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    Johann Venter

    The #Aston-Martin-DB3S didn’t give Jaguar the bloody nose that boss #David-Brown might have hoped for , but at Le Mans in #1956 it got close to causing an upset. Here the works #Aston-Martin of Brits Stirling Moss and Peter Collins chases the Ecurie Ecosse #Jaguar-D-type of Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart watched by marshals, gendarmes and a scattering of spectators. The two cars would finish in the same positions, with the Jaguar’s extra 45bhp – and resultant 156.8mph top speed on the Mulsanne to the Aston’s 142.6mph – giving a significant advantage. However, the guile of Moss and Collins meant that the Aston completed just one lap fewer than the Jag, six more than the Ferrari of Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant in third.
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    Ben Barry
    / #Jaguar-D-type / #Jaguar / 'On the Road to Victory' #Jim-Clark drives through the snowy streets of Newcastle, on his way to a race meeting at Full Sutton. Based on an extract from the book 'Jim Clark at the Wheel'.
    Giclee on paper, image size 56cm x 42cm, limited edition of 100.
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    From #Jaguar-C-Type to #Jaguar-XK8 / #Jaguar

    I had to buy your magazine after seeing the #Jaguar-D-type cover of issue 173, because I started work at Jaguar as a new graduate in August 1951, just after my 20th birthday.

    At first I worked in engine development (just four of us – chief development engineer Jack Emerson and myself in the office, with Fred Keatley as tester and Jim Eastick as his apprentice). After about ten months I began a tour of other factory areas, but was then summoned to Claude Bailey’s office to work on the 9¼-litre V8 being designed for the MoD. My job was to carry out design calculations for the engine such as crank balance, valvetrain, bearing loads and many other components.

    I soon became the ‘stress man’ for any other projects, which led to me working with Malcolm Sayer on the light-alloy forerunner of the D-type. The draughtsman putting Malcolm’s and Bill Heynes’ ideas on paper was Roy Kettle. I calculated sections for suspension members (and drew the front suspension) and calculated a range of torsion bars for various spring rates.

    When the D-type followed, much of the suspension carried over from the light-alloy car so my input was limited to new torsion bars to accommodate the slightly different weight. About then I began to keep a rough-calculation notebook and the first reference to the D-type is dated 20 August 1954. At that time I was still engaged on the MoD V8 engine but also beginning to work with Stan Parkin on the [Mk1 saloon] 2.4-litre’s front and rear suspension, so my involvement with race projects was limited to cam and valve spring design.

    In 1955 I was called up for National Service, returning to Jaguar in 1957 to much the same work on the Mk10 and the like. But in 1960 I was enticed away to the new Associated Engineering Research Centre where, with others, we designed and developed the electronic injection system later taken over by Brico. One of my fond memories of those four years was driving one of the cars we equipped: a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing W198 that became my weekend transport!

    In 1964 I was offered a post back at Jaguar by Bill Heynes to work on an infinitely variable hydrostatic transmission, based on the patents of Gianni Badalini in Italy, for Jaguar and International Harvester tractors.

    However, in 1968 Leyland told us the group would not support a transmission intended for Jaguar only and would certainly not supply a rival tractor maker. Just then, Harry Munday took over from Claude Bailey as chief designer of power units and I moved into Harry’s old role as chief development engineer.

    I remained in that position for eight years, covering the XK six-cylinders, the AJ6 engine and the V12, for which my earlier years working on electronic fuel injection came in useful.

    By 1976, morale was at a low ebb, and I was approached to be product engineering director of the UK division of TRW Valves, which made valves for everything from lawnmowers to marine diesels. I stayed there until retirement and one of my last jobs involved assisting old friends at Jaguar in valvetrain development, including that of the new V8. My working career therefore began and ended with a #Jaguar-V8 !

    Gerry Beddoes, Cornwall

    Clockwise from lower left Gerry Beddoes at his drawing board in the early 1950s; C-type about to leave Foleshill for the 1951 TT, driven by Phil Weaver; Gerry checking the ride height of the first D-type one Sunday morning; in Italy to develop a transmission for International Harvester tractors – note the Mk10 Jag in the garage, on right.
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    Geneva by Jaguar. Visitors to the #1961 Salon were wowed by this very car. We retrace its history.

    The launch of the E-type has passed into legend, says James Mitchell as he drives to Geneva in the very car that stunned the 1961 Salon de l’Auto. Photography Tony Baker.

    The arrival of #Jaguar at Geneva in 1961 must have been like watching a great storm building on an open prairie. The E-type had been in development, in one form or another, since the days of the #Jaguar-D-type . The whispers from those who had glimpsed a workhorse on its way to MIRA for testing or had extracted a tip-off from a friend at the factory helped to whip up the tempest. A more public preview could be seen in E2A, the crossover prototype that was raced by Briggs Cunningham at Le Mans in #1960 . By the time the new car was finally unveiled, the storm had reached a ferocity that ensured the E-type blew away the opposition.

    The launch has since become legendary, Sir William Lyons masterfully managing a very different kind of debut. Simply parking a car on a stand at the Geneva Salon de l’Auto was never going to be enough for Lyons; he wanted to trump his rivals by introducing the new model before either the press or public could see their offerings. Lyons persuaded the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to fund a private launch the day before the opening of the show, to take place at the Gastronomie du Parc des Eaux-Vives, a restaurant at the heart of a park on the shores of Lake Geneva.

    There were two stages to this undertaking – first, there was to be the unveiling and, following that, the gathered journalists could then sample an ‘E’. Consequently, two separate cars were used. The outdoor photographs that most of us have seen, which show Lyons proudly standing next to his company’s new trend-setter, were taken just outside the restaurant. This is 9600 HP, chassis 885002, now owned by marque authority Philip Porter. This was the car that would be used for test drives.

    The other E-type was chassis 885005, which had initially been built as a roadster but was subsequently used by the factory as the testbed to develop the coupé. Lyons had never thought of the ‘E’ as a fixed-head until, relatively late in the design process, he saw a full-sized mock-up of the potential closed car. Leaving Browns Lane on 6 March, 885005 travelled by lorry to Geneva, arriving at Garage Claparède the following day for final detailing. From there, it was taken to the park where it was carefully manoeuvred into the restaurant. A plywood box was specially constructed so that, at the right moment, it could be lifted up to reveal the landmark car like a waiter drawing the silver lid away from a gourmet dish.

    At 4:30pm on Wednesday 15 March, the press and invited guests gathered in the restaurant. Racing drivers Wolfgang von Trips and Jo Bonnier stood shoulder to shoulder, looking at a box. In came Lyons, the cover was tugged into the air, and the wooden sides dramatically fell away to unveil the E-type inside. There was apparently an awkward silence for the first few seconds, presumably while people tried to get their heads around what was before them. Lyons made a brief speech before everyone was ushered outside to see 9600 HP. With the gathered group now focused on that, 885005 was transferred from the restaurant to the as-yet unopened Salon de l’Auto.

    It was customary at that time for Jaguar to use a Persian rug on which to display the cars at a motor show. If you have a look at pictures from Geneva, you will see 885005 – a truly beautiful car – sitting on what is an ugly scrap of home decoration. As was tradition, the President of the Swiss Confederation (Dr Traugott Wahlen on that occasion) opened the show and spent some time on the Jaguar stand discussing details of the ‘E’ with Emil Frey, one of two Jaguar importers and distributors for Switzerland. The opening of the show coincided with the first reviews, The Motor claiming that it was ‘a landmark in sports car progress’ while The Autocar astonished readers with reports of a genuine 150mph.

    People often talk about the Salon de l’Auto, but it is the earlier private unveiling at the restaurant that has always captured my imagination. It’s like having seen The Beatles at The Cavern or viewed the first Monty Python episode on television; those few who witnessed it share a very special experience in history. So I’m going to Geneva, to the Park des Eaux-Vives, and I’m going in chassis 885005.

    We start in Thalwil near Zürich, the car’s current home. It lives in an underground garage with a broad selection of other historic Jaguars including SS90s, SS100s and the complete complement of XKs. Among its brethren, it looks so utterly different. If an XK was your point of reference in 1961, no wonder you were in awe of the E-type. It’s early in the morning – while the drive from Zürich to Geneva is normally only three hours, today it’ll be much longer because we’re taking the mountain roads. Our group includes Christian Jenny, the car’s owner, and Georg Dönni of GB Dönni Classic Cars, which restored it. I start in the passenger seat next to Jenny, admiring the layout of the dashboard, the lovely large Smiths dials in front of the driver, the smaller ones set into the aluminium. It’s noticeable that even a ‘flat-floor’ car is slightly cramped. As we leave the highways of Zürich for the Alpine roads, I notice the grab handle on the dash. During the Salon, those who enquired on the Jaguar stand and were considered to be serious clients were given a ticket.

    They then took that to the ‘demonstration base’ outside, where they could accompany either Norman Dewis in the roadster 77 RW or Bob Berry in 9600 HP. Dewis recounts how at one point on the test drive “the road levelled out and we could do about 120-130mph”. That being so, I can imagine that there would have been quite a few passengers reaching for that grab handle. After a while, I join Dönni who runs me through the history of 885005. After leaving the Salon de l’Auto, it was taken back to Garage Claparède to be prepared for road licensing by the Swiss authorities before being sold to CAP Assurances on 16 May. By the 1970s, it had become just another used Jaguar sports car and, following an accident that damaged the rear, it went to a dealership in the Jura area of Switzerland.

    After changing owners several times, it was finally bought by two brothers who kept it for close to 20 years. By that time, any connection to its illustrious early days had been long forgotten. In the late 1990s, an advert appeared in the back of a regional motoring magazine advertising a restored E-type coupé. A Jaguar enthusiast called Pierre Pittet saw it and, having been on the hunt for an ‘E’, decided to bring in an expert to inspect it on his behalf – Urs Haehnle, the then-president of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club Switzerland.

    Haehnle called Pittet and explained that it was not only a very early car but also the Geneva announcement E-type. Pittet bought it but, perhaps not wholly grasping the historical importance of what had just been discovered, was keen to change the engine to a later 4.2-litre unit. His son, at one time a director of the Jaguar Daimler Club of Switzerland, did appreciate the significance of 885005. He persuaded his father to sell the car to Dönni, who then contacted Jenny. He, in turn, agreed to buy the E-type and employ Georg to restore it.

    That was in 2002. Dönni has been talking me through this history with waved arms and a raised voice. He doesn’t just restore cars mechanically but immerses himself into their story. He comes from an academic family and when he was a child his aim was to become an archaeologist, a passion clear in his restorations. He starts talking about the Jaguar’s rejuvination: “The whole story of the car was there when we stripped it down. As I read early E-type history, I could see the development process that they talked about right in front of my eyes. For example, because it had been a roadster to begin with, you could see where the engineers had welded the roof to the A-post. Once this had been done, 885005 was then used as a pattern for the other coupés. It was a hand-built car, basically, which is why we had to get a windscreen specially manufactured for it.”

    GB Dönni Classic Cars was meticulous with the restoration process, including preserving the original bonnet, one of the few that were handbeaten on a concrete buck. In fact, if you put a standard production car next to 885005 you would find hundreds of small differences – the roof on the Geneva car is not as flat as that of a production car, for a start. All of this was carefully preserved and thankfully not restored out.

    We’re well on our way to Geneva when it’s time for me to drive, the Alpine roads offering the perfect test route. While there are numerous reviews of piloting an E-type – the long bonnet, the speed – there really is nothing like it. Some people make the Moss gearbox out to be an ogre, but a good one such as this isn’t so bad. You get that long throw forward to first, which is quite close to reverse, but once warm it deals well with the demands of a mountain pass. ‘Relative’ is a word I am very fond of when considering old cars. In this case, reflect on what other cars were available at the time; can you imagine stepping from an MGA into an #Jaguar-E-type for the first time?

    The steering is light once on the move, any road blemishes being noted but not disruptive. The early production 3.8-litre ‘pumpkin head’ engine cruises along with a woofle, becoming more gruff as you pile on the pressure. While the brakes are fine for regular journeys, the moment you engage in some spirited driving you realise that they’re not really up to the job. But in general it is an exceptionally good driver’s car, fast, lithe and torquey, making easy work of the testing mountain roads.

    We drop down into Geneva and turn into the Park des Eaux-Vives. It’s a sunny day, the local students are using their lunch break to laze around and we park the ‘E’ by the front entrance of the restaurant. With period pictures in hand, we walk in and find the room into which 885005 was squeezed for the launch. You can see that the layout has not changed, and much of the plasterwork is still in place. But what we cannot work out is how on earth they got the Jaguar in here! Outside, we find the spot on which 9600 HP was so famously photographed with Lyons standing next to it, jauntily leaning on the roof with the door open.

    We drive the E-type down to the foot of the park, the gentle slope rising back up towards the restaurant. I quietly sit and think about what went on here 54 years ago. I imagine the thick gaggle of international press, having just seen both 9600 HP and 885005, driving down the road I’m now standing on. I feel sure that they appreciated they had just been part of a special moment in motoring history, a tale that would become permanently chiselled into the automotive stone of time.

    Clockwise, from main: ‘005’ returns to Parc des Eaux-Vives; on Salon stand – note the carpet; recreating the events of 1961; only early cars had external bonnet catches. Far left: evocative interior dominated by large wheel.



    Clockwise, from main: Mitchell revels in early car’s performance; triple #SU carburettors for XK powerplant; Lyons at the Parc des Eaux-Vives in 1961; fabulous rear view; chassis plate reflects this example’s provenance.

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    When I was actively racing, the offseason was something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you had more time to spend with the family and were able to catch up with friends. On the other, you might be out of a drive and anxiously trying to find a new one. And even when you had a confirmed seat with a team, it was difficult to switch off the competitive part of your brain: you just wanted to get your bum in a car and start testing.


    That said, during the first decade or so of my racing career, there was no off-season. While I was at #Ferrari , for example, I competed in the Tasman series alongside great mate Chris Amon. Racing Down Under was infinitely more pleasurable than spending another winter in the UK kicking my heels.

    These days, of course, I am a retired racing driver. Strictly speaking, I should say that I am not ‘retired’ in the dictionary sense of the word as I still compete in histories as and when the mood takes me, but the point is that I am not chasing drives. So what do I do with my time? I’m busier than ever! At the end of last year, for example, I visited Number 10 Downing Street and - please don’t judge me on this - I also found myself at a concert in Miami watching Miley Cyrus take her clothes off. I’m pretty sure she also sang a little, too, but I was distracted. The point is, life this past winter has rarely been dull.

    One of the highlights of last year was getting to race Adam Lindermann’s Ecurie Ecosse #Jaguar-D-type at the Goodwood Revival Meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Adam and I are hoping to team up again in 2015 and do some events. While we were in West Sussex, Adam and Lord March got on famously and, in a roundabout way, this led to one of those ‘pinch me’ moments back in January.

    Adam owns an art gallery in New York, just off Fifth Avenue, and is among the most plugged-in people imaginable. This became abundantly clear when he organised a special display of His Lordship’s photography. What a lot of people don’t know is that, long before he turned historic motor sport on its head with the Goodwood events, Charles was a photographer. A damned good one. The exhibition of his woodland studies was well received, and I was delighted to attend alongside my wife Misti.

    And it turned into one of the most surreal nights of my life. The gallery was bursting with the beautiful people, with even the likes of Al Pacino dropping by. At dinner, Misti was introduced to the lady sitting next to her and was rather blown away to learn she was the granddaughter of Pablo Picasso. Me? I was placed next to Princess Eugenie, who was very sweet and surprisingly clued up on motor sport. Then we went out for drinks, and who should stop by? Oh yeah, that would be Naomi Campbell. Misti began trembling when she saw her, as did I, but I’m guessing for different reasons.

    Fast-forward a week and I was in Berkeley, California giving a speech at a United States Ski & Snowboard Association fundraiser. Once again I found myself wondering how and why I was there, but I ended up having a great time. The subject was speed, and in all sports you have to build up to a certain level: at Le Mans, for example, you don’t just start doing 246mph, as I did back in the #Porsche-917 days, straight off the bat. You feel your way in, and with confidence comes speed.

    You also have to learn how to compartmentalise your mind and find focus. There is commonality between all sports in these regards, so having a racing driver as a guest speaker wasn’t as odd as it might have seemed, I guess.

    Once again, I was surrounded by fascinating people, not least the event’s organiser, Steve Reed, who just happens to own a fabulous array of racing cars including a #Maserati-300S and an ex-Lauda Ferrari. The point is, both of these amazing evenings occurred through friendships forged via motor sport. I am forever grateful for what my career brought me in terms of success trackside, but also the life it gave me away from the circuits. And it remains a gift that keeps on giving, even though I am (technically) retired.

    But, just in case this reads like one long name-dropping love-in, I should point out that winter was bookended by a dose of flu and time spent batting away norovirus. Sometimes, life has a habit of bringing you down to earth with a bump.


    Derek took up racing in 1964 in a Lotus 7, won two World Sportscar Championship titles in 1985 and 1986, the 24 Hours of Daytona three times in 1986, 1987 and 1989, and Le Mans five times in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987. He was speaking with Richard Heseltine. #Derek-Bell
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    Knobbly lives again. First often Lister continuation models emerges, with plans for three extra final editions.
    Words Julian Kirk.

    The first of ten Lister Knobbly continuation cars has rolled out of the factory in Cambridge. And while all ten cars are already sold (for around £350,000 each), Lister has confirmed it will also build three final edition models that, it promises, will each celebrate the pedigree of the Knobbly in a ‘unique and memorable way’.

    The ten continuation cars are being built to the same specification as the #1958 #Knobbly created by company founder Brian Lister, who passed away on 16 December last year, aged 88. Their construction will employ the original jigs.
    Lister Cars’ chairman Lawrence Whittaker said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to see the first customer Knobbly roll off our production line in Cambridge - it’s a testament to our fantastic team and a fitting tribute to the memory of Brian Lister.’

    Built to FIA Appendix K regulations, which allows them to compete in a series of historic race meetings planned this year to run alongside the Stirling Moss Trophy, the continuation models are available in road and race trim with power coming from a wide-angle #Jaguar-D-type 3.8-litre straight-six breathing through three period-correct Weber carburettors to produce 330bhp.

    A race-spec 315bhp pushrod 4.6-litre #Chevrolet V8 (as built in period for the US race market by Costin) is also being offered, using four downdraught Holley carbs and a Corvette four-speed gearbox. All race preparation is being undertaken by Chris Keith-Lucas at CKL Developments.

    With the car weighing in at just 787kg, performance promises to be blistering - Lister is claiming acceleration from rest to 60mph in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 181mph for the road car. Keeping performance in check are 12in #Girling disc brakes front and rear and 16in #Dunlop Racing peg-drive alloys with knock-off spinners. Drive is transferred through a four-speed all-synchromesh D-type gearbox.

    This is not the first time Lister has set out to build official continuation versions of the iconic Knobbly. Back in 1990 it announced plans for ten ‘sanction’ cars, but a looming recession (and £250,000 price tag) resulted in only three cars being built.

    However, the future looks much brighter this time around, and Lister is also planning a £2-million hypercar to rival the likes of #Pagani and #Koenigsegg . Speaking to, company boss Lawrence Whittaker revealed that development work is already underway on the twin-supercharged 7.8-litre V12 model, which is claimed to produce around 1000bhp. Lister hopes to have the first examples in production in three years’ time.

    Clockwise from above - Lister Knobblywas raced by Stirling Moss (here winning the 1958 #Silverstone GP); ten continuation models are being built; Archie Scott Brown and Brian Lister pore over the original.
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