Write up - 2010 - Jaguar Evening


For our May social evening, when we arrived in the car park at Dorchester Bowls club there was a not so common sight - a row of classic Jaguars parked up (I did take a picture, but unfortunately my camera was stolen before I had a chance to copy the image to my computer).  Once we had all assembled inside and signed in, we returned to the car park for a guided tour of these wonderful looking vehicles (if you were not there, you will have to take my word for it).  We gained some very interesting pieces of information as we looked over the cars and admired the fine craftsman ship which was put into making them, and then subsequently by their current owners.


Upon returning indoors, we were treated to a presentation by John Brewster who gave us a quick run through of the history of Jaguar, from their roots, through to the various owners in recent times and up to today.  I had not realised there were connections to the Austin Seven - my parents have one, but it is not quite in the same league!



One of the most famous Jaguars on TV, must be that of the Mark 2 driven by Inspector Morse (John Thaw).  It has the 2.4 litre engine generating around 120bhp and with top speed of approximately 120mph.   It was first registered on 5th July 1960.


The Jaguar name is also well known for their engines - powering cars, Le Mans race cars (winning 7 times), tanks and even a Transit Van!  One of the early 6 cylinder engines started off life in 1947 as a 3.4 litre unit producing 190bhp.  This engine was seen as very bullet proof, which made it ideal for increasing its capacity to a massive 4.2litres, where it continued to power many cars until the early 1970s.  This helped to make it an ideal race engine.


Jaguar’s racing pedigree started in 1951 and has continued to the current day, with Le Mans wins in 1951, 53, 55, 56, 57, 88 and 1990.  In 1992, Jaguar released their first super car - the  XJ200, which was powered by a V6 twin turbo engine, producing 500bhp, with a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of yes - you guessed it 220mph.  All this for a £403,000 - they are somewhat rare as only 350 were built in a special factory in Bloxham, Oxfordshire.  Unfortunately the market went into freefall and many buyers dropped out of their purchases.  As a result of this many 220s were sold below their list price, and only 281 were actually completed.


We soon realised that John’s interests with Jaguars was not just a passing fad as it was revealed to us that not only did he have several beautiful cars, but he was also working on a restoration project (much to the pleasure of his wife?!)



Jaguar is now hopefully back on a stable road, after having passed through the hands of British Layland, Ford and more recently TATA.  The XF has performed well and won many awards over the last few years, so hopefully the change of direction with fewer cars and an emphasis on performance will help to aid the Jaguar name.


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