On June 4th and 5th there is going to be a great gathering of Jaguars and their owners at Shelsley Walsh near Worcester, to celebrate 50 years of the E-type and 60 years of the C-type, Jaguar’s first Le Mans winner.
Jaguar Clubs will be there in force with examples of the Coventry maker’s famous models.
Jaguar Heritage are taking five of their most iconic cars, including XJ13, the unique 12 cylinder rear engined racer that never raced. Jaguar’s test driver Norman Dewis was driving it at very high speed at the MIRA test track when a tyre burst at over 130mph and the car cart wheeled end over end into a field. Jaguar might have scrapped it then and there, but instead decided to rebuild it like new.
Also at Shelsley will be three examples of the famous D type which won Le Mans three times. Shelsley commentator Max Trimble will be reunited with the D type he raced back in 1957.
But amongst this illustrious collection there will be a poignant story of tragedy and triumph.
In September 1964 a young German racing driver called Peter Lindner had a monumental accident on a wet race track near Paris.
His rare Lightweight E-type Jaguar, one of only two with a special streamlined body was apparently totally destroyed, and Lindner died shortly afterwards in a French hospital.
The remains of the car were locked up in a garage for ten years in accordance with French law.
Eventually they were extracted and passed through a number of hands, until eventually arriving at an engineering firm in Sussex which was well known for restoring historic Jaguars.
Here the mechanical components of the wreckage were removed and built into a new chassis and body. This recreation of the car, after a few races in the USA, ended up for 25 years unused in a German museum.
But incredibly the wreckage that remained always stayed with the car.
Four years ago, Peter Neumark, partner in CMC, a Bridgnorth based restoration firm, was able to buy the whole package.
Peter was determined to restore the car using as much of the original car as possible.
Then began a four year project that demanded infinite skill and patience.
Each part of the car was dismantled, checked and repaired. This included the crumpled bodywork, every bit of which was painstakingly reshaped like new.
Finally, a few weeks ago, the car emerged into the sunlight, looking and going as well, if not better than when it first left the Jaguar factory. You may have seen the event reported on BBC Midlands Today.
The weekend of June 4th and 5th at Shelsley Walsh will be the car’s first public appearance.