Fans of Jaguar celebrated the marque at Bicester Heritage on Sunday, July 4 at a COVID compliant event that included a seemingly never-ending sea of hundreds of Jaguar E-types stretching across the Oxfordshire countryside. The spectacle, designed to mark 60 years since the launch of the British motoring icon, was a sell-out show for the Summer Jaguar Festival, organized by the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and the Jaguar Drivers’ Club. There was something for everyone, with displays of Jaguars from all eras, both modern and historic.
Jaguar fans were presented with the unique treat of seeing iconic Jaguars from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust collection out on the demonstration track at Bicester, circulating at speed and offering passenger rides to lucky ticket holders. This was a rare opportunity to see these historic Jaguars in motion on a circuit. The line-up included 77RW, the E-type famously driven through the night to the model’s launch at the Geneva Motor Show from Coventry by factory test driver Norman Dewis in March 1961.
The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust’s European Touring Car Championship winning TWR XJS wowed the crowds with its awesome sounding V12 engine. Also, the trust’s XK120 that was specially prepared for driving seven days and seven nights at an average speed of over 100 miles per hour at Montlhéry near Paris in 1952, proved it could still circulate a track with vigour!
Visitors also enjoyed displays that celebrated special anniversaries, from the 60th anniversary of the E-type and the Mark 10 to 25 years of XK8, 20 years of the modern classic X-type plus 35 years since the launch of the XJ40. The event also marked 70 years since the C-type secured Jaguar’s first victory at Le Mans driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead and was marked by a special display of Le Mans cars in the aircraft hangar. On track, a C-type vs D-type driving display rounded the afternoon off, with two factory-built cars entertaining onlookers with a mock Le Mans dog fight. The D-type being one of six long-nosed D-types built in 1956, finished in British Racing Green and originally used as one of the works cars for competition, before later being campaigned successfully by Ecurie Ecosse.
Interviews and commentary were ongoing throughout the day and broadcasted across the venue via the largest big screen TV in the UK. Headlining the live stage interviews was the former Chairman and CEO of Jaguar, Sir John Egan who is credited with “saving” the Jaguar brand in the 1980s.
Speaking during his interview at the show, Sir John Egan said:
“When I arrived at the factory gates, everybody was on strike. I started talking to the strikers and one said, I’ve got my bag of tools here, without these tools these cars don’t fit, I’m a craftsman. I said, “well I’ve come here to save the place and to make it as independent as it deserves to be”. – That was the deal I had done with Michael Edwardes.”
The culmination of the 2021 Summer Jaguar Festival was the unveiling of the winners in an exclusive Concours d’Elégance for E-types and a Pride of Ownership competition for all other anniversary Jaguars.
The Pride of Ownership winners were announced starting with third place taken by the XK8 of Max Thompson, in second was the XKR owned by Stephen Berry and the winner of Pride of Ownership was a lovely E-type owned by Phil Kenworthy. All received high scores from the judges and left the show with a piston trophy and a cleaning kit from the sponsors Meguiar’s.
The runners-up of the E-type Concours d’Elégance were presented with prizes by David Bagley from Salon Privé with the overall winner scooping a ‘money can’t buy’ VIP entry to compete at Salon Privé with their winning E-type at Blenheim Palace 1-5 September 2021. That incredible accolade went to Paul Bridges who will now be furiously preparing his E-type ready for its memorable moment on the world Concours stage! Third place went to David Croxson with second place going to Garry Snell.