Jaguar XJR9 No.2 the Le Mans winner from 1988
My first visit to The British Motor Museum at Gaydon and it's only down the road off the M40. I was most looking forward to revisiting some iconic Jaguars that I was fortunate to work on back in the 1980s.
Back then I was a prototype machinist working on motorsport and pre production rally and race cars.
My speciality included machining the complete Gearbox and Transaxle assemblies.
The transaxle on this was developed from work we did on the prototype and production Jaguar XJ220 supercar, another vehicle I had come to see that was over the way in a newly built Jaguar showroom display building.
The beast that stole the NEC Motor Show in October of 1988 is still impressive, it's a shame they never produced this concept version:
The timescales were always tight on concept vehicles and the XJ220 was no exception.
There was no time or need to heat treat the transaxle and from differential casings because this car would never turn a wheel in anger. It was known back then as "The Saturday Club" car as the group of companies that supported Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw Racing gave their time freely just to be involved and produce something this ground breaking. It was never envisaged as a production car until it was unleashed in October of 1988.
I remember TWR and Jaguar actually turning up at FFD Ltd at the weekend to see the progress as we had the XJ220 chassis in a test house secreted away to build the four wheel drive system, something the production car lost along the way.
The whole workforce was given time off to travel over to the NEC and see this massive Jaguar that looked bigger because of the raised plinth it was displayed on, it certainly stole the show back then and still does now when you see it in the flesh.
The amazing 1954 Jaguar D-Type Prototype, I wonder if they know the connection with the Jaguar XJ220?
This D-Type prototype was driven to a Le Mans lap record when Jaguar works driver Tony Rolt slashed five seconds off the previous best time.
To me he was known as 'The Major' as he also founded the Coventry then Warwickshire based company FFD Ltd, who worked on the design and development of four wheel drive vehicles including the Jaguar XJ220 Prototype and subsequent production cars.
A great chap that had a background that film makers and biographers would have loved to have recorded but he was too modest; he had a hand in the glider plot to escape Colditz amongst others things!