Official Opening of the Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum

Report by Letitia Mace. Pictures by Letitia Mace, unless otherwise stated.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, with Jaguar it seems that cars, events and people are all intertwined, and within a few days of Shelsley Walsh, I was a guest of Jaguar Cars at the Coventry Transport Museum, meeting up with people and cars which were very closely connected with those I had seen at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb!

The 1st of August 2013 saw the official opening of the Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum, along with the handover of the first F-type to Jaguar Heritage, and a celebration of Norman Dewis’s 93rd birthday.

Outside the Coventry Transport Museum, the sun baked down on us and glinted off of the assembled Jaguars, as we awaited our “guests of honour”. One of the first to arrive, I proudly parked Brucie outside Coventry Transport Museum on the “piazza” alongside two X351 XJ saloons and JEC Marketing Director, Tony Ridge’s S-type. I must say that I was disappointed to then find an Audi was allowed to park next to Brucie, when I had assumed this was “Jaguar parking only” and then Ian Callum arrived in the XKR-S press car, which would have been parked next to Brucie but for the Audi !! The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club were well represented, with Tony Ridge and myself being joined by JEC Chairman, Rob Jenner.

The guests of honour arrive! Picture courtesy of Jaguar Cars

We were kept well supplied with iced drinks, while more Jaguar personalities arrived, in anticipation of our guests of honour. Finally a new F-type appeared, followed by some of the world’s most famous Jaguars, including OVC 501 (chassis XKC401), the very first D-type, which never raced, but was extensively tested by Norman Dewis. OVC 501 preceded (chassis XKC402) registered OKV1, which although not present on the day, is a car which only a week ago I had seen for the very first time at CMC, when it was taken by them to be displayed at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. XKC 401 is mentioned in Duncan Hamilton’s  book “Touchwood” and extensively documented in Norman Dewis’s book Developing the Legend

The F-type and its ancestral entourage, each representing a link in the Jaguar sports car bloodline,  had assembled for photographs at Hampton Manor Hotel, Hampton-in-Arden before leading the convoy, accompanied by a police escort, through Coventry to the museum, where the famous cars then re-assembled for more photographs!

The Jaguar Sporting Bloodline. Picture courtesy of Jaguar Cars

Out in the blazing sun, Norman Dewis was undergoing his customary press interview, while I was introduced to Dr Ralph Speth and Ian Callum, both of whom have close links with Classic Motor Cars of Bridgnorth, where less than a week before, I had gazed upon their respective classic Jaguars, which afforded opportunity for interesting conversation!

We then retired to the relative cool of the museum itself where we were taken to the new Jaguar Gallery for its official opening. An amazing Jaguar video relating the history of the marque was played, and as it ended, there was a tremendously loud bang, as an F-type burst through the wall into the gallery ….quite unexpected, it made me jump! The F-type in question was “Job 1” and as is now traditional, it will be joining the Jaguar Heritage Collection. The “wall” fortunately was made of stout paper and Ian Callum, behind the wheel, grinning widely after this feat, was then interviewed along with Dr Ralph Speth (Jaguar CEO) and Joe Elliott (CTM Chairman). To round off the celebration of this joint milestone in the history of Jaguar Cars and CTM, a cake was presented to Norman Dewis and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him and wished him a very happy 93rd birthday!

As guests of Jaguar and Coventry Transport Museum we were treated to very welcome ice cold drinks, canapés and some of Norman’s delicious cake, before each being presented with a commemorative Jaguar F-type mug and a chrome Jaguar flash drive containing the press pack for this event!

Finally, as everyone drifted away, Brucie was one of the last Jaguars to leave the piazza, 5 minutes before the museum closed for the day. One of the Jaguars which didn’t leave Coventry Transport Museum, and which you are unlikely to see on the road, is the C-X75 (pictured below) on display in the new Jaguar Gallery!

More pictures and information at News from CTM and newcarnet


Coventry Transport Museum

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All information correct at time of publishing.