On Thursday this week we were invited along to the Jaguar F-Type bloodline heritage drive. The drive put together by Jaguar Enthusiasts and Jaguar Land Rover, was to commemorate the new Jaguar display at the British Transport Museum in Coventry and the unveiling of its star attraction, the Jaguar F-Type chassis number 001.
We were asked to arrive mid afternoon at Hampton Manor Hotel in Hampton on Arden, situated in the picturesque British countryside on the outskirts of Birmingham. Upon our arrival all the Jaguars participating in the drive where on display in front of the Manor house for the first photo shoot of the day. There was a total of 15 Jaguars taking part in the drive, with the addition of a dedicated camera car and a Police escort consisting of a Jaguar XF and 4 Motorbikes. The first car on the drive was the car the whole event focused on, the Jaguar F-Type.
This was closely followed by the oldest car on the drive, the 1938 SS Jaguar 100. The SS100 was capable of exceeding 160km/h with its 3½ litre engine and at launch cost £395, which is the equivalent of €25,800 in today’s money. This was followed by the 1953 Jaguar XK120, which at the time was the worlds fastest production car and the first to use the now legendary XK engine.
Next was the car we were lucky enough to be passenger in, the 1953 Jaguar C-Type. This car in particular was one of 43 sold to private owners, out of 54 built in total. It ended up participating in the 1953 Mille Miglia at the hands of it’s Italian driver Mario Tadini, but unfortunately did not finish. The C-Type also pioneered the use of disc brakes in competition at the 1952 Mille Miglia.
After us was the 1954 Jaguar D-Type. This particular D-Type was the first prototype built in 1954, and was taken straight to the Le Mans test sessions by Jaguar development driver Norman Dewis, where he managed to beat the Circuit de la Sarthe record by five clear seconds! The very rare Jaguar XKSS, which was derived from the D-Type, was also in attendance. Only 16 of these road going D-Types were ever built, making it one of the rarest Jaguars, one of which was notably owned be Steve McQueen. Then there was a 1955 XK140 and a 1957 XK150
The next cars on the drive were the iconic Jaguar E-Types, with one of each series being represented. The Series 1 E-Type was the first production E-Type that was famously driven through the night by Norman Dewis to the 1961 Geneva Motor show. Whilst the Series 3 was the last ever E-Type manufactured, bringing an end to production as car #72,500. Next was one of 275 Jaguar XJ220’s manufactured, a car that held the title of ‘fastest production car’ between 1992 and 1993.
Then there was was the last 4.0 litre variant of the XJS convertible produced, and its replacement the Jaguar XK8, which for the drive was driven by the Mayor of Coventry. Last but not least was one of Jaguars latest premium sports car/grand tourer the 2012 X150 Jaguar XK-R.
The drive consisted of a small country drive with the aid of the police convoy stopping traffic to allow for a smooth passage to the the A45, the main road into Coventry, followed by a lap of Coventry’s ring road before heading into the centre and to the British Transport Museum. Upon arrival at the the Museum the cars were maneuvered into a horseshoe for the second photo shoot of the day.
Following the completion of the photo shoot we were lead up to the new Jaguar display for a talk about the history and development of Jaguar and by the days special guests, Jaguar Brand Director Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Heritage Chairman Mike O’Driscoll, Coventry Transport Museum Chairman Joe Elliott. Midway during the presentation F-Type #001 was driven into position by Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum, before the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Dr. Ralf Speth continued the presentation with a few words from Norman Dewis.
The new Jaguar gallery showcases the history of Jaguar from the early years through every decade culminating with the 2000 Jaguar F-Type Concept and the 2010 Jaguar C-X75. Upon the speeches finishing a birthday cake was brought out for Norman as the event was taking place a few days before his 93rd birthday.