big cats in wales
Brecon drive marks prototype E-type’s 60th anniversary
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