Is the 12-cylinder engine dead?

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

A week before the public launch of our tera® quad-cam V12 at Race Retro outside Coventry and I asked myself, “Is the 12-cylinder engine dead?” I was about to introduce 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. But why did I embark on this craziness? Why design and build a V12 engine? Why the name “tera®”?

The last question is easily answered ….Can you think of a better name for one of these engines?

The tera® – “to the power of 12”.
© Neville Swales

Naturally-aspirated and boasting a capacity of 6.1 or 6.8-litres (372 or 488 cu in) with power and torque in abundance. An electric motor may silently propel you forward more swiftly but certainly not with such a big smile on your face ….

When BMW M CEO Markus Flasch was recently asked if the BMW V12 had any life in it, he answered, “Beyond what we have, I don’t believe we will see a new twelve-cylinder model in the foreseeable future.” With the likes of Ferrari downsizing V12 models to a twin-turbo V8 and Lamborghini considering a V8 for their 2024 Aventador, we can be forgiven for thinking that the 12-cylinder is a powerplant of the past.

I completely understand that it’s not easy to justify 12 pistons these days …but, then, sit in the cockpit of a Ferrari 812 Superfast, a Pagani Huayra, or an Aston Martin DB11, or, dare I say it, …stand alongside a tera® … and put a finger to the start button.

Then listen to the resulting sound.

That, sir or madam, friends and fellow-enthusiasts, is the sound of life. The song of a living and breathing entity, the most soulful mechanical invention since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. That is the melody of a dozen cylinders working in harmony, full of anima (the part of the psyche which is directed inwards, in touch with the subconscious) and heart and fury.

Even if it’s no longer the obvious choice (or even the most logical), the 12-cylinder lives …

In the past, a 12-cylinder engine was the only certain way to guarantee power and refinement. They propelled the fighter planes of World War I and II, and motivated early automobiles from Sunbeam to Packard to Cadillac. The Ferrari V12 was — and is — considered a hallowed Italian treasure, at least equal to anything inside the walls of the Vatican.

The late Cecil (Sam) Clutton , CBE wrote after driving a Hispano-Suiza Twelve, “There is an indefinable magic about every V12 I have driven, whether it is this one, or the [Rolls-Royce] PIII, or the splendid Packard, or the one-and-only 10 ½ -litre world speed record Delage”.

In this era, a V12 is no longer a necessity. All those super-chargers and turbo-chargers coax as much or even more power from smaller, more efficient engines which are lighter and less complicated.

This means that buying a car equipped with a V12 becomes a matter of CHOICE. You opt in because — just like the best watches — you love the connection with a long and wonderful history, a bridge from one bygone era to today—a little bit of a Supermarine Spitfire fighter lives on in your garage. It comes from the heart.

Supermarine Spitfire

Wasn’t it Enzo Ferrari who proclaimed,” Every man should plant a tree, father a child and drive a V12 once in his life”?

Try to explain the magic of a V12 to a novice, and you may talk about the boundless torque, the ability to rev into the stratosphere, and the smooth delivery of power.

But soon enough you’ll turn to the sound, the defining element which simply can’t be recreated by a trick turbo. While each car model has its own personality, they share a glorious commonality. The smooth, basso profundo rumble at the start is followed by a rise in pitch and decibels as you coax the revs higher and higher.

Damon Hill said, “I don’t know what it is about V12s, but this arrangement delivers a peculiar pulse that is the sonic equivalent of strawberry mousse and cream”. “When I hear your 12 cylinders”, wrote conductor Herbert von Karajan to Enzo Ferrari, “I hear a burst of harmony that no conductor could ever re-create”.

At full tilt, a V12 produces a howl so sharp that it could cut meat from bone. And with a wide-open throttle, a roaring V12 resonates throughout the entire frame of a vehicle. It’s all around you—even your sternum vibrates like a tuning fork.

With the throttle pinned, the engine sends a thrum through the entire car – irrepressible, exultant…. magical.

The 12-cylinder lives

Perhaps the above goes some way to answering “why did I embark on this craziness?” It’s something that “just had to be done” … I’m sure most of my friends will “get it”. After all, for how much longer will we be able to buy one of these wonderful engines? As the large car manufacturers, egged on by vested interests and their governments rush headlong towards an all-electric future, our choices will become increasingly limited.

The tera® – sculptural form.
© Neville Swales

OK, so where did this idea for the tera® come from?

From the outset, the tera® aims to be a beautifully sculptural engine and unashamedly “of the period”. An engine 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 return the company to its glory days of Le Mans triumphs and domination. Before any of our “friends” at Jaguar make any sort of claims about the tera’s® origins, I should emphasise that the tera® is NOT a replica or copy of Jaguar’s prototype quad-cam V12 engine. Instead, it draws its inspiration from Baily’s stillborn engine as well as other engines of the period. Baily’s engine was meant to power the car which should have returned Jaguar to Le Mans – the XJ13 – also stillborn. The one-off car was destined to never turn a wheel in anger and the potential of Baily’s mighty power-unit was never fully realised. Instead, the company 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.”

Bizzarrini_Lamborghini_Dallara

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 …

ferruccio lamborghinis v12

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.

The engine’s weight is similar to the classic iron-blocked 6-cyl engine . It can be installed in cars as diverse as the S3 V12 E-Type, XJ12 Coupe, V12 XJS and many other classic Jaguar saloons such as 420G and Mk10. It can even be installed in 6-cylinder cars with some modification (6-cyl E-Types included). Quad-Cam V12-powered XK120 anyone? Or a twin-engine power boat? The engine does bear cosmetic similarities to those powering classic V12 Lamborghinis and Ferraris ….

Applications of this engine are limited only by your imagination!

Matra V12 re-creation anyone?

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: 350 – 650 hp (261 – 485 kW)
Torque: 300 – 600 lb ft (407 – 813 Nm)
Compression: 12.7:1
2-valve, over-square architecture, duplex-chain-driven cams with convenient Vernier adjustment.

A Bit of Background …

Before the V12, Jaguar’s racing and practically all road cars were powered by the powerful and renowned XK straight-six double overhead-cam unit. This engine had its origins in pencilled sketches drawn during the Coventry Blitz by Sir William Lyons and his engine designers; William Heynes (Chief Engineer), Walter Hassan and Claude Baily. These sketches and original designs were followed by working prototypes as early as 1943. The first 3,442cc production unit saw the light of day in the beautiful XK120 of 1947. The same basic engine continued production into the 1990s.

As can be seen from the original drawing from my own archive reproduced below, Jaguar ended up with a design where both inlet and exhaust valves were inclined towards the centre-line of the hemispherical combustion chamber at 35°. This was changed to 30° inlet and 45° exhaust for the ultimate “wide angle” head used in racing engines. The valve angle was modified simply to allow the use of larger inlet valves.

Original Drawing of the very first 6-cylinder “XK” 3½-litre 35°/35°
© Neville Swales

In the 1950s/60s this hemispherical type of combustion chamber was considered ideal for high-performance engines because of reduced valve “shrouding” compared to a “flat-head” design and a low surface-area to volume ratio. As can be seen from the following photo taken of a head I sectioned, the ports and valves were arranged more or less in-line across the engine. However, Harry Weslake worked closely with Jaguar when the engine was being designed and he introduced a curvature to the inlet port in an attempt to allow charge movement inside the cylinder (“swirl”). This was done to aid combustion efficiency and is evident in the photo.

Sectioned Jaguar XK Cylinder Head – “Curved” inlet port on right
© Neville Swales

Weslake’s modification, whilst introducing swirl, was compromised by the need to place the spark-plug off to the side so as not to interfere with the valves. A central spark-plug would have been ideal in this situation. Many designers of similar engines tried to improve the situation by introducing a second spark-plug on the other side of the chamber but this was never really successful. As owners of XK-engined cars will testify, these engines seem to prefer richer mixtures and rather a lot of ignition advance (10° and more). This generally indicates combustion is not as good as it could be. In the end, Jaguar’s “wide-angle” racing head probably reached the end of its potential because it could breathe better than it could burn.

Food for thought …

A bit more food for thought

See the very limited water passages in the above photo as well as the large amounts of metal in the casting? Square exhaust ports? Nowadays, and especially with the advent of 3D visualisation using tools such as CAD, it is possible to design optimal ports and heads with far greater and more efficient cooling surfaces – as well as optimal air flow characteristics.

Wheras the thinnest port walls in the XK head are more than 10mm thick, today’s cylinder heads tend to be closer to 4.5/5.0mm with considerably increased cooling surfaces. Whilst I don’t pretend to be any sort of expert in this field (in no way!), it seems to me that the port shapes, by today’s standards, could also be improved?

One thing which did work in the 6-cylinder engine’s favour may have been the side-entry and curvature of the inlet port which assisted combustion. In common with other engine designers of the period, Jaguar’s Claude Baily anticipated that further improvements could be made to this basic design by making use of down-draft porting. Baily adopted this when he designed his successor to the XK engine – the quad-cam V12. In theory, there just had to be a benefit of down-draft porting but Baily (and other designers) found these benefits weren’t achieved in practice. Flow may have been excellent but this arrangement simply didn’t allow useful swirl/charge-movement within the cylinder and combustion suffered as a result. Others who wandered down this cul-de-sac included Ferrari, BRM, Matra and Ford – Jaguar wasn’t alone in this.

Baily’s prototype quad-cam engine showing down-draft arrangement
© Neville Swales

A breakthrough came from work carried out by GM’s Sam Heron in the 1950s (Heron became famous for his work with aircraft piston engines and the sodium-cooled exhaust valve). Rover were probably the first to adopt his scheme which consisted of a flat cylinder head with the combustion chamber in the piston crown – a feature later adopted by Jaguar in their first SOHC V12 engines.

These heads became known as “Heron Heads”. In the mid-1960s Ford (of England) adopted the Heron layout for their entire range of engines. A close relative of the Heron layout was the very successful Repco V8 engine that powered Jack Brabham’s team to two F1 World Championships in 1966/67. Why was this basic layout found to be better? The increased combustion efficiency as a result of increased swirl and charge-movement may have pointed the way. It is all very well having superb flow, but this is to no avail unless the charge can be adequately and rapidly burnt.

Heron Head

Jaguar later improved the efficiency of their V12 further by adopting Michael May’s “Fireball” combustion chamber. In this design, the exhaust valve is deeply recessed into the head, forming a compact oval chamber with the spark plug at one end. As the piston advances up the bore it forces some of the charge into a shallow channel around the flush inlet valve from where it is squeezed tangentially. This creates a high-speed vortex in the combustion chamber – LOTS of movement and “squish” here …

Jaguar’s “Fireball” HE Combustion Chamber

Could it be possible to design a down-draft, hemispherical head with the necessary degree of charge-movement to allow combustion to match this design’s superior flow characteristics?

More food for thought …

The tera® Project – Ground Rules

The plan was to end up with a quad-cam V12 inspired by Jaguar’s prototype “XJ13” V12. We aren’t trying to re-invent any wheels here or produce anything approaching “state of the art” but, instead, a reliable fast-road/race engine which shares the same basic architecture of Baily’s prototype quad-cam and Jaguar’s legendary XK 6-cylinder engine (as well as others of the period). To this end, we are setting ourselves some basic ground rules:

  • We are producing cylinder heads only. These heads will bolt directly onto Jaguar’s later SOHC V12 block. This means the heads may have applications other than the XJ13 – twin-V12-engined off-shore powerboat anyone? Quad-Cam XK120?
  • Whilst remaining true to the basic architecture of Baily’s quad-cam (as well as others of the period), opportunities to improve gas flow, combustion and overall efficiency in the light of current knowledge were taken. Whilst cosmetically similar, these will not be exact copies of Jaguar’s quad-cam prototype engine.
  • As was the case with the original XJ13 engine, cam drive is via duplex chain.
  • Two-valve, hemispherical head design.
  • Fully programmable fuel injection & ignition (prototype quad-cam uses a pair of 6-cyl distributors and Lucas mechanical fuel metering unit – the engine is designed to offer this an option too).
  • Normally aspirated.
tera® installed in a S3 E-Type (no bodywork mods needed)
© Neville Swales

First Steps

Because we were starting with an almost clean sheet of paper, we had the opportunity to go back to first principles and consider things such as optimal valve sizes, port configuration, charge movement and spark-plug positioning etc.

The first step was to draw up a pair of heads combining a SOHC V12 mounting face with the basic 6-cyl DOHC design just to see if everything could be made to fit. After all, we don’t want to end up with head studs coinciding with inlet/exhaust ports! Also, we needed to make sure it was practicable and possible to mate up with existing SOHC V12 oil and water passageways. There are also practical considerations to consider such as being able to access head nuts – bearing in mind each SOHC V12 head is fastened down by four rows of head studs but only two in the prototype quad-cam and XK 6-cyl.
The V12 head is not only longer than the 6-cyl head, but the bore positions are different. (Incidentally, the SOHC V12 shares the same bore spacing as the prototype quad-cam – a SOHC crankshaft fits). Positions of water and oil passages are very different between the XK 6-cyl and SOHC V12. The biggest challenge was combining the two heads so that the V12 stud pattern was maintained. It became evident very early on that the new quad-cam engine will have unique cam covers as well as custom cams.

tera® designed using CAD
© Neville Swales

The following pictures of the prototype quad-cam V12 show what we hoped to end up with – or, at least, something close:

Jaguar’s Prototype Quad-Cam – RH Head
© Neville Swales
Jaguar’s Prototype Quad-Cam – LH Head Note offset inlet ports and recessed access to spark-plugs (a pig to get at when fully assembled!). This is one of many aspects improved during development of the tera ®
© Neville Swales

In contrast to the 6-cyl XK head and the SOHC V12, oil is fed to the quad-cam heads via a drilling passing from the gallery to each head. The later SOHC V12 scheme will probably be used in the new engine. The new engine will probably use separate cam bearings as with the 6-cyl XK head (no cam bearings in the SOHC V12). The following pictures show the general layout of these initial designs. They are just preliminary designs with no attempt to optimise things like port configuration, spark-plug location etc. They showed it would be possible to design our own heads which would bolt straight on to the SOHC block. Discussions with a local foundry highlighted consideration we need to build into the design. Further discussions with pattern-makers confirmed it will be possible to produce the necessary patterns etc.

Jaguar’s Prototype Quad-Cam – LH Head Detail.
© Neville Swales
Note positions of outer studs for SOHC block on exhaust face. Round exhaust ports as opposed to rectangular ones on the XK 6-cyl head.
© Neville Swales
Experimenting with spark-plug location – improved access as well as better positioning in combustion chamber.
© Neville Swales
Experimenting with design for maximum coolant flow and reducing overall weight. 4.5mm wall thicknesses.
© Neville Swales
Further investigation of inlet port location and optimal valve angles to give maximum valve size. © Neville Swales
CNC-machined components were commissioned to check for practical details. The resin material used is capable of being machined and will take threads etc.
©Neville Swales
Removable cam-sprocket covers were designed to improve access to the vernier-adjusted cams etc. The covers can be removed with the heads in place on the block
© Neville Swales
CNC-machined resin heads
© Neville Swales
CNC-machined resin heads
© Neville Swales
Trial-fitting custom valves
© Neville Swales
Combustion chamber detail. Designed for 96mm bores and large custom valves
© Neville Swales
trial-fitting duplex-chain cam drive – using off-the-shelf components wherever possible
© Neville Swales
first castings awaiting machining
© Neville Swales
Initial machining operations
© Neville Swales
Final machining and preparation for line-boring
© Neville Swales
Final machining and assembly
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly – Upper Chain Tensioner
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly – Improved lower chain tensioner
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly
© Neville Swales
Final Assembly
© Neville Swales
It lives! The finished article
© Neville Swales
Richard Hassan
© Neville Swales

Learning from the Master …. Ex-Jaguar and Coventry Climax’s Richard Hassan (son of Jaguar’s late Walter “Wally” Hassan).Richard followed in his illustrious father’s footsteps becoming a talented race engine designer and developer. He joined Jaguar in 1957 as an Apprentice before joining British racing driver and racing team owner John Coombs in 1969. A year later he moved to Coventry Climax (which had become a division within Jaguar) and worked on many of their legendary racing engines. Richard set up on his own in 1977 and continues to run his own successful engineering business in Coventry.

First run ….

tera ® installed in the Ecurie Ecosse LM69
© Neville Swales
tera ® installed in the Ecurie Ecosse LM69
© Neville Swales
Installed in S3 V12 E-Type
© Neville Swales

For details, availability, applications and pricing contact:

Neville Swales, CEO Building The Legend Limited
neville@buildingthelegend.co.uk
+44791 644 5253
www.BuildingTheLegend.co.uk

Introducing the tera®

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

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 return the company to its glory days of Le Mans triumphs and domination.

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

In the words of 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.

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:             350 – 650 hp   (261 – 485 kW)
  • Torque:            300 – 600 lb ft (407 – 813 Nm)
  • Compression:  12.7:1
  • 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

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.

There may be no copyright subsisting in the XJ13 but 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.

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.