Introducing the tera®

Introducing the tera®, Building The Legend Limited’s own unique quad-cam V12 engine. The type of power unit which could have been heard howling down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in 1966 and beyond.


A beautifully sculptural engine and unashamedly “of the period”. Designed to be seen and with a purposeful beauty hinting at the power lying within.

The tera® draws inspiration from Claude Baily’s (former Chief Designer, Jaguar) legendary quad-cam racing engine – an engine designed to power the sublime 1966 XJ13 Le Mans Prototype and return Jaguar to its glory days of Le Mans triumphs and domination. Sadly, the XJ13 was destined to never turn a wheel in anger and the potential of its mighty power-unit was never fully realised. Instead, Jaguar re-designed Baily’s racing engine into a SOHC version more suited for road-use in their rather more sedate road cars.

Building The Legend, XJ13, Neville Swales, Jaguar, LM69, Ecurie Cars
Introducing the tera-™, Building The Legend Limited’s own unique quad-cam V12 engine

Sadly, the XJ13 was destined to never turn a wheel in anger and the potential of Baily’s mighty power-unit was never fully realised. Instead, Jaguar re-designed Baily’s racing engine into a SOHC version more suited to sedate applications.

In the words of Jaguar’s Walter “Wally” Hassan …

“… Between 1949 and 1957 Jaguar were actively involved in motor racing in order to create the sporting image for their cars. Amongst their successes were the winning of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in the years of 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 & 1957 as well as Sebring and many other international races and rallies. These cars were powered by the six-cylinder XK twin-cam engine and it was thought to be desirable to develop a successor to compete in future races, particularly Le Mans …. in order to provide the maximum potential in power, a 12 cylinder ‘Vee’ configuration … was conceived to provide for safe running at 8000-8500 rpm. By way of comparison the 6 cylinder twin cam XK engine had been designed without racing in mind.

… during the development period it was decided to withdraw from racing and these policy changes eliminated the need for a competition engine and emphasis shifted to the production (SOHC) version.”

tera®

Drawing inspiration from Baily’s V12 and other classic racing engines of the period, Building The Legend’s tera ® represents an evolution of Baily’s concept. A “what might have been”. An engine born to race but whose potential was never fully realised – until now …

The engine is of course normally-aspirated and drivers of these cars will gain the full visceral experience of a howling V12 race-engine. Distributor-less with choice of period Lucas Mechanical or Electronic Fuel injection. Safe running rev-limit of 8,000 to 8,500 rpm. Available from street-spec to full-race. Applications of this engine are limited only by your imagination!

Building the Legend can upgrade your Classic Jaguar! From a “refresh”, engine-swap, full-restoration and everything in between.

Public launch:

To hear more about it, why not come and visit us at Race Retro on stand 2-136 21-23 February 2020 | Stoneleigh Park, Coventry

For further information visit: www.BuildingTheLegend.co.uk

Engine Specifications:

  • Capacity:         6.1 L (372 cu in); 6.8 L (415 cu in)
  • Bore x Stroke:  96 x 70 mm (3.8” x 2.8”); 96 x 78.5 mm (3.8” x 3.1”)
  • Power:             250 – 650 hp   (261 – 485 kW)
  • Torque:            300 – 600 lb ft (407 – 813 Nm)
  • Compression:  11.7:1
  • 2-valve, over-square architecture, duplex-chain-driven cams with convenient Vernier adjustment.

Contact details:

For details of pricing, specifications, applications and delivery, please contact:

Neville Swales

Building the Legend

Telephone:      +44791 644 5253

Email:              neville@buildingthelegend.co.uk

Transform your Classic Jaguar.

tera®

“to the power of 12”

from the Greek – “teras” = monster.

Contact us for details https://buildingthelegend.co.uk/make-contact

Looking back to 2015

Building The Legend, XJ13, Neville Swales, Jaguar, LM69, Ecurie Cars

The year is now 2015 and my car is approaching its “rolling chassis” stage – mirroring events of 50 years ago in Jaguar’s Competition Department. It was then 1965 and William Heynes, Jaguar’s Engineering Director still had hopes of seeing the car on track to contest that year’s Le Mans endurance race. Time was short but the skilled team working behind closed doors were used to working to such tight deadlines …

Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend
Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend
Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend
Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend

Let us go back a few years …

1963.

William (“Bill”) Heynes, Jaguar’s Engineering Director takes note of a change to the Le Mans regulations which now open the door to sports/racing prototypes of up to 5.0 litres (305 cu in) in capacity. No doubt, he smiled to himself as he was now in a position to bring a plan he had long kept in the back of his mind to the fore …

Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend - William Heynes
William Heynes of Jaguar

For Bill Heynes, racing engines had always been in his blood. Having left Humber in 1935 where he completed his engineering apprenticeship, Heynes joined William Lyons at SS Cars. Six months later he was working closely with and became one of the prime architects of an overhead-valve conversion for the Standard 6-cylinder engine. The first cars to have this engine installed were known as SS Jaguars. One of these first cars was the SS Jaguar 100. The power unit Heynes had a hand in designing soon powered this car to best performance in the 1936 Alpine Trial – showing these cars were more than just pretty faces.

Ten years later, Bill Heynes combined his talents with Harry Weslake, Walter Hassan and Claude Baily to produce Jaguar’s legendary and long-lived 6-cylinder XK engine – an engine which was to bring Jaguar success, not only in the showroom, but also in the highest-level of competition. Cars powered by these engines still dominate fields in historic racing today. After successes in the 1950s at La Sarthe with the works C-Types and D-Types, Jaguar switched their efforts to road cars and formally retired from racing in 1956 (although the factory continued to support private entrants).

Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend
Left to right: Walter Hassan, William Heynes and Claud Baily of Jaguar

Heynes did not disband Jaguar’s Competition Department and ensured its personnel remained intact after 1956. Key amongst these personnel were Malcolm Sayer who had masterminded the design of the highly-successful C-Type, D-Type and the E-Type prototypes. Another member of this select team was the South African Derrick Whyte, a talented chassis engineer who had cut his teeth at Connaught and became associated with their well-engineered, beautifully-built and superbly-handling cars. The third member of the team was Alex Frick whose expertise lay in tubular chassis frame design.

By 1963 Jaguar were on the brink of a return to racing with their Lightweight E-Types. However, the change in regulations for Le Mans in 1963 meant these beautiful cars would have been completely overwhelmed by the 5-litre prototypes now allowed by the regulations. The way was clear for Bill Heynes to carry out his plan for a full assault at Le Mans with a new mid-engined prototype sports car powered by Jaguar’s own 5-litre quad-cam V12 – an engine which was first and foremost aimed at racing with a possible secondary use in one of Jaguar’s future road cars. Unlike the XK 6-cylinder engine which was aimed fairly and squarely at road use and later modified for racing.

On 9th July 1965, Heynes despatched a young Mike Kimberley to Silverstone to see what he could learn. His brief? To brush up on the latest in Sports Racing Car design to see what the others were doing.

Fast-forward …..

The story and fate of Jaguar’s car designed to carry out this assault at Le Mans is now well-known.

In short …

Only one car was built and circumstances conspired to prevent the car from ever turning a wheel in anger. Construction began in 1965 and the sole example built was completed in 1966. Its breaking of the UK closed-lap circuit record in 1967 in the hands of its main Test & Development Driver David Hobbs, showed its potential. This record was to stand until 1999 until beaten by a McLaren F1 road car.

Many myths and stories have been built up around this legendary car over the years. In recent years, exhaustive and comprehensive research by respected author Peter Wilson has established the facts surrounding this car – research which has been substantiated by interviews of those who were there as well as a mass of surviving contemporary documents and reports. Peter’s book “XJ13 – The definitive story of the Jaguar Le Mans car and the engine that powered it” provides a definitive record and builds on earlier writings from Jaguar historians such as Andrew WhytePaul SkilleterBernard ViartMichael Cognet and Philip Porter.

The car underwent a series of clandestine but official tests arranged by its Project Manager Mike Kimberley (later to become CEO of Lotus Cars). Professional race-driver David Hobbs piloted the car in all official tests, supported by Norman Dewis and Richard Attwood. The one-and-only original was put under wraps in 1967 where it remained until 1971 when it was wheeled out to help publicise the forthcoming Series 3 V12 E-Type. The sad fate of the car in the hands of Norman Dewis is now well-documented. The car was crashed and its mostly-intact underlying structure was clothed in a new body fashioned by skilled craftsmen at Abbey Panels.

The sublimely beautiful lines of Sayer’s masterpiece were altered during the rebuild and the car remains in this altered form to this day. Regularly displayed at prestigious events the car forms a backdrop to Jaguar’s rich heritage and testament to the genius of Malcolm Sayer.

Many replicas of Jaguar’s current car exist although none have yet come close to capturing Sayer’s original 1966 form. Jaguar’s one-and-only altered original was digitally scanned recently and the resultant body is being applied to a GT40-inspired chassis which contains parts of an engine which, although never installed in a car in period, does contain surviving original prototype quad-cam components. This car, however, replicates the car as it stands today with its many differences to the 1966 original.

In 2010, I acquired the only surviving complete original prototype quad-cam V12 built to a specification similar to that of the engine which powered the original car in 1966. Four years of exhaustive and painstaking research have resulted in the accumulation of original and unique data for Jaguar’s original 1966 masterpiece.

What to do with this engine and all this data?

What would YOU do?

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

First of all, the following must be emphasised:

There is, and always has been, one Jaguar XJ13. The car is owned by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. Undoubtedly, their car is unique and has continuous history linking it back to the one and only original. It may have been described as a, Jaguar-built replicaby authors Viart & Cognet in their 1985 book, “Jaguar – A Tradition of Sports Cars” (page 318), with forward by William Lyons himself, but this may be a little unfair as most of the underlying structure was salvaged and re-used. The engine installed in the car today is a different engine to the one originally installed in the XJ13 in the Spring of 1966 but it remains one of the very few prototype quad-cam engines that have survived and was installed in the car in period. OK, the body may be completely new, and different in some respects to the original body, but there can be no doubt that the car gracing the Jaguar Heritage collection can describe itself as the unique Jaguar XJ13.

What Neville is attempting to create can only ever be a facsimile and homage to the original XJ13 and its designer Malcolm Sayer. There is, and always has been, ONE Jaguar XJ13.

Four years of painstaking research – supplemented by interviews with those who were present at the time – resulted in a collection of data which could be used to precisely define the geometry and form of the original 1966 car. Having exhausted information available in Jaguar Heritage’s own archive, additional information was unearthed from records, photographs, reports as well as documentation passed down through the families of surviving relatives. This accumulated mass of data was combined by Neville using computer-aided design techniques to arrive at a digital model of the car and its underlying structure. This data includes the precise location of key mechanical and body components as well as suspension geometry as measured in 1966. The hope is that the finished recreation will duplicate the driving experience and characteristics of the original.

The prospect of actually driving the car under its own power for the first time is something which keeps me awake at night … 🙂

My aim, from the outset, was to attempt to replicate not only the original car but also to follow the build sequence as carried out by Jaguar in their Competition Department. As time went on, both myself and the people entrusted with the build of his recreation came to respect the skills of the original builders more and more. Without doubt, today’s use of computers and rapid-prototyping does make life easier. Wheras I was able to digitally model and “trial-fit” virtual components and body panels on a computer screen, these techniques weren’t available in 1964 and the builders of the original made do with “trial and error” as well as experience born from years of mastery of their craft.

In September of 1964, although there had been no official “go-ahead”, Bob Blake assisted by Geoff Joyce andRoger Shelbourne set about translating Malcolm Sayer’s hand-written data into wooden “buck” which could be used to shape the outer body skin.

Jaguar XJ12 - Building The Legend
Photo taken during the crashed car’s rebuild in 1972/73 showing the original rear body buck in the foreground.

The bucks (two in total – front and rear) were to be sent to Abbey Panels who would form the outer skins leaving Jaguar to fabricate the car’s monocoque/chassis. All they needed now was the formal go-ahead.

I followed a similar process – translating 3D data (and data derived from original technical drawings and photographs) into a “virtual” wooden buck which could be used to shape the outer body skin of my recreation. I was assisted in this process by CAD/3D specialists. Considerable work was needed by the skilled team at my chosen bodyshop to remedy shortcomings in the supplied buck and to ensure faithfulness to the original car but we eventually ended up with something which could be used in the real world! To ensure accurate replication of details such as headlamp apertures, air scoops and windscreen surround, parts of the wooden buck had incorporated solid 3D sections which would be used as “hammer formers”. At this stage, the wooden buck only existed on a computer screen.


©Neville Swales – Digital representation of full-size body buck (third-scale model in foreground). Looks “pretty” but this is only a digital representation needing considerable work by skilled artisans for its use in “the real world”.
©Neville Swales – Close-up of actual buck.
©Neville Swales – Hammer-form nose-cone and headlamp 3D sections.
©Neville Swales – Nose-cone 3D section being CNC machined

Before this virtual buck was turned into reality, I digitally replicated the XJ13’s underlying chassis/monocoque and was able to virtually “trial fit” the body onto it to ensure everything was as it should be.

©Neville Swales – Trial-fitting virtual components
©Neville Swales – Trial-fitting virtual components

I was also able to add suspension components, engine, wheels and tyres etc to ensure everything would fit together without fouling when the digital model became reality. At this stage, it was possible to view the model from every possible angle as well as estimate things like final weight distribution, centre of gravity and the way light would catch the finished body surfaces. These are all things unavailable to Jaguar in 1964 and, instead, would have relied on trial-and-error as well as pure skill. The original builders were truly craftsmen.

Something which certainly wasn’t available to Jaguar in 1964 was the ability to print small-scale 3D models of the body before committing to buck manufacture. It is all very well being able to see things on a computer screen but being a bit “old school”, I didn’t feel comfortable giving the go-ahead to manufacture a full-size buck until I had something I could hold in my hand. Something which could be held and, in theory, be painted so the way it caught the light could be studied. I therefore commissioned a number of small-scale 3D-printed models to give himself greater confidence in the accuracy of the final body. 1/3rd and 1/6th bucks were also produced to show details which may not have been apparent at a smaller scale. These small-scale models did show some shortcomings in the digital data arrived at by my chosen 3D specialist and some manipulation of the data was required to arrive at something more satisfactory. I do recommend the use of 3D-printed models if you are considering taking the same path because things which can look “pretty” on the screen do not always translate ideally into “the real world”. It always helps to have something you can hold in your hand!

Finally, reasonably satisfied with the accuracy of the model, I gave the go-ahead for a full-size buck to be made directly from the CAD data – knowing that it could only represent a “guide” and the skills of the bodyshop would overcome any shortcomings. My faith in the skills of my chosen bodyshop proved to be well-founded.

Meanwhile, back at Jaguar, there was still no formal “go ahead” for the outer body skin to be made by Abbey Panels. The Competition Department staff knew that, if the car was going to be ready for the 1965 Le Mans, they really needed to get on with it. Derrick White pressed Bill Heynes but was told “not yet”. First signs of a lack of urgency around the project were becoming evident. Sadly, knowing what we do now, the best chance of a win at Le Mans would have been in 1965 – before Ford’s GT40 had got into its stride leaving Ferrari as the only serious competition.

As Peter Wilson reports in his book, “XJ13 – The definitive story of the Jaguar Le Mans car and the engine that powered it”,

“… as the surface plate we had in the Competition Department was not large enough, or indeed remotely suitable, Bob Blake, Geoff and Roger constructed a very rigid wooden platform on which to build the monocoque. This consisted of a cross-braced perimeter frame constructed from 9 x 3” timber, topped with ¾ inch thick plywood sheet. It was marked out with ’10 lines’ – lines 10 inches apart, either side of the longitudinal centreline, along the length of the platformand similarly in the transverse direction, from the front ‘zero’ datum point (the centreline of the front wheels). This would enable accurate referencing of each of the myriad of construction reference points defined by Malcom Sayer’s drawings.”

As a further means of ensuring accuracy of the replica monocoque, I turned to his computer again and commissioned a “monocoque buck” based on these reference points which would be precisely located in relation to the ’10 lines’. The originally supplied monocoque buck proved not to be fit for purpose and I commissioned a further buck to ensure faithfulness to the original.

©Neville Swales – Monocoque buck showing ’10 lines’ on baseboard

My chosen bodybuilders, used this monocoque buck to fabricate and build the front and rear suspension sections. We designed his own jigs to precisely locate all suspension components consistent with Jaguar’s original data.

Back in the January of 1965, Bob Blake made a start on the monocoque. At the time, it was believed that it was still possible to have the car up and running in time for Le Mans – although time was very, very tight. The hard-working members of the Competition Department were used to these tight deadlines. For example, work had started on the E2A E-Type Prototype in January of 1960. It was ready to run before the end of February and went on to race at Le Mans in June of the same year.

An XJ13 at the 1965 Le Mans was still a possibility.

The monocoque centre section consisted of the floor and outer sills. These were produced in two halves, as mirror-images of each other and joined along the centreline of the car using a double row of 3/16” dome-headed rivets. The sills had internal stiffeners and were roller-welded along their lengths. The Competition Department didn’t possess equipment to do this themselves so the entire assembly was shipped to Abbey Panels so they could be welded there. The welded sill sections were returned to Jaguar where bulkheads and door apertures were added. The team had been added to by that time by Denys Davies who assisted Derrick White with fabrication of detailed suspension components.

©Neville Swales – Original rear monocoque construction detail
©Jaguar Heritage – Original front monocoque construction detail (reproduced with permission)
©Neville Swales – 2013 vs 1965

Determined to exactly replicate the XJ13 monocoque, we decided to fabricate a “prototype” sill structure in steel just “to get it right” before we fabricated the final version using the (rather expensive) original-spec aluminium.

©Neville Swales – Prototype all-steel monocoque on the originally-supplied monocoque buck (later to be replaced by a more accurate and usable item).
©Neville Swales – Prototype all-steel monocoque
©Neville Swales – Trial-fitting of front suspension on steel prototype monocoque
©Neville Swales – Prototype front suspension on steel prototype monocoque
©Neville Swales – Final monocoque – front suspension detail (NB original XJ13 does not have collapsible steering column section)

This steel prototype has since been destroyed and its place taken by the final aluminium version. As with the original, the front suspension consists of a steel framework riveted to the floor and front bulkhead. After many iterations and failed attempts by Derrick White to persuade Bill Heynes to use a state-of-the-art purpose-designed front suspension setup, Heynes prevailed and the XJ13 was fitted with a modified 1964 Lightweight E-Type front suspension as can be seen in the following picture:

©Jaguar Heritage – Front suspension detail – as 1964 Lightweight E-Type (reproduced with permission)

I replicated the front suspension as far as I was able to arrive at the following:

©Neville Swales – Final monocoque – front suspension detail

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

Jaguar XJ13 – Malcolm Sayer’s Crowning Glory

Building The Legend Limited

“Sayer uniquely blended science and art to produce timeless shapes of exceptional and enduring beauty. He brought science to the art of car design; and scientifically produced works of art.”


21st May 2016 marked the Centenary of the birth of one of this country’s greatest design geniuses. Malcolm Sayer was taken away from us at a relatively young age when he suffered a fatal heart attack, outside Parkside Garage, next to the Regent Hotel in Royal Leamington Spa, 1 month before his 54th birthday.

His legacy is a collection of iconic Jaguar Sports Cars – C-Type, D-Type, E-Type and the sublime XJ13 – the latter being his crowning achievement.

1966 to 2016 – 50 Years

Coinciding with his birthday, the first public “reveal” of my recreation of Sayer’s 1966 XJ13 took place at the London Classic Car Show at the Excel in London. The car is my personal tribute to this great, and perhaps under-appreciated, man whose final resting-place is unknown – even today.

The car replicates Jaguar’s XJ13 as it first left Jaguar’s Competition Department – as Malcolm Sayer envisaged it and before it was crashed and re-skinned in 1972/73.

At the end of 2014, the bark of Jaguar’s legendary No.2 quad-cam V12 engine was heard for the first time in 50 years. The starter was pressed by the same Jim Eastick who started the No.1 engine for the first time in 1964 in the presence of Jaguar’s Bill Heynes – this time, in the presence of Jonathan Heynes, son of the late Bill Heynes.

1916 to 2016 -100 Years

Just over 100 years ago, Gilbert and Annie Sayer became parents to a son they named Malcolm. Malcolm Sayer – a name which was to become synonymous with Jaguar’s classic and most beautiful iconic designs. Malcolm’s birth in 1916 no doubt represented a bright spot in the otherwise dark times during the middle of the First World War in that eastern corner of the UK – Cromer, Norfolk. Malcolm’s father, Gilbert, was a teacher at Great Yarmouth Grammar School where he taught the unusual combination of Maths and Art – certainly a man whose interests would have influenced the direction his son’s career was eventually to take.

Malcolm’s birth, preceded by a German Zeppelin attack on the Eastern Coast of the England, coincided with the introduction of UK Daylight Saving on the 21st May 1916. Cars were relatively few and far between on Norfolk roads with most being made by the Ford, Rover, Wolseley, Morris and Humber car companies. Smaller-volume manufacturers such as Crossley also had offerings. The kind of cars on Britain’s roads around the time the infant took his first steps were similar to those pictured below – a far cry from the designs later to emerge from his pen!

EarlyDays

Malcolm’s Grandson, Sam (Founder of The Malcolm Sayer Foundation) takes up the story:

“From the start he was interested in maths art and science, and despite many childhood illnesses, he was a high academic achiever and gained the prestigious Empire Scholarship* at the early age of 17. This enabled him to attend the then Loughborough College, where he gained a first class honours diploma in Automotive Engineering. He was also Secretary of the College motor Club and for two years Editor of the College Magazine.

After graduation, Malcolm joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company, studying aeronautics and looking at ways of improving the efficiency and design of significant WW2 aircraft, particularly the Blenheim and the Beaufighter; and developing his expertise in aerodynamics as applied to mechanical design. Following the war he married Pat Morgan in 1947 and after his daughter Kate was born in 1948 he went to Iraq to work at Baghdad University. This turned out to only exist on paper, so he worked instead maintaining the fleet of government vehicles.”

*The “Empire Scholarship” referred to above were open to all British subjects living in any part of the Empire. These scholarships awarded the sum of £75 per annum which helped Malcolm complete his studies at the Faculty of Engineering at Loughborough College.

The pictures below show students working using Loughborough College’s wind tunnel during Malcolm Sayer’s years (pictures reproduced with permission from Loughborough University): 

Wind Tunnel – c1936 © Loughborough University
Wind Tunnel – c1936 © Loughborough University
Wind Tunnel – c1936 © Loughborough University

Malcolm Sayer – Aerodynamic Wizard

A few years ago the BBC recorded a tribute to Malcolm Sayer. The program was aired on Radio 4 and presented by Jonathan Glancey. Contributors included Sir Stirling Moss, Lord March of Goodwood, Philip Porter, Peter Wilson, Kate Sayer (Malcolm’s daughter), Jools Holland, Norman Dewis, Mike Kimberley, Mick Walsh and Yours Truly. The following video adds pictures to the radio broadcast:

Bristols

Malcolm Sayer graduated from Loughborough College and joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company on the 22nd September 1938.

According to our friends at Wikipedia …

“The Bristol Aeroplane Company, originally the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, was both one of the first and one of the most important British aviation companies, designing and manufacturing both airframes and aero engines. Notable aircraft produced by the company include the ‘Boxkite’, the Bristol Fighter, the Bulldog, the Blenheim, the Beaufighter, and the Britannia, and much of the preliminary work which led to the Concorde was carried out by the company.”

A few years later there was to be a tenuous link between Malcolm and Jaguar as Norman Dewis OBE was to fly as gunner in Bristol Blenheims. I wonder if Norman and Malcolm ever discussed this when they met up at Jaguar years later?

The Mysterious German

Sayer, by virtue of having a “reserved occupation” at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, was spared National Service during WW2. Instead, he put his skills to good use helping design warplanes and their engines for the Allied war effort. He married Patricia at the end of hostilities. Patricia gave birth to their first daughter, Kate, in 1948. I am sure Kate won’t thank me for mentioning the date … 😉 Malcolm and Patricia later extended their family with another daughter (Mary – 1956) and a son (John – 1953).

Kate Sayer
Malcolm’s First Daughter

In the same year as Kate was born, Malcolm was asked to establish a Faculty of Engineering at Baghdad University. He duly arrived in Iraq only to find the opportunity to create the Faculty didn’t exist! His time wasn’t wasted however and he instead spent a few days alone in the desert by a German Mathematician. he was later joined in Iraq by his wife and new daughter.

Malcolm learnt from the mysterious German and used his teachings to develop his own unique way of defining complex shapes in a purely mathematical way – much as we do nowadays using CAD and computers. He always kept the details of exactly how he did this very close to his chest.

Ex-Jaguar Competition Department and Author Peter Wilson described Sayer’s way of working as follows in his book, “Cat Out of the Bag” (no longer in print):

“Malcolm’s drawings contained no lines per se, but consisted of a matrix of dimensional points defined in three planes from a common base reference point, which defined the outer surface of the skin panel. His method was unique in the motor industry, but more commonplace in the aircraft design world. Malcolm claimed he had been taught this mathematical method of complex curved surface definition by a German, when they spent a few days together in a tent in the desert ….

… It was a system which was relatively easy to use: just a case of marking out the points defined by the coordinates on a sheet of plywood, cutting it out, then assembling each piece relative to its datum on a wooden base and ‘hey presto’, you had a complete skin former …

… Malcolm kept his method of mathematically calculating complex curved surfaces very close to his chest …”

A Legacy

Malcolm Sayer has left us with some of the most beautiful examples of sporting automotive design the world has seen.

Even today, at Jaguar, the essential elements of his designs can be seen in cars such as the C-X75. Jaguar’s concept (which may see production) unashamedly draws on its styling cues from Sayer’s XJ13. Check out the following pictures and video:

© Building The Legend 2016
© Building The Legend 2016
© Building The Legend 2016
© Building The Legend 2016
© Building The Legend 2016
© Building The Legend 2016

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

Today in the Workshop …..

Today in the workshop …

Original 1966 Jaguar V12 Prototype Quad-Cam Engine …. Street-Legal re-created XJ13 …. polished XJ13 in progress … “Building The Legend” Quad-Cam 7.7-litre V12 …. Lightweight E-Type front suspension ….

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

Street-Legal

Jaguar XJ13, Building The Legend, Street-Legal, XJ13, Jaguar

A valuable piece of paper!

A fully road-legal, IVA-tested, 2019-plate car that be driven on the road in the UK (can be registered in other EC and International countries subject to minor formalities).

Imagine it …. a quad-cam V12-powered car that could have squared up to cars on the 1966 Le Mans grid …. and one that can be driven on the road …..

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

Doodling ….

….what might a privateer Jaguar XJ13 have looked like in ’67? …… 1967 Le Mans – the “sweet spot” for some of the most beautiful race-cars in history – the mighty Ford GT40, the sublime Ferrari 330 P4, the gorgeous Porsche 906 – varied entries from marques such as Marcos, Alpine, Abarth, Matra. Truly a special “moment in time” …. Any thoughts?

Jaguar, XJ13, Le Mans, 1967, Ferrari, GT40, P4, 330, Lola, T70, Porsche 906, Building The Legend

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

A bit of cam-timing …

Building The Legend, Quad-Cam, tera-, V12

A bit of cam-timing on our own full-race, quad-cam V12 ……

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

Four car tribute to honour Norman Dewis OBE at The Classic Motor Show

Ecurie Cars
crop-1952-jabbeke-norman-dewis-in-xk120.jpg
Image: Classic Driver

The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club will be paying tribute to legendary Jaguar test development driver, Norman Dewis OBE at the show with the special four-car display (see below), supplied by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and held at the NEC over the weekend of 8-10th November 2019. They celebrate the story of his Jaguar career alongside an exciting new car from Ecurie Ecosse, the LM69 which represents a contemporary evocation of one the most famous cars Norman Dewis worked on.

Norman Dewis, who passed away in June 2019 at the age of 98, was a hero to Jaguar fans and a friend to many in the classic car community. He was chief test driver and development engineer for Jaguar between 1952 and 1985. That 33-year career with Jaguar saw him break the land speed record for production cars in a Jaguar XK120 on the Jabbeke Highway in Belgium in 1953 and, through his long and often dangerous hours of test driving, significantly contributed to the Le Mans wins for Jaguar in the 1950s with the C and D – Types. Norman also raced alongside the greats which included Moss, Hawthorn and Fangio behind the wheel of a works Jaguar D Type.

Norman’s development career spanned the XK140 and XK150, the Mark 2 saloons, the E Type and the first XJ saloon through to the XJ40. In 2014, the adoration of Norman’s fans was recognised on a national scale, when he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, with the support of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and Ecurie Ecosse, has assembled a line-up of four cars that represent key moments in Norman’s career. The prototype Jaguar D Type, the motor show E -Type that he famously drove through the night to Geneva, the unique XJ13 that he developed and was lucky to escape a crash in – all represent key moments in Norman’s life. Furthermore, the lasting legacy of the development work that Norman put into the XJ13 can be seen with the debut at the show of the new Ecurie Ecosse LM69, based on the original XJ13.

Furthermore, throughout the weekend, the club will share interviews and talks from club members, historians, authors and others who knew Norman, to share memories and stories of the much-admired test driver.

James Blackwell, General Manager of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club says, “Our Jaguar loving community has lost a dear friend, colleague and hero in Norman. His stories captivated and inspired us all in the club and he was wonderful company, a man who never took his foot off the gas. It felt important to everyone in the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club to say goodbye to our hero by working with our friends at Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, who have supplied this stunning line up of cars. With their help, we will transform our car club display stand at this year’s NEC Lancaster Classic Motor Show with Discovery, into a tribute to Norman’s incredible life.”

“We are really excited to premiere the Ecurie Ecosse LM69 at the show, a stunning new car, guaranteed to create a stir. We felt that the LM69 is a great embodiment of the lasting legacy of Norman’s work on the XJ13 back in the 1960s.”

Norman Dewis OBE was a one of a kind. He came from an era when racing and test drivers alike were heroes. When the boundaries of technology and engineering were pushed aside and broken through, whilst wearing a shirt and tie. Norman was one of the most highly respected drivers and engineers that has ever lived, he had a special talent for assessing the handling of car and how it might be improved. He was tenacious and hard working with an enviable determination to achieve and exceed the goals that Jaguar set for him. The likes of Norman Dewis will never be seen again, so come and join the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club at the 2019 Lancaster Classic Motor Show with Discovery to celebrate the life of the friend, hero and inspiration to Jaguar fans everywhere, Norman Dewis OBE.

The cars in detail

Source: Octane Magazine
Jaguar D Type – OVC 501

Source: Octane Magazine

Jaguar D Type – OVC 501
The first car in the line-up will be Jaguar’s prototype D Type, OVC 501 from 1954. This is a truly unique car and is the factory prototype for the machine which brought Jaguar a hat-trick of victories from 1955 to 1957 thanks, in large part, to the development work and testing undertaken by Norman Dewis. Norman put the car through a rigorous programme of tests in which he found problems with the engine, gearbox and steering, all of which were quickly rectified. Capable of 190mph on the circuit, this car was also driveable on the road, which Norman did, as all the works cars were driven from Coventry to Dover, onto the ferry, and then down public roads to the Circuit De La Sarthe, Le Mans.

Source: Jaguar Belgium
Jaguar E Type – 77RW

Jaguar E Type – 77RW
In March 1961, an icon was launched at the Geneva Motor Show, the Jaguar E Type. This car is the subject of one of Norman’s most famous stories. Norman drove it out to Geneva from Coventry, non-stop through the night, to satisfy the unprecedented demand for press test drives at the motor show launch. The epic trip, saw him embark upon a dramatic 12-hour overnight endurance run, making it in time for the launch at 10 am the next morning. 77 RW is now the oldest surviving open E-types and was the car that launched one of the symbols of 1960s motoring. Most recently, the car was the wedding transport for Pippa Middleton’s marriage to James Matthews.

Source: Classic Driver
Jaguar XJ13

Jaguar XJ13
There was only ever one XJ13 ever built and it will be on display as part of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club tribute to Norman Dewis. It was built as a contender to the likes of Ferrari and Ford at Le Mans, but never it raced. XJ13, which was Jaguar’s first mid-engined car, spent four years sitting under covers at the factory after development was canned due to a change in the motor sport regulations. However, in 1971 it was used in a film for the E Type V12 launch, shot at the MIRA test track. Naturally, Norman Dewis was at the wheel, but as he was coming in after filming, the car suffered a puncture on the banking which sent it crashing into the track’s retaining fence. It was a spectacular accident, resulting in Norman flipping end-over-end twice, rolling twice, then landing back on his wheels. Ever the professional and never strapped in, Norman managed to hide under the scuttle and turn off the ignition and as a result, was lucky to survive. He not only escaped unhurt but was also back at work the very next day! The car was later rebuilt and retired to a gentler life.

Source: Design Q
Ecurie Ecosse LM69

Ecurie Ecosse LM69
Fifty years on from the completion of the XJ13, the legacy of the car that Norman helped to develop lives on in the incredibly exciting new LM69, by Ecurie Ecosse. Launched in September, this will be the car’s first ever appearance at the Classic Motor Show held at the NEC Birmingham. Ecurie Ecosse will only be hand-building 25 in Coventry, in keeping with the FIA Homologation requirements of 1969 for running prototypes at Le Mans of over 3000cc. The “Building The Legend” quad-cam V12 is the heart of the car, designed to evoke the experience of driving at Le Mans. However, unlike the original XJ13 – this is fully road legal. Ecurie Ecosse have developed the car to a strict and unique brief which saw them adhering to the regulations of 1969, featuring only design details and technology that entered motorsport at that time. Composite materials have been used, it’s lighter than the original XJ13 and it boasts experimental aerodynamic devices, wider wheels and a multitude of engine improvements. This is a great opportunity to see this new, exciting car that celebrates the legacy of the XJ13 and the work of Norman Dewis for modern times on the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club stand.


Ecurie Cars Logo.png

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.

David Hobbs – Jaguar XJ13’s Test Driver

David Hobbs

Hang on – I thought Norman Dewis was the XJ13’s test driver?

Noooo …. a common misconception but, in truth, the legendary Mr Dewis did not participate in all the tests. Contrary to popular belief, there were no “unofficial” tests and the car was driven at all of its outings during active development by David Hobbs. It is believed the car was never taken to Bruntingthorpe or, indeed, any other venues besides MIRA and Silverstone – again, despite claims to the contrary. Hobbs was joined on some of the occasions by Norman Dewis but the latter was entirely absent during the culminating high-speed trials at Silverstone in 1967 where Hobbs was paired with race-driver and former apprentice Richard “Dickie” Attwood.

Four years after the end of the project, the car was driven by Norman Dewis at MIRA to help publicise Jaguar’s forthcoming V12 E-Type but the results of that particular outing are well-documented … here and here

From the outset, Jaguar realised that a car such as the XJ13 called for experienced racing drivers to assist with testing and development. There is evidence that William Heynes (Jaguar’s Chief Engineer) approached Sir Jack Brabham early in 1965 as evidenced by the following letter:

Letter from Jack Brabham to William Heynes conforming his willingness to assist with “high speed testing” of Jaguar’s new sports car. The “new sports car” in 1965 can only have been the XJ13 on which manufacture was about to commence.

In the end, Jaguar called on the services of former Jaguar apprentices David “Hobbo” Hobbs and Richard “Dickie” Attwood. In Lofty England’s own words (as published in the February 1993 edition of “Jaguar Driver” published by the Jaguar Drivers’ Club):

Lofty England of Jaguar
“Lofty” England

“… I strongly doubt if Mike Kimberley who was in charge of the XJ13 project took the car to MIRA for Dewis to test contrary to Sir Williams’ orders, possibly Bill Heynes had not informed Kimberley … we tested the car at MIRA … with David Hobbs driving and then took it to Silverstone where my old friend Jimmy Brown who ran Silverstone ensured there were no watchful eyes. We used David Hobbs for the MIRA tests since he had considerable experience of driving large-engined mid-engined cars in Cam Am races and for the Silverstone tests also used Richard Attwood both ex Jaguar apprentices and very experienced Le Mans Drivers. By the time these tests were made the car was some years old in which time there had been considerable development with tyres, brakes and suspension and to have made the car really competitive a lot of re-design would have been necessary so having learnt a lot the car was “put on ice”.

When we were about to introduce the Series 3 E-Type with V12 engine a short film was being made covering the development of the V12 engine and I was asked by Andrew Whyte to permit the use of the XJ13 to produce the right sort of background noise – that lovely-sounding V12 engine. I agreed on the very clear understanding that no high-speed running would be involved – all that was necessary was to go past the microphone at not more than 100mph using a low gear and high rpm.

I think that Norman Dewis had probably been put out by us using David Hobbs who had gone very quickly at MIRA and decided that he would see how fast he could get round – against my instructions. In doing this he hit one of the posts at the top of the banking which indented the body below the wheel hub line starting at the front of the rear wheel arch and taking a piece out of the rear wheel rim after which the tyre went flat and you know the rest …”

So just who is this David Hobbs?

David “Hobbo” Hobbs

David’s Wikipedia entry reads:

“David Wishart Hobbs (born 9 June 1939 in England) is a British former racing driver. Originally employed as a commentator for the “Speed” Channel, he currently works as a commentator for the NBC Sports Network. In 1969 Hobbs was included in the FIA list of graded drivers, an élite group of 27 drivers who by their achievements were rated the best in the world.”

But there is a bit more to it than that …

David Hobbs’ career began with the Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupé which was his father’s road car which had been fitted with the “Hobbs Automatic Transmission” – a transmission designed by his father who was a gifted engineer. Hobbs had already raced a Morris Oxford which had also been fitted with the Hobbs Transmission but had his heart set on racing his father’s Jaguar – although, in Hobbs’ own words, .. I can’t say it was a particularly mutual feeling between father and I …“! He did race his father’s XK140 at the Oulton Park Spring Meeting in 1960 where he managed to turn it over on the last lap! Much to David’s chagrin, many people still remember that incident and associate it with their memories of him. David survived unscathed although there was some damage to his dad’s car – which I imagine didn’t go down too well …

David Hobbs’ Jaguar XK140 which was rebodied after its accident by Freddie Owen and sprinted by Owen and Dick Tindell

To make matters worse, when David drove the rather battle-worn car home that day, the bonnet flew open and inflicted further damage to the car destroying what was left of the windscreen. David recounts, ” … after that, Dad was a bit upset and said – well, you shagged it you may as well fix it!”. Hobbs had the car rebuilt and painted in a matt finish. He had, by now, joined Jaguar as an apprentice and so had the contacts and wherewithall to uprate it for racing – starting with some decent racing tyres. He reported that he “borrowed” some disc brakes and, .. borrowed a couple of other things … and ultimately that car was quite quick”.

He said, I ended up with the ‘gold-top’ head with triple carburettor set-up and had some decent wire wheels. I put some anti-tramp rods on the back-axle, took all the interior out (or what was left of it) and got its weight down a bit”. Hobbs goes on to say, I raced like that in 1960 and ended up with four wins of one sort or another. One was a handicap race at Goodwood and other wins at Oulton and Silverstone.”  David had his heart set on the Clubman’s Championship at Silverstone which would give him the chance to drive the big circuit.

In 1961 Hobbs raced a Lotus Elite and he recalls that although I was still working as an apprentice at Jaguar, I took a lot of time off to race much to the disgust of my Supervisor“. He nearly got to drive a Jaguar again at the end of 1961 because he had a call from Mr England who asked if I would like to go to Oulton Park to drive John Coomb’s E-Type. So I rushed up to Oulton and, with a typical Hobbs piece of luck, of all people, Jack Sear’s Ferrari fell off the trailer whilst getting ready for the same race which was a support race for the Grand Prix. So Jack Sears ended up driving the E-Type instead of me – being a close friend of John Coombs and all. They let me drive in practice a bit which went very well – I was very impressed with it.”

David says“Shortly after that I tested at Silverstone with Mike Parr  and Mike McDowell who was Competition Manager at Jaguar then. I tested Cunningham’s E-Type. Cunningham had a rather special E-Type with a flared tail like a D-Type. It was one of his Le Mans cars. Parr tested it and I tested it. That was really the first time I had driven a powerful car. I had a lurid slide going through Abbey. I slid this car from just past the apex – a great long slide with all four wheels locked – ending up at the feet of Mike Parr and Mike McDowell”. Hobbs grinned and said, “Good Afternoon gentlemen.” Unfortunately, Hobbs’ slide flat-spotted all four tyres and they didn’t have any spares. The car was loaded onto a trailer and took it back to Coventry. That was the first time David Hobbs had driven a Jaguar other than a 140 – not the best of starts!

Hobbs married at the end of 1961 and left Jaguar because his apprenticeship had finished. He says, Lofty England put in a good word for me with Peter Berry and I drove his E-Type in 1962 as well as his 3.8 saloon. I drove the saloon in the British Saloon Car Championship as well as a number of GT races”. David goes on to say that Pete Berry’s cars were never the best – “always a day late and a dollar short. We were always a couple of steps behind the competition. The Ferrari GTOs were around then. There’s no doubt about it – the Coombs car and Tommy Sopwith’s car were quicker vehicles and I didn’t have any success in Peter Berry’s car. In fact, in about June he gave up racing and took up flying instead. So that was a bit of a short season!”. 

David remembers his first race in 1962 with Pete Berry’s E-Type as follows:

Our first race was the inaugral Daytona 3-hour. The fore-runner of the 24-hour … That was interesting –  I had never been to America before (certainly places like Daytona were real ‘red-neck’ country)…. Jimmy Clark was there racing for Colin Chapman. Chapman rang up and asked if Clark could drive my Lotus Elise in the same race because it was about the best that was going at the time. So Jimmy and I shared a room – he drove my Elise and I drove Pete Berry’s E-Type … he did very well but I only managed five laps before the fuel pump packed up. Jimmy was leading the class by a minute, minute-and-a-half. He came in for a pit-stop and the bloody thing wouldn’t start. After that, he and I both tested a Ford Galaxy for the Daytona 500.” Hobbs laughs and modestly says that Peter Berry had really built him up – saying he was Saloon Car Champion and all sorts of incredible stories – all of which they took in. We both tested for a Galaxy run by Holman & Moody. We both went quite quick and both turned in laps of about 155 which, at that stage, was the fastest I had ever been in a straight line let alone around a racetrack!”Hobbs recalls, Pole that year was ‘Fireball Roberts’ in a Pontiac at 159. In the end they seemed to have decided that us two limeys weren’t big enough or strong enough to drive their stock-cars”.

Fast-Forward to 1967 and Hobbs’ Encounter with the XJ13

Hobbs competed in a variety of races in the US and the UK before he was summoned by Lofty England of Jaguar in 1967. The following transcript was taken from when Hobbs was interviewed by Philip Turner (former UK “Motor” Sports Editor). This is a previously unknown interview and is published here for the first time.

Hobbs The next time I drove a Jag was some years later … 67. Got a call from Lofty again. Would I like to come to MIRA? About 6 o’clock on Sunday morning. That was the XJ13. The original V12.

Turner Was it a surprise? Did you know about it already?

Hobbs Well I knew about it inasmuch basically they had started it before I left Jaguar in 1962. I mean the thing had been kicking around since then. In fact, when I tested in 1967, I’m not exactly sure of dates and things here, but I got a feeling it had been “under wraps” at that date for about two years. 

Turner Kept under a dust-sheet in Experimental. When I went to ….

Hobbs When they finally decided to run it, it had already been built for some time. At least a year or two and they started to build it when I left in 62. And, I think, wotsisname, Norman Dewis wanted to … but they decided that, to test it, they really outta get a racing driver. Although going round MIRA, really, was particularly tame for a racing driver of course. And we went there four or five days actually. And, the lad in charge, of course was Mike Kimberley. And now your actual Managing Director of Lotus. He was just a lad then. Old Mike. Always tapping his teeth with the end of his pencil and saying, “what is it doing going over the bumps? .. would you say it wants more in or more out?”. And it was pretty basic. I mean it had the Dunlop Racing tyres of five years previously and the old Dunlop disc brakes. Pressed steel D-Type wheels. It had E-Type front suspension – rubber-mounted – polybushes – and it had the E-Type rear suspension.

Beautiful-looking thing. And a helluva engine of course cos that was a four-cam. It really gave a lot of horsepower. It gave about 500 … 525? 

Turner About 500.

Hobbs Yeah. It gave quite a lot of horsepower. It went extremely fast. We went to MIRA about four or five times. Sir William came once .. Mr Heynes used to watch it. Then they made the decision to drive it at Silverstone so they decided to get two drivers – me and Richard Attwood, another Jaguar apprentice. So off we go to Silverstone and I can’t remember the exact times but I think we did round about a 1:36 – 1:35 – 1:36. The lap record at the time was help by Paul Hawkins in his red GT40 – about 32 or 33. So we weren’t all that far off the pace. If you consider it had these old pads, old wheels, old brakes. The suspension flexed far too much of course. And of course it had no attempt at any sort of spoilers on it. Very sleek. It was incredibly quick of course down the straights.

Richard and I gave a job list of things to do. We wanted wider tyres – we wanted modern wide wheels for a start and modern racing tyres. I think those two alone would have seen us down to the lap record. And another … I seem to remember the bias front to rear brakes was poor. It wanted a lot of, you know, a good tidying up. We reckoned it would have been quick. 

They went back to the factory and, at that time, the take-over … and that was the beginning of the decline of Jaguar Cars. Really sad. Along with the whole of Leyland. The whole place just ground down. They had no idea of the innovations – they were all just numbers-men – counters. As far as making cars that people wanted they just didn’t have a clue. 

They put it under a dust sheet and it stayed there. Until Norman Dewis took it to MIRA. He’d always been a little bit piqued that he hadn’t been allowed to drive the car in the first place. Of course he rolled it into a little ball. The one that you see now, of course, is a complete rebuild.

But the car, and there’s no doubt about it, but Jaguar were beset with the same problems – mental problems – then, as they have now. They can’t go to Le Mans unless they could guarantee winning and everybody said so. Clearly, you can never guarantee winning the race. The only way you can get close to it is to go! You can test, and test and test until you are black in the face but you really aren’t going to know just how the car is going to perform You are just going to have to go. To win the race you are going to have to go.

But I really think the car would have been an absolute wow. I mean, at Le Mans, the thing would have had it. Because the GT40 in those days was an iron-block Ford that was only giving about 300 brake horsepower. I mean, this thing gave nearly 200 horsepower more than the GT40. There’s no doubt about it, it wouldn’t have been as quick as the Mark 2s, which of course raced in ’67. But it would have been very fast and, just by updating it, cos I’m sure it had been sitting in the shop for a couple of years – just by updating it.

But they had a problem. You’ve got to use Firestone or Goodyear racing tyres for example … Dunlop weren’t making good racing tyres then … for that type of stuff … 

Turner You did 160? It’s still the record isn’t it?

Hobbs It is. Yes.

Turner Did it feel incredibly quick?

Hobbs It seemed pretty quick. Smoother. 

Turner Acceleration along the straights then braking for the bends? Braking quite hard? Or?

Hobbs Not really, no. 

Turner Was it enough to lift off?

Hobbs It was quite quick.

Turner I’ve been around at 120 but not much more and even that felt fairly fast.

Hobbs Yes – very narrow isn’t it? …. 

Turner So – what did going down the straights feel like?

Hobbs At the straight at Silverstone I would bet we were doing about 150. And, of course, lap speeds of 1:36 is very quick. I don’t know what it is, 1:36? Have to look at a lap chart. A Group C now does about 1:15 .. so … 36 is quite a lot slower.

I think, the way it went, and the way that lap record stood at the time , I think with some mods and if we sat down and made a racing car I think we would have just about cracked 1:30 – probably high 1:20s … 

Turner What was it like aerodynamically?

Hobbs Very fast but no downforce of course. No downforce at all.

Turner Was it lifting at all?

Hobbs Well it probably was but it behaved like a normal racing car of the time. But, there again, the GT40s did have some downforce. They started to have downforce. Well, that was just about the time when people were just starting to tweak downforce. It grew spoilers on the back and stuff like that. The Jaguar was as clean as a whistle. You’d have probably found if you’d put some little Lola-type front spoilers on it and one on the back it would have been absolutely quick around the circuit. To be sure. Malcolm Sayer was the stylist who designed it of course and things like that would have been an anathema to him. The clean bullet-shape was the shape that racing cars were supposed to be and he might have taken a bit of persuading to get any sort of spoiler. Which, in those days, although the word wasn’t applied, was a spoiler…. See the Lola, T70, by then had the big spoiler on the back and a little spoiler on the front…. So I’m sure a little spoiler would have given a big advantage. And they hadn’t even started …

So – it seems this Hobbs is quite a special driver?

Undoubtedly so. Hobbs’ modesty shines through in his interviews but, to find the true story of his many successes, we have to look no further than his career racing history:

FORMULA ONE 

24 HOURS OF LE MANS 

INDY 500

What is David Hobbs up to Nowadays?

Hobbs provides commentary for Formula One and GP2 races (alongside Leigh Diffey and former Benetton mechanic Steve Matchett), the SCCA Valvoline runoffs, and parts of the 24 Hours of Daytona. He has also worked for CBS on its Daytona 500 coverage, working as both a color commentator and a feature/pit reporter from 1979 until 1995, and then moved to Speed in 1996 working as a color commentator and then moved to NBC Sports Network in 2013.

David Hobbs appeared in the 1983 comedy film Stroker Ace, playing a TV race announcer. Hobbs appeared in the Cars 2 movie, which premiered in June 2011, as announcer “David Hobbscap”, a 1963 Jaguar from Hobbs’ real life hometown in England.

The words Jaguar, Jaguar XJ13, XJ13 are used in a historical/descriptive context and in no way suggest our recreations/replicas are approved by Jaguar. It is widely known that there was only ever one Jaguar XJ13 and any others can only ever be replicas, facsimilies, tributes, recreations, toolroom copies or similar.