If you know about Jaguar’s history, you know about Norman Dewis, who managed to drive a Jaguar E-Type through the night from the company’s factory in Coventry to the Geneva Motor Show the next morning.
During the fourth episode of the new series of Top Gear, presenter Rory Reid recreated the famous drive in the brand new Jaguar F-TYPE SVR 55 years on, and met Norman at the Geneva Motor Show just in time for its reveal back in March.
For his appearance on the world-renowned motoring programme, Dewis’s friend and British supermodel David Gandy invited the legendary test driver to Savile Row’s Henry Poole & Co. tailoring company to be fitted for a suit worthy of Dewis’s stature.
On the same day, Gandy and Dewis were also shown two of Jaguar’s legendary sports cars from Dewis’s era, the C-Type and Lightweight E-Type. For Jaguar enthusiast and collector Gandy, this was a great thrill.
“To hear about these cars from the man fundamental to their development was a rare treat for a petrol head and Jaguar enthusiast like me.”
For Dewis, reminiscing about the 1961 run to Geneva brought back great memories.
“I arrived in Geneva just in time for a 10am press conference the following morning, and Sir William Lyons looked at his watch and said, simply ‘I knew you’d make it, Dewis’.
“The press went berserk for the new E-type – it was a relative bargain at £2,000 and could reach speeds of up to 150mph. The news spread around the world like a prairie fire. We had to lay down a new production line at Browns Lane to cope with the demand.”