‘Scuse me whilst I kiss the sky!!! I’m still a bit overly happy! I’m sorry!
Goodwood Revival 2009 will go down in my history books as the day I reverted to being 9 years old….
It’s always great – no two ways about it, the Revival is the greatest motorsport weekend there is. All the famous and not so famous race cars from the many years of track racing. Jaguars, Ferraris, Mercedes, Alvis, Ford, Chevy, Lotus, I could go on….and on… all battling in very heated full pace battles. Not replicas – these are the real deal… 50 to 60 years old and they are still adding to their history.
Why was this one different?
Well, by now you will know of my love for the XJ13 – the most beautiful car in the World – FACT (Okay, opinion, but it should be fact). This 60’s supercar managed 206mph under the guidance of the great Norman Dewis. It was the 13th model for Jaguar, hence the XJ13 tag… a mystical number… some see it as unlucky…it just adds to the tale.
It was going to be a Le Mans entry to crush the Ford GT40’s and Ferraris of the day, but just before it was ready the race rules changed and the XJ13 wasn’t allowed to race. It was the test bed for the Jaguar V12 powerplant that went on to get fitted in later Jaguars – notably the E-Type. In fact to launch the E-Type a photo shoot was called up with the XJ13 to add heritage to the new V12 E-type. On this outing one of the magnesium wheels “let go” and Norman had an almighty crash.
The car was all but written off – and luckily Norman survived! Years later it was rebuilt and is now with the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Centre.
Named the thirteen…a still born racer that almost killed its test driver… a beautiful, powerful car that can still hold its own… those GT40’s got away lightly… the XJ13 would have eaten them alive.
I first saw the XJ13 many years ago at Beauleau Motor Museum and fell in love with it. Since then, on odd occasions we bump into each other. I eventually came to know of the TWR replica (Click here to link!) – the most accurate and faithful of the few replicas out there. At £105,000 it isn’t cheap – but then it is an XJ13….
It always stops me in my tracks, and today it did once more. As I rounded the corner as we walked through the Revival event I saw the TWR XJ13 sat there…. The engineer in charge of the project (Trevor – the T from TWR) was there and we got chatting about “her”. It was the first time I had got a chance to talk about the 13 with people actually involved.
After a long chat with Trevor I went off and caught up with Chris and Alex, where we all then took in the sights, sounds and action of the Revival. We met old and new friends on our walk about, and generally had a good time of it all.
Toward the end of the day (and this blog entry) I met the XJ13 again…but until then….
Carnaby in Goodwood
Alex getting into the spirit
Spitfires, Messershmitt, Mustangs and a Vulcan took to the air, vintage racers blitzed the track… (Alex loved the Mini racing – which really was a nail bitter)… and we loved it. Fairground rides, Rockers, Dad’s Army, Laurel and Hardy, Hippies and Mods – static car displays the lot – Brilliant.
Mad Mini’s going Hell for Leather
Huey – UH-1 with M-60
A pair of Aces? Mustangs down Low
Laurel and Hardy
The Italian Job
We caught up with my Father in Law as well, which Alex had been on about all day (he loves his Grandad!). Always great to catch up with him – although on race days he is obviously under a lot of stress and pressure with his job! I never really expect to see much of him on those days – so if we do manage to meet up it is always an added treat.
When we went to head home I decided to head back to the 13 to see if I could possible sit in her..it..her… I know it was a big ask, and pretty unlikely, bearing in mind the cost and “DO NOT TOUCH” labels on it..her…it…
As I rounded the corner again I reverted to being a kid once more, as stood chatting with the Trevor (Mr TWR) and next to the 13 – was Norman Dewis…
I went to take a photo of the two of them and the camera started to misbehave. Norman suggested I was out of film…. I tried again to get a shot.
Thanks to the ice breaker I found myself talking to Norman Dewis… Trevor then suggested I bought the Norman Dewis book (a huge tome about his life and key role in developing the Jaguar cars from C types to XJ saloons, XK’s and XJ’s…. his racing against other giants like Moss and Fangio…).
I’ve wanted it for a while…. It isn’t a cheap book, but it was 30% off for the Revival.. but still not cheap…. so I said I’d buy it as my Christmas present… as long as I could have a seat in the 13, and if Norman wouldn’t mind signing the book…..
Needless to say I ended up sat in the cockpit of the 13, with a signed book and several photo’s of me with Norman, the XJ13 and Alex, me and the 13….
I look a little mad in these pictures… but I was trying hard not to look too much like a kid in a candy shop!
Behind my head… 450hp of V12 in a 1200kg chassis…. SWEEEEET!
It was all over far too soon for my liking. As we wandered away I then spotted a golf cart heading towards me. It stopped… I recognised the driver and went over to shake hands and say “hello”….. Murray Walker! Yes, Mr Voice of Formula One himself! Murray Walker shook the hand that 1 minute earlier Norman Dewis and shaken… I may never wash it again! Two Legends!
How can I better this? Well…. unless I can raise the finances, the next step would be a trip out in a 13… (or THE 13….*shudder!*)… Better still would be some wheel time in the 13…. but hey! I’m still counting my lucky stars that I even managed to sit in this, one of the greatest cars to have ever existed.
So all that is left now, is for me to scour the marketplace to see who wants to buy a kidney…. one careful owner… only £105,000……