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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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    Gerry Beddoes
    Gerry Beddoes joined the group Jaguar Group Page
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