Race Retro Show's Hall of Fame pays tribute to Norman Dewis with Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club display.

The 18th edition of Reis Race Retro held at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry from 21-23 February 2020 will be paying tribute to legendary Jaguar test development driver, Norman Dewis OBE. The show’s ‘Hall of Fame’ will feature a special three-car display, with cars supplied by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club. Norman Dewis was a motorsport legend and a long-time friend of the Race Retro show, as well as being responsible for the development of some of Jaguar’s most iconic models.

Norman And 77 Rw

Following the success of a similar display at the NEC Classic Motor Show last year, The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, with the support of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, have assembled a line-up of three cars that represent key moments in Norman’s career. Furthermore, our club partners Classic Motor Cars Limited have also supplied Norman's desk, given to him by Jaguar and used when Norman wrote down his famous stories and memories of working for Jaguar.

Elsewhere at Race Retro Show, the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club’s Race Championship organisers will also be on hand to greet potential new competitors interested in all aspects of Jaguar motorsport. Whether you are looking to race classic XKs or more modern XJ saloons you will find out all you need to know on Stand 2-207.

The Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club will also be telling the story of Norman's involvement with Jaguar and the club on the live stage throughout the weekend at the following times:

Friday 3.30pm

Saturday 3pm

Sunday 2pm.

The display’s earliest car is a Jaguar C Type. Dewis began developing the disc brake concept on the C Type. The technology was fitted to Stirling Moss' Jaguar C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia, and Dewis accompanied him as a passenger.

Next, is the oldest surviving convertible E -Type 77RW, that Dewis famously drove through the night, at short notice, from Coventry to the Geneva Motor Show ready for the 10am press launch for the car. It was one of his most awe-inspiring achievements and speaking of the adventure Norman recalled, “I arrived in Geneva just in time for a 10am press conference the following morning, and Sir William Lyons looked at his watch and simply said, ‘I knew you’d make it, Dewis”.

The display is made complete with the unique, one off, XJ13 racing prototype that Norman Dewis developed for racing at Le Mans before it was shelved. Years later, he drove it again at a press launch at MIRA and was lucky to escape a horrendous crash in it. All three cars represent key moments in Norman Dewis’ life.

James Blackwell, General Manager of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club said,

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 came from the era that Race Retro celebrates, when racing and test drivers alike were heroes. It’s an honour for us at the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club to be able to work with the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust to celebrate the life of the friend, hero and inspiration to Jaguar fans everywhere, Norman Dewis OBE.

About Norman

Norman Dewis was chief test driver and development engineer for Jaguar between 1952 and 1985. A 33-year career with Jaguar that saw him break the land speed record for production cars in a Jaguar XK120 on the Jabbeke Highway in Belgium and, through his long and often dangerous hours of test driving, significantly contribute 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. 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).

Norman's desk

One of the highlights of the Classic Motor Cars (CMC) auction of classic cars and automobilia on May 30th will be the desk that Norman Dewis used during his time at Browns Lane in Coventry.

It even has a works “VIN number “ which presumably was attached to all items of furniture that were used in the famous offices at Brown’s Lane.

CMC are delighted to announce that the desk is to go on show prior to the auction on the JEC stand at Race Retro along with the famous cars that Norman drover over the years.

Guy Loveridge, from Loveridge Agents and Auctioneers who is running the auction for CMC said: “It's a fantastic item and one which we have already had a lot of interest in. Norman clearly spent a lot of time at the desk writing his reports probably about some of the cars, which will be on display."

He added: “ It will make a great memento for anyone who met Norman or was simply a fan of the great man and we have already seen a lot of interest."

Guy who has been responsible for cataloguing the items for CMC explained: “ There are many other interesting items that we have found while going through Norman’s possessions. Also exciting to me are some of Norman's working reference library, including John Wyer's ‘Motor Racing Management’, this being considered ‘the Bible’ in the 1950s and 1960s motor sport world.
In Norman’s library we found a well thumbed first edition copy, with Norman's signature to the fly leaf. One wonders what "Lofty" England would have thought...?”

The Auction takes place on May 30th and is preceded by a valuation day at the famous restoration company on February 29th

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