even finished interrogating the car to establish the exact fault, the car shut down completely. We were very lucky as the car gave us a warning and we were so close to a safe refuge!

I was devastated – my Yorkie bars were locked in the glovebox!


After some confusion with the AA, we eventually had the X351 recovered to MGA Jaguar Specialists in Derby because David is exceedingly busy at the current time and we fully understood and supported his reluctance to commit to devoting time to a modern X351 at the expense of his classic Jaguar customers.


We returned home in a hired car – a double irony, an Insignia, but not of the Jaguar variety, and an Opel, but not of the Bitter variety!

David Marks Garages

GB Classic Trim

Jaguar Drivers Club

Longstone Classic Tyres


SNG Barratt

Specialised Covers