Jaguar Heritage News – December 2013

As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on the past twelve months and look forward to 2014 and what the future might hold.

2013 – The year of the F-TYPE:

The big news in 2013 was undoubtedly the full launch of Jaguar’s first true sports car in more than 50 years.  The story of the new F-TYPE could not be told without reference to the wonderful Jaguar bloodline running back to the 1950s, bringing its forebears in the shape of the C, D and E-type back to centre stage.  The main Jaguar PR activity in the first half of the year was all F-TYPE centric, with the press launch in Pamplona, motor shows in Seoul and Shanghai, the speed trial in Jabbeke and the Mille Miglia all crammed into the three months from March to May!  On top of that, the first customer cars were coming off the production line in April and the UK dealers were able to re-enact an event from 52 years earlier by coming to Coventry to collect their first cars.

Jaguar Heritage played an important role in all these events, supplying appropriate cars from its collection to sit alongside the new F-TYPE and remind the various audiences – media, celebrities, dealers and customers – of where the inspiration for the design and performance of the new car was derived.  Here are a few pictorial highlights:

2014 – The year ahead:

Given the recent reveal of the exciting new F-TYPE Coupé, it is likely that 2014 will continue in a similar vein to 2013, the emphasis just shifting more to the coupé variants of Jaguar’s many previous iconic sports cars.  This promises to be an aesthetic treat as the coupé bodystyle has always provided more scope for Jaguar’s designers, past and present, to express themselves – and the coupé models are often regarded as being more attractive than the convertibles.  Expect plenty of events centred on the new F-TYPE coupé but with the bloodline being reinforced by some of the fine models in the Jaguar Heritage collection – notably the XK120 ‘7 days and nights’ record breaking car, LWK 707, and the two E-type coupés, the 1963 Series 1 YKE 374A and the 1971 2+2 Series 3 V12 WHP 205J.

Another milestone that will be reached next year is the 60th anniversary of the D-type which made its debut in 1954.  The Jaguar PR team are already thinking about suitable events during the year to commemorate this important birthday and the celebrations will start bright and early in the New Year at the Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC, which is taking place from January 9-12.

Jaguar Heritage is fortunate to own the very first D-type prototype, chassis XKC-401, which was registered on May 4, 1954.  This car will be displayed on the Pistonheads stand at the Autosport International show, making the first of what will no doubt be many appearances during the year.

Other anniversaries coming up next year include:

  • 60th anniversary of XK140
  • 50th anniversary of Series 1½ E-type (with 4.2 litre engine)
  • 40th anniversary of the end of E-type production (and Jaguar Heritage has the last one made in its collection, a commemorative Series 3 V12 OTS)
  • Jaguar Cars PLC was floated on the stock market as a stand-alone company in 1984 with John Egan as Chairman
  • 30th anniversary of Jaguar winning the European Touring Car championship in 1984 with Tom Walkinshaw in the TWR XJS (and Jaguar Heritage has the winning car in its collection).
  • 20th anniversary of X300 XJ (launched in October 1994)

It is going to be something of a year for the Jaguar brand as all these important anniversaries are celebrated alongside the market launch of the new F-TYPE coupé.  The events calendar is likely to get very busy, very quickly!

End of Season Activites:

The Classic Motor Show at the NEC in November tends to mark the end of the events season for Jaguar Heritage, but the team have continued to be kept busy working on various cars in the collection and supporting some more photo shoots for Jaguar Marketing and PR.

Jaguar Formula 1 Cars

Part of Jaguar’s history that doesn’t get talked about very often these days, nonetheless Jaguar Heritage owns a fine collection of Formula 1 cars from the years when Jaguar competed at this level.  The acquisition is an interesting story which had ramifications that have been playing out for many years, but it is now nearing the end.

When Jaguar pulled out of F1 at the end of the 2004 season and the team was taken over by Red Bull, Jaguar Heritage acquired a large collection of cars – some more complete than others and all without engines – as well as a vast array of other diverse items ranging from racewear to a number of scooters that the team used to use for riding around in the paddock area!  After a full assessment of the inventory, it was decided to sell off many of the cars and chassis to interested enthusiasts but to retain one car from each of the seasons that Jaguar competed (2000–2004) as well as one interesting development car.  Some of the other parts and assets (including the scooters) were sold privately or at auction, but the Jaguar Heritage Trustees did a deal with Mark Hemsworth to be sole agent for the sale of the surplus F1 cars and parts as well as most of the driver and pit crew clothing.

Mark had a long history in motorsport starting out with Tom Walkinshaw, before progressing into the tight-knit world of F1 where he ended up as assistant team manager at Arrows.  When the Arrows team ran into financial difficulties in 2002, Mark set up a company called to sell off original F1 parts left over from the team to members of the public.  In due course the business expanded to include the Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull F1 teams – and Mark is still actively selling parts today via his website. In addition to acting as the sales agent, Mark was also asked to undertake a progressive refurbishment of the cars that were being retained by Jaguar Heritage as these were not generally in a very good condition.

This programme has been going on for several years – the process of finding (or sometimes re-manufacturing) missing parts and re-painting in original livery being very time consuming.  However, the end is now in sight as Mark recently completed work on the R5 from the 2004 season and is now working on the final car which is the R4 from the 2003 season.

It is hoped that the R4 will be finished by the spring of next year, at which point Jaguar Heritage will have the full set of refurbished cars from all five seasons as well as the R3 CFD (computational fluid dynamics) development car.  The R1, R2 and CFD cars are currently on loan to the Donington Museum where they can be viewed, and the R3 is on display in the Jaguar gallery at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon.

NTV Film Shoot – 12 December 2013

In the last week, Jaguar’s PR team have been hosting a film crew from Germany who are producing a short piece for the German news channel NTV.  Jaguar Germany has for some time had a relationship with Stefan Szczesny, a famous painter and sculptor who is also a Jaguar Brand Ambassador.  Given Stefan’s artistic background, the producer wanted to film him in the Jaguar design studio together with Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director, talking about some of the latest Jaguar products – and their inspiration from the historic models.

To provide the appropriate backdrop for this, Jaguar Heritage was asked to provide two
E-type coupés from its collection – a 1963 Series 1 and the 1971 Series 3 V12 2+2 that was originally a Jaguar press car.  The venue chosen for the shoot was Wappenbury Hall, former home of Sir William Lyons, but now owned by Godfrey Hall, a local businessman.

The cars were duly lined up on a beautiful morning and filmed both on their own and together with an F-TYPE convertible (the new coupé still being under dynamic embargo).  Jaguar Heritage volunteers Dave Palmer and Chris Bennett did the driving duties and were also interviewed on camera talking about their respective cars.  We are looking forward to seeing the final edit!  More information about the Stefan Szczesny Jaguar Art Project

Vehicle Collection Update:

Lots of end of season fettling has been going on to bed the collection down for the Christmas break.  One vehicle receiving some attention was the Broadspeed XJ12C which had a recent outing at Blyton Park as reported in last month’s newsletter.  The cooling system on the car was in need of some cleaning out but while this work was being done, we were contacted by a company called Manthorpe Engineering, one of whose directors Paul Pochciol is campaigning a replica Broadspeed XJ12 in various classic car race series.

Paul uses the services of Dennis Welch Motorsport to prepare the car, and they wanted to come and look at an original car to understand what modifications had been made to the engine and chassis by Ralph Broad.  They were under the impression that the Jaguar Heritage car had a dry sump V12 but in fact this car, chassis 3, has a modified wet sump system.  However, looking through the archives, it transpired that its sister car, chassis 4, was modified to a dry sump system late in the 1977 season.  This car was disposed of by Jaguar Heritage at a Brooks auction back in 1997 as there was not felt to be a need to retain more than one example (and the chassis 3 car had the better race history); it is believed that the chassis 4 car is the one now owned by JD Classics which is often exhibited at classic motorsport events.

The Jaguar Heritage team would like to wish Paul and his team well with their racing exploits next year!

Swallow Doretti 

The history of this car is interesting and, as might be guessed from its name, it has an early heritage that is common with Jaguar.

The Swallow name goes back to the Swallow Sidecar Company set up by William Lyons and William Walmsley in 1922.  As the company grew and diversified into car design and manufacture, so the name was changed initially to the Swallow Sidecar and Cocahbuilding Company and later in 1933 to SS Cars Limited.  In 1935 a clear division was established with the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Ltd producing the sidecars and SS Cars Limited producing all the cars.

The war years put all motor car production on hold as the factories were converted to weapons manufacture and it also signalled the end of SS Cars Ltd, the name having acquired a dark and sinister connotation! Immediately after the war, when car production resumed, the decision was made to change the name of SS Cars Ltd to Jaguar Cars Ltd. At the same time Lyons decided to divest himself of the sidecar business and concentrate his efforts on motor vehicle production.

Negotiations about the disposal of the Swallow Coachbuilding Company resulted in the sale of the motor-cycle sidecar business to Helliwells, a manufacturer of aircraft components based at Walsall Airport. Production of Swallow sidecars continued at the Walsall Airport works along with the Swallow Gadabout, a motor-scooter designed by Frank Rainbow.

In 1950 the Helliwell Group, including Swallow Coachbuilding, was acquired by Tube Investments Ltd, and Swallow became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant TI Group.

In 1952, with the market for British built sports cars booming in the USA, a project was conceived for Swallow Coachbuilding to produce its own sports car on a Triumph chassis to fill a market niche between the Triumph TR2 and the Jaguar XK120. Frank Rainbow was given approval to start work on the car in January 1953, with the proviso that the first car had to be completed in nine months – and he delivered on time. The new car, which was named the Swallow Doretti, was unveiled at the 1954 Motor Show where it received a very positive reception.

The Doretti sold well and about 280 cars were built between 1954 and 1955 with a workforce, which never exceeded eighteen people, including design and office staff.

However, production of the Doretti was abruptly halted in 1955 – allegedly when Jaguar gave the TI Group an ultimatum; if they continued to market a rival sportscar to the XK120, Jaguar would go elsewhere for the many components TI supplied!

Of the 280 cars built, over 180 survive and there is an International Register established in 1975 under the auspices of the Triumph TR Register. For further information visit the Swallow Doretti Register


Apologies for some missing pictures, due to technical problems. The full version of this newsletter can be seen HERE


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All information correct at time of publishing.