Jaguar Heritage News – September 2013

The Jaguar Heritage Archive is a fascinating place and we lift the lid on some of its treasures in this month’s news update.  Although the summer season is now nearing its end, there was still plenty of events activity as well.  Read on for more…

Archive Displays at Heritage Motor Centre
As reported in the last two newsletters, the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon ran a programme of Jaguar themed events through the summer holiday period to celebrate Jaguar’s history, designs and racing pedigree. There were three different themes – “Brand” which ran from July 18 – 28, “Race and Rally” which ran from July 29 – August 18 and finally “Design” which ran from August 19 – September 8.

To support these events, the Jaguar Heritage Archive team (which is based at Gaydon) put together some impressive displays of appropriate artefacts and images that complemented each of the three themes.  The whole Archive team, including the band of loyal volunteers, was involved in selecting and preparing the materials and arranging the displays in the Jaguar gallery area of the Heritage Motor Centre.


The Desmo “Leaping Cat”  was not popular with Sir William Lyons!

For the “Brand” themed period, it was decided to focus on the development of Jaguar’s most famous icon – the leaping cat. The history of this goes back to the 1930s when radiator cap mascots were very popular and came in many shapes and sizes, including race horses, dogs, ice-skaters, and even golf balls! No. 521 in the Desmo Accessory Catalogue, was a leaping cat (often referred to as the ‘Desmo leaper’) and sold for £5 13s 5d; it’s not surprising that many owners of the SS Jaguar model chose to adorn their car with such an apt mascot.

However, William Lyons was not a fan of the Desmo leaper (which he described as looking “like a cat shot off a fence”) and so he commissioned his Advertising Executive Bill Rankin to come up with something better.  Bill enlisted the services of the highly-skilled Frederick Gordon Crosby (the lead illustrator for The Autocar) who produced a design that is still strikingly recognisable.

Originally announced at the end of 1938 in The Autocar, the “Jaguar mascot” was available from SS Car agents, priced 2 guineas. This “Version 1” remained a standard optional extra until Jaguar ceased production of the Mark V saloon in 1951.

The Crosby design has endured with minor variations right through until the present day, where it is still available as an accessory in certain markets.  Over the years, the ‘leaper’ was used to adorn many other items including bookends, ashtrays and tankards – some of which were also put on display.

The Jaguar Leaper Mascot


Race and Rally

For the “Race and Rally” theme, the Archive team assembled a collection of letters, certificates, posters, trophies, technical documents and race wear to trace Jaguar’s involvement in motorsport from the 1940s through to the early 2000s.

These began with memorabilia from Ian Appleyard, winner of the Coupe des Alpes rally in 1948 and the coveted Coupe d’Or in 1952 – awarded for receiving no penalty points in the rally three years running!  The artefacts went on to record key moments from Jaguar’s involvement in the Le Mans 24 hour race in the 1950s which culminated in no less than five victories – two with the C-type and 3 with the D-type.  Amongst these was a copy of the famous telegram sent by the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth in 1953 congratulating the Jaguar team on their victory.

The display continued with artefacts from the 70s and 80s when Jaguar was active in sports car racing with the E-type and then the XJS, and was rounded off with memorabilia from the 80s through to the 00s; these included the programme from the 1988 Le Mans race where Jaguar made a welcome return to the winners’ podium (and again in 1990) as well as the race wear worn by Win Percy as a member of the TWR Jaguar team in the 80s and by Eddie Ervine, one of the Jaguar Formula 1 team drivers from 2000 to 2002.  Interestingly, the race wear from Win Percy was missing the driving boots, allegedly because the heat from the mighty V12 engine of the race cars was so intense that Win’s left boot would burn and crack causing him to throw them away after each race!  (I have spoken to Win, and can confirm that this is true! Letitia Mace.)



The final theme was “Design” where, not surprisingly, the majority of the archive items are sketches or drawings.  However, the Archive does also contain a number of interesting scale models of prototype designs and some were found from the 1970s for a potential replacement for the E-type.

Three plaster models were put on display to show different iterations of this design but, as history shows, these must have lost out to the XJS design in the final analysis!

Also on display was a selection of drawings from the 80s through to the recent past, showing the transition from “hand-drawn” artwork to computer generated images.

Recent Events
The August Bank Holiday weekend saw several classic car events taking place around the country, two of which were supported by Jaguar Heritage.

XJ40 Donington Event – August 23

The prototype XJ40 Coupé and the ‘last of the line’ XJ40 models – an XJ6 4.0 litre

First up was an event dedicated to the XJ40 and its preservation organised by a group of enthusiasts who meet up once a year.  The 2013 gathering was at the Donington Park race circuit where the group were guests of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club racing section.  More than twenty XJ40s covering all years and variants were on display, including a Majestic, two XJRs and a V12 6.0.  The owners and their guests had a guided tour of race control and a brief insight into the racing section of the JEC; members were allowed to get up close and personal with the race cars, even being allowed to try them for size (although this defeated some members!).

The XJ40 enthusiasts were also greeted by two cars from the Jaguar Heritage collection,  the prototype XJ40 V12 Coupé (M690 CRW) and the very last XJ40 built (M94 FVC), ably looked after by Jaguar Heritage volunteer Dave Palmer, who happily chatted away to the other enthusiasts during the day.
Coventry Festival of Motoring – August 23-24

Closer to home was an event that is always one of the biggest in the Jaguar Heritage calendar – the Coventry Festival of Motoring.  For the second year running, this took place in the vast Stoneleigh Showground and attracted a record number of around 25,000 visitors.  The new City Centre route for the Historic Vehicle Run also proved extremely popular, with hundreds coming into Coventry to enjoy the spectacle of 500 historic vehicles passing some of the City’s most iconic landmarks.

Vehicles taking part in the run included a 1963 Jaguar Mk 2 which had been driven all the way from Worsdorf in Germany by owners Harald and Renate Klein to take part in the event, and hundreds of other vehicles brought along by private owners from across the region and beyond.  The oldest vehicle in the parade was a 1902 Wolseley 5hp Tonneau driven by Michael Macnamara from Wolverhampton.

One of the more unusual participants was the newly appointed curate of Holy Trinity Church in Coventry, Rob Budd, driving Jaguar Heritage’s XKR from the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’.  Holy Trinity has been running a series of 10:30am services through the summer on the theme of ‘superheroes’ looking at some little known Bible characters who have really interesting stories.  As the route of the run conveniently went right past Holy Trinity, Rob decided to liven up the service on August 24 by arriving in the bright green XKR dressed to look like superhero 007 himself!  He was accompanied by Amy Vogel – youth and children’s worker at Holy Trinity Church – dressed as Miss Moneypenny.

The Jaguar Heritage team were there in force with an array of vehicles that spanned 100 years of automotive history, ranging from the 1913 Daimler TE30 Cranmore Landualet up to the very latest 2013 F-TYPE V6S model.  In between were many fine examples of both Jaguar and Daimler models including a 1953 XK120, 1955 Daimler Sportsman and the 1992 XJ220.  Thirteen of the cars took part in the historic vehicle run, with most of the drivers and passengers being Jaguar Heritage staff members or volunteers who enjoyed having the rare chance of experiencing the cars for themselves.  Back at the Stoneleigh showground, the cars were lined up alongside a similarly impressive selection from the Coventry Transport Museum’s collection, forming a focal point in the middle of the Car Club area.
Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club Southern Day – September 1

Jaguar Heritage brought along a collection of cars to fit in with the overall theme as well as the familiar merchandise trailer which formed a focal point for visitors and friends of Jaguar Heritage.  The line-up of cars included the 1953 XK120 OTS, 1965 S-type 3.4 litre, 2003 XJR (the first production car) and the latest 2013 F-TYPE V8S kindly loaned by Jaguar’s UK Sales Operations.  JLR had also provided an example of the XJ Sentinel – an armoured version of the XJ that provides blast and ballistic protection up to the European B7 standard.  The weather was kind on the day and the event attracted a very wide range of Jaguars of all types.

JEC Southern Day Report


St James’ Concours – September 5 – 7

Photo courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

For 2013, this prestigious Concours d’Elegance event moved from the grounds of Windsor Castle into central London.   Historic St James’s has predominantly been home to royalty and aristocracy since the mid-17th Century. Today, amongst the many Royal Palaces and fine houses, it is the exclusive address for major corporations, gentlemen’s clubs, tailors, wine merchants and fine art houses, to name but a few.

The Concours was held in an area that encompasses the gardens of Marlborough House, Marlborough Road and St James’s Palace, the official residence of the Sovereign. Marlborough House is a 300 year-old Royal Palace designed by Sir Christopher Wren with a large high-walled garden set to lawn. (Apart from nearby Buckingham Palace, it is one of the largest gardens in Central London.)

Once again it brought together sixty spectacular classic cars from around the world with an exclusive Preview Day on the Thursday and public days on Friday and Saturday.  Jaguar Heritage were invited to display the unique XJ13 from 1966 which took pride of place in a line-up of other fine historic sports cars; flanking it to the left were two 1955 cars, a D-type and famous Maserati 300S (that won races at the hands of both Moss and Fangio) while to the right were the 1970 Le Mans winning Porsche 917 and a 1998 McLaren F1 GTR.
Jaguars at the Castle – September 8

Closer to home once again was an annual event jointly organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and the XJS Club. The event attracted a very good turnout of Jaguars of all types and ages, and the drivers and passengers were able to enjoy full access to the Warwick Castle grounds and its many attractions including the Flight of the Eagles, the Bowman Show and the firing of the Trebuchet.
Jaguar Heritage brought along three vehicles from its collection – the 1963 Series 1 E-type Coupé (celebrating its 50th birthday), the 1987 XJS V12 Cabriolet formerly used by Princess Diana and the 1992 XJ220.

The cars attracted a lot of attention and JH Technician Richard Mason and volunteer Chris Bennett were kept busy talking to the many visitors and enthusiasts.
Kop Hill Climb – September 21-22

A first for Jaguar Heritage was attendance at this year’s Kop Hill Climb – an annual event for petrol heads and families, held in the foothills of the Chilterns near Princes Risborough.

Kop Hill is one of the oldest Hill Climb venues in England and the first recorded races up this fairly straight, loose surface 1 in 5 gradient, were held in 1910. It soon became a major event on the motor sports car and motorcycle calendar and many famous drivers and riders ran up the hill, such as Malcolm Campbell in his 12hp Talbot ‘Blue Bird’ and Henry Segrave in a 2 litre Grand Prix Sunbeam.

The fastest time recorded for a car was in 1922 when Count Zborowski’s GP Ballot (an aero-engined monster) achieved 26.8s. The motorcycles were faster; in 1925 Freddie Dixon had a time of 22.8s on his 736cc Douglas (an average of 81mph!). The last event in this early period was on 28th March 1925 when, as a result of a mild accident to a spectator, the RAC decided to ban all motor sport on public roads.

The revival of the Kop Hill Climb, under the leadership of Tony Davies, was begun in 2009. It developed rapidly through the Centenary in 2010 and this commemorative event is now a fixture on the historic motor sport calendar.  In 2012, over 400 historic vehicles ran up the hill with a further 200 on display in the paddock to delight the crowd of over 14,000 spectators.  Early indications are that these numbers were comfortably exceeded this year.

Jaguar Heritage was invited to bring along a couple of special cars from its collection – the unique 1966 XJ13 (which was reunited with legendary test driver Normal Dewis who was also attending the event) and the 1983 TWR XJS, winner of the European Touring Car Championship in the hands of Tom Walkinshaw.

The two cars were give pole position in the paddock alongside the Ecurie Ecosse collection of cars with their iconic transporter, sadly making their final public appearance under the ownership of Dick Skipworth – the whole collection has been put up for auction by Bonhams on December 1st.

For further information about the auction and the specific vehicles that will be offered, visit Bonhams

Forthcoming Events

With the season now coming to an end, the forward calendar is looking a little less busy. However, there are still two upcoming events of note:

The International Jaguar Spares Day on October 13 at the Stoneleigh showground.  This twice yearly event attracts a large number of Jaguar owners and restorers from UK and Europe.  It provides an opportunity to find parts for the full range of Jaguar and Daimler models of all ages, both for routine servicing and maintenance and for major restorations. Many stalls are also taken by enthusiasts clearing out their garages of miscellaneous spares.  Jaguar Heritage will be there as normal with its merchandise trailer offering a wide range of merchandise, technical publications and other archive items.

The 2013 Classic Motor Show which will be held at Birmingham’s NEC from November 15-17. Jaguar Heritage will once again be teaming up with sister company Jaguar Classic Parts and will have a large stand in Hall 20.  There will be a display of 9 cars ranging from a 1953 XK120 through to the XF ‘Rocketsports’ speed record car from 2009 and with the exciting C-X75 as a special attraction.  Jaguar Heritage will have a shop selling merchandise and publications while Jaguar Classic Parts will have its team of technical experts on hand to answer queries and to take parts orders.

Vehicle Restoration Update

The Jaguar Heritage Mark V dhc

The Jaguar Heritage vehicle collection includes two fine examples of the Jaguar Mark V – a 1949 3½ litre saloon and a 1951 3½ litre drophead coupé.  Both cars are black and have been popular in the past for use at weddings and other formal events.  The Mark V saloon is now on display in the new gallery at the Coventry Transport Museum but the drophead is still being kept in the Jaguar Heritage vehicle store so that it is available for events.

The 1951 Mark V DHC rear floor showing the corrosion problem

Earlier in the summer it was used for a wedding but some issues were noticed during its travels and a closer inspection on its return revealed the fact that the floor area under the rear seat was suffering from a bad attack of ‘tin worm’ – some repairs were clearly going to be needed to avoid the risk of rear seat passengers disappearing!  In the end it was decided to do a full replacement of the seat pan, cutting out the corroded areas and welding in new material to make the underfloor secure and watertight.  The work was entrusted to XK Engineering in Coventry who have done a lot of restorations for Jaguar Heritage over the years.  The sound deadening pad has now been added and the rear seat re-assembled so that the car is ready for service once again.

The same area following the repair and restoration work done by XK Engineering


Archive News

Heiner Stertkamp is a leading German Jaguar historian with several books to his credit, including a standard work which has been translated into English, and is active in the German JAG Club.  He has been a volunteer with Jaguar Heritage since the late 1990s and regularly spends two weeks a year working in the Archive which he treats as his “summer holiday”!  He has done a lot of very useful work, not least in terms of data entry on the database.

He has just finished a new book “Lyons’ Jaguar XJ” and has donated a copy to the archive (as he has done with all his previous books).  Photographs from the Jaguar Heritage archive have been used extensively in this publication.  He is pictured here presenting the book to Faye McLeod, Jaguar Heritage’s Chief Archivist.


Jaguar Heritage

To receive all future updates on Jaguar related news and events as they arrive, please subscribe to Xclusively Jaguar News using the Newsletter Sign Up facility in the top right hand corner of the page. Subscription is free of charge with an opt out facility.

All information correct at time of publishing.