Latest News from Paul Skilleter

News/offers from Paul Skilleter and PJ Publishing
September 2013



If you see this in time, meet us at the Beaulieu International Autojumble 7/8 SEPTEMBER – STANDS R358/R357 – Paul Skilleter will be amongst the crew to greet you in Red Field – whatever the weather! We will have our full range of the books we publish, some at special show prices, plus other books such as the XK 120/140 Explored series/Cult Object plus an updated JDHT Factory Original E-type book so this is the chance to save the postage. We will also have other literature and even some Jaguar related autojumble.

2013 – a significant year!

This newsletter is published in a year which in Jaguar terms is significant for a number of reasons – apart from the anniversary of several models (such as the original S-type’s 50th and the XJ Series 2’s 40th ), it’s the fifth of Jaguar being owned by the Tata group. The purchase from Ford and the company’s subsequent impressive progress is covered in a new book which is described later.

This year is also the 25th anniversary of a magazine I am still closely connected with (after I essentially created it!). Starting life in the autumn of 1988 as Jaguar Quarterly, it became Jaguar World and then, on merging with Jaguar Monthly, became the present-day Jaguar World Monthly. Our next issue (October, out September 13th) is a bumper one, and includes a review of the extraordinary events affecting Jaguar which we have covered in that quarter-century – starting when the privatised Jaguar was bought by Ford within a year of our launch and ending with recent news about a Jaguar SUV (C-X17) and a new small saloon.

The same year has also seen some prominent Jaguar figures leave us, most recently John Coombs. He figured so importantly in the Jaguar story that below is a short obituary based on the one I wrote for the October issue of JWM:-

John Coombs February 1st 1922 – August 3rd 2013

The passing in August of John Coombs in August aged 91 means the loss of a key figure in motor racing and Jaguar history. Although he was associated with many other competition cars, including Formula 2 single-seaters and sports-racing machinery, it is the Mark 2s and E-types entered under his name that he was best known for.

A talented driver himself (he began racing in 1949 with a pre-war Aston Martin), it was in 1955 that he first entered a Jaguar under the family firm’s name, Coombs of Guildford, a 2.4 saloon driven by Ron Flockhart. He went on to enter 3.4 saloons and then the new Mark 2 3.8, mostly works-prepared and attracting drivers of the calibre of Roy Salvadori, Graham Hill and Dan Gurney.

Graham Hill became the lead driver for Coombs when the team began entering the Browns Lane prepared E-type in 1961. Jaguar itself had long retired as an entrant and it was John Coombs who  fulfilled the vital role of keeping the Jaguar name at the forefront of saloon and sports car racing in the UK during the 1960s. Indeed, it was Coombs’ persistence that persuaded Jaguar to build the aluminium-bodied ‘lightweight’ E-type, which appeared in 1963 and which featured importantly in the young Jackie Stewart’s early career. The following year, with no Jaguar competitive any more, Coombs turned to entering Graham Hill in Formula 2.

From the 1950s through to the 1970s, John Coombs kept closely in touch with FRW ‘Lofty’ England, service director and some-time Jaguar works team manager. He often arranged some interesting deals with Jaguar, buying to re-sell a number of ex-demonstration and management cars, and even a few prototype Jaguars. But the deal John would most often mention was his purchase of five D-types which the factory couldn’t sell for £6,500… Even allowing for inflation, D-types at £1,300 each was something of a bargain!

During the aftermath of the BL period in the late 1970s, John switched the business from Jaguar to BMW, but then in 1981 retired to live in Monaco. He finally sold up in 1989, saying that he didn’t like being told what to do!

John Coombs is survived his his wife Ellie and a stepson, Jonathan.


NEW! XK 120/140/150 Buyer’s Guide by Nigel Thorley, published by Veloce. This is a highly useful little book which, being A5 size, is easily taken with you when going off to view a possible purchase! Its 64 pages cover a summary of the XK series (120, 140 and 150), and then details what to look for when buying, and advises on values. Nigel is the long-term editor of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club’s monthly magazine Jaguar Enthusiast and has owned countless classic (and modern) Jaguars himself.  Only £12.99 FREE P&P UK! Order from our website HERE

NEW! Jewels in the Crown by Ray Hutton, published by Elliott & Thompson Ltd. This is an entertainingly told account of how in 2008 Tata of India bought Jaguar and Land Rover, and what it did with them afterwards. I found it a fascinating read, as author Ray Hutton, formerly editor in chief of Autocar, has personally interviewed virtually all the leading players in this very real drama (and usefully lists them in the appendix, together with biographical notes).

As the story unfolds, we learn that the purchase was not specifically planned because Tata decided to enter negotiations with Ford only when Jaguar and Land Rover came on the market unexpectedly. They immediately regarded it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Included is much behind-the-scenes details of how various new models evolved (XJ (S-TYPE. X-TYPE, X350, F-TYPE) and how a strategy emerged which has seen JLR contribute 90% of Tata’s profits and which might see Jaguar’s annual production approach the million mark in the future…

This book essentially brings the history of Jaguar up to date, taking the story on from where Andrew Whyte’s ‘History of a Great Car’ book (with its periodic updates from myself and Mike Cotton) left it some years ago. Thoroughly recommended. Hardback, 224 pages, 23x16cm. £19.95 FREE P&P UK! UK! Order from our website HERE

NEW! Due end October 2013. SS & Jaguar  by Allan Crouch, published by Herridge & Sons. Long-awaited, this book covers ‘pushrod’ Jaguars from 1935 to 1951, including the original overhead valve SS Jaguars of 1935, the . SS 100, the all-steel saloons of the late 1930s, the post-war ‘Mk IV’, and the Mark V which was still being sold in the early spring of 1951. Author and Jaguar Heritage volunteer Allan Crouch has spent literally years going through Jaguar’s chassis record books and other archive material to compile a wonderfully detailed account of these cars and their Weslake-modified engines. As with his book on the S.S.1 and 2, much revealing statistical information is included on such as exterior and interior colour schemes, numbers built and original destinations.  Written in collaboration with Jaguar Heritage Trust and the result of years of research, this book is due late October – reserve your copy now (cards will not debited until we dispatch the book to you). £49.95 FREE P&P UK!

NEW! Back in stock! Mike Hawthorn Golden Boy, by Tony Bailey and Paul Skilleter, published by PJ Publishing Ltd. The standard edition of this highly detailed, exhaustive story of Britain’s first World Champion has been out of print for nearly a year, but in an office sort-out we have just discovered half a dozen or so new copies of the updated and augmented version. Those who follow such things may have noticed that since going out of print, copies of Golden Boy have been changing hands on eBay and Amazon at up to £180, but we are offering these few remaining new copies at £110.00 plus £9.50 P&P UK. As these are not listed on the website, if you are interested in purchasing please contact us by e-mail or phone. Note: We still have a small number of the slip-cased leather edition at £150 plus P&P.

UPDATED and back in stock! Factory Original E-type by Anders Clausager.  This well-received book has now been reprinted with what author Anders Clausager tells us is a number of useful changes and updates. Out of stock for a number of months, it is now available from us again, price £30, a saving of £5 over the jacket price. The book covers all three Series of E-type, inside and out,This well-received book has now been reprinted with what author Anders Clausager tells us is a number of useful changes and updates. Out of stock for a number of months, it is now available from us again, price £30, a saving of £5 over the jacket price. The book covers all three Series of E-type, inside and out, together with production changes and other key data; it includes 350 colour photographs. See the web site HERE for full details.


The big news here is that the indefatigable Bernard Viart is well advanced on an XK 150 Explored book! This, he says, will be even more detailed and comprehensive than his XK 120 and XK 140 titles, with 250 all-new drawings already done. Publication is as yet a while off, but we will let you know when we have an estimate date (which will be late next year at the earliest, but will more likely be mid/late 2015). Meanwhile, you may like to e-mail us to express your interest. Please put XK 150 Explored in the subject line.

In this context, XK 120 Explored and XK 140 Explored continue to find favour with XK owners and restorers all over the world. As does Philip Porter’s Original XK (third edition and much expanded). For details of these and many other books, see our website.


Andrew Whyte Lecture
Organiser Bob Beecham has just finalised the programme for this year’s Lecture, which commemorates the life and work of the late Jaguar historian and author, Andrew Whyte.

Date: November 24th 2013
Time:  Doors open 1.00 p.m. for a 2.00 p.m. start.
Venue:Jaguar Factory Theatre, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.
Main Speaker: Sir John Egan, Chief Executive Jaguar Cars 1980 to 1990.
First Speaker: Ian Luckett, Global Product Training Manager at Jaguar Land Rover (Ian also used to handle ‘heritage’ enquiries before present-day Jaguar Heritage Trust was operational).
Second Speakers: Representatives from the Jaguar C-X75 Design Team

Ticket price remains at £15 and the event will be in aid of the NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support plus other nominated charities.  Refreshments will of course be served. Cheques should be made payable to the JDC Area 7 Charity Fund and (for UK applicants) a stamped addressed envelope should be enclosed. Ticket applications to Bob Beecham, 1 Waterfall Cottages, Main Road, Meriden, Coventry, CV7 7NL. Enquiries to 01676 522037 or 07976 152550.

International Jaguar Spares Day
The date for John Salway’s annual gathering of the Jaguar clans at Stoneleigh is Sunday, 13th October. Admission from 10am – 4pm, and tickets (purchased on the day) cost £8 each. Stoneleigh Park is easily accessible from the A46 or A45 (and thus M40, M6 or M1), post code CV8 2LZ. Enquiries, including for booking stall space, from John Salway on 01838 200398, mobile 07733 260726, e-mail

Look out for the Paul Skilleter Books/Jaguar World Monthly stall adjacent to the cafeteria – I look forward to seeing you there!

Dick Skipworth collection for sale!
Just as we were compiling this newsletter, news came from Bonhams that the collection of former Ecurie Ecosse cars (including C- and D-type plus the famous transporter) owned by respected collector Dick Skipworth is to be auctioned in London on December 1st.

It is years since a Jaguar collection of this importance has been sold, the last probably being that of the late Walter Hill in America. It will certainly be a barometer of Jaguar C- and D-type prices, and while we have yet to see Bonhams’ official catalogue estimates, the Skipworth examples will surely be well into the millions.

If you would like to know more about Ecurie Ecosse, its cars and how the transporter came about, visit our website UK! Order from our website HERE for details of our Ecurie Ecosse book. Written by Eric Dymock, it is a comprehensive account of the team, its triumphs, and its demise (though happily the name has been revived and Ecurie Ecosse races today in British GT events and in the European Le Mans series).

Below is some further information on the sale from Bonhams:-

The Bonhams Sale of Important Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia on Sunday 1st December will feature a private single-owner collection of eight Ecurie Ecosse vehicles.

Among highlights of the Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection are two sports-racing Jaguars – a 1953 C-Type and a 1956 D-Type. The Collection also features the iconic Scottish team’s famous double-deck Commer car transporter. The restored transporter – famous to generations as subject of a much-coveted Corgi toy – is capable of carrying three cars (one inside and two on top) together with support crew, and even features an onboard workshop.

A well-known and respected figure in the Collectors’ Motor Car fraternity, Dick Skipworth has – for many years – been a regular competitor in historic races and rallies. He has been virtually lifelong an ardent fan of Ecurie Ecosse.

The Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection comprises:
1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster
Typifying the foundation of Ecurie Ecosse as a Scottish cooperative racing team, this XK120 was campaigned in period by Sir James Scott-Douglas.

1953 Jaguar C-Type
Raced in period for Ecurie Ecosse by the team’s future Le Mans winner Ninian Sanderson, and also by Jock Lawrence, Jimmy Stewart (late brother of Sir Jackie) and Frank Curtis.

1956 Jaguar D-Type
A short-nose ‘D’ without the fin – the most beautiful of all variants – and a debut-race winner for the Scottish team driven by Ron Flockhart.

1959 Tojeiro-Jaguar
This unique Tojeiro-Jaguar is one of the most distinctive of all modern-era Historic sports-racing cars having been campaigned most prominently by Barrie Williams.

1960 Cooper T49 Monaco
Campaigned in period, including Le Mans, by Bruce Halford, Tommy Dickson and – most notably during his meteoric rise to World Champion invincibility – Sir Jackie Stewart.

1961 Austin-Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite
The delightful and distinctive little Coupe, recalling the Scottish team’s 1961 Le Mans foray with drivers Ninian Sanderson and Bill Mackay.

1962 Tojeiro-Buick Coupe
Designer John Tojeiro’s ultimate Le Mans 24-Hour race contender, the subsequently V8-powered rear-engined Coupes proved to be forerunners of the 1963 Lola-Ford Mark VI GT and the Ford GT family.

The 1959 Commer Ecurie Ecosse Transporter
Designed by aeronautical engineer Selby Howgate and immortalized by Corgi’s classic 1:48-scale model – in fully restored running order with its unique bodywork by Alexander’s of Falkirk and Commer TS3 flat-six diesel engine.

James Knight, Bonhams’ Group Motoring Director, said: “we are delighted to have been appointed to handle the sale of this magnificent Collection. It illustrates Dick Skipworth’s dedication towards acquiring a definitive representation of perhaps Britain’s best-loved motor racing team. The wonderful transporter typifies his commitment. It was discovered in need of loving revival and then restored at great expense to become the talisman and centrepiece of the Collection. We will be able to present the Collection, along with other important entries, in our just-completed, state-of-the-art flagship saleroom facilities. December 2013 promises to see another memorable auction at Bonhams.”


Paul Skilleter

Paul Skilleter Books/ PJ Publishing Ltd

Tel: +44(0)1425 612669