big cats in wales

Bre­con drive marks pro­to­type E-type’s 60th an­niver­sary

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Gaynor Caut­ner

Some 30 cars re­cently as­sem­bled in Bre­con to com­mem­o­rate the his­toric test run of the ground­break­ing E-type con­cept car that Jaguar chief en­gi­neer, Bill Heynes, first sketched 60 years ago.

E1A (as it was called) was built to test the main en­gi­neer­ing fea­tures that were even­tu­ally in­cor­po­rated into the E-type. Be­cause the project was top se­cret, Sir Wil­liam Lyons came up with a rad­i­cal so­lu­tion to road test­ing the open two-seater. He ap­proached High Sher­iff of Car­marthen­shire and ed­i­tor of the in­flu­en­tial Mo­tor mag­a­zine, Christo­pher Jen­nings MBE. Liv­ing as he did in mid-Wales, Jen­nings had ac­cess to some of the most chal­leng­ing roads in the coun­try and had de­vised his own test run be­tween Bre­con and Car­marthen, mem­o­rably achiev­ing record times in a Le Mansen­gined As­ton Martin. Hear­ing of his suc­cess with the As­ton, Lyons asked him to do the same with E1A.

The com­mem­o­ra­tive run fol­lowed the orig­i­nal route of the pastel­green two-seater through the Welsh hills, stop­ping in the cen­tre of Car­marthen, be­fore vis­it­ing Jen­nings’ home near Kid­welly.

A host of stars of the Jaguar world came out to play, in­clud­ing vet­eran test driver, Nor­man Dewis, and Goodwood driver, Grant Williams. Heynes’ son Jonathan gave the as­sem­bled group a rare sight­ing of his fa­mous father’s orig­i­nal draw­ings. When asked why E1A was painted pale green, he said: ‘My father had a sa­loon that colour and he wanted to use up the paint!’

The first Jaguar e-type road­ster and Geneva show car, 77rw, leads an eclec­tic line-up of clas­sic and mod­ern Jaguars on the an­niver­sary run. events

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