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Jaguar Heritage Gallery Now Open!

01 August 2013

Jaguar celebrated a historic event in Coventry today with Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ralf Speth presenting F-TYPE #1 to Jaguar Heritage at the official opening of the new Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum.

Special guests at the opening of the new Jaguar Gallery also included Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum, Jaguar Brand Director Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Heritage Chairman Mike O’Driscoll, Coventry Transport Museum Chairman Joe Elliott and senior representatives from the city of Coventry and the UK motor industry.

In advance of the special ceremony, a unique collection of Jaguar heritage sports cars was driven in spectacular procession into Coventry.

Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director and Jaguar Heritage Trustee, said:

“The new Jaguar Gallery is a fitting celebration of eight decades of design and technical innovation in our spiritual home of Coventry, and today’s presentation of the new F-TYPE offers a glimpse into Jaguar’s future too.

“We are investing £2.75 billion across Jaguar Land Rover in product development annually, and our Whitley headquarters, just down the road, employs thousands of engineers and designers. All are fully focused on creating the next generation of Jaguar cars.”

Mike O’Driscoll, Jaguar Heritage Chairman, said:

“The Jaguar Gallery shows Jaguar’s development and progress through the years – from the SS products of the 1920s to the present day with the stunning new F-TYPE.We now have two public galleries, celebrating our rich heritage in making world-beating automobiles – the Jaguar Gallery here in our home city of Coventry and the Heritage Motor Centre at Jaguar Land Rover’s facility in Gaydon.

“These galleries represent fully active collections, and as Jaguar’s intention when manufacturing the cars, they continue to be used at iconic race circuits and Concours events all over the world.”

Joe Elliott, Coventry Transport Museum Chairman, said:

“Coventry Transport Museum is proud to have this fitting new tribute to the City’s most famous export in the shape of the marvellous new Jaguar Gallery.  Our thanks to Jaguar and Jaguar Heritage for making it all possible, and now the Gallery is officially open we look forward to it being a great success as a new attraction at the museum.  It has opened in time for the long summer holiday and will serve to inspire a new generation in our great city.”

Led by the new F-TYPE, the historic procession into Coventry saw some of the rarest and most iconic Jaguar sports cars in a unique convoy through the city’s streets.  From a 1938 SS100 to a 2013 F-TYPE, with a further 14 models in between, the procession included record breakers, race winners, a number of ‘firsts’ and the sports car once voted ‘The Most Beautiful Car in the World’ (E-type), denoting a clear bloodline from Jaguar’s history to the present day – continuing a long tradition of innovation in design and engineering.

The new Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum is titled ‘The Jaguar Story – A History of Design and Technical Innovation’ and is split into five sections covering: ‘The Early Years’ (1920s to 1940s), ‘The Post War Boom and Glamorous 50s’, ‘The Swinging 60s’, ‘Growth and Consolidation’ (70s to 00s), and ‘Jaguar Present and Future’ (2005 and on..).

In addition to the stunning collection of cars covering ten decades of Jaguar and the role of the company in Coventry history, the Gallery also references the many technology and design innovations behind these great vehicles.  Contemporary storyboards, film and spectacular imagery complement the sequential journey through the gallery, with historic artifacts to further illustrate Jaguar’s rich heritage.

Among the guests at the reception to mark the opening of the Jaguar Gallery was the company’s legendary test driver, Norman Dewis, who celebrated his 93rd birthday this week.  Norman tested and developed over 25 Jaguar cars in his career, from the C and D-type through to XJ13, E-type, XJ-S, XJ40 and many more.  He was presented with a birthday cake at the event, which featured the XK120 that in 1953 broke the production car speed record in Jabbeke; achieving a phenomenal top speed of 172.4mph.


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