Former Jaguar test driver awarded OBE in New Year's Honours

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Former Jaguar test driver awarded OBE in New Year's Honours

Postby dutchman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:41 pm

Country's greatest test driver Norman Dewis recognised for his services to the motor industry after an incredible career spanning 33 years at the Coventry car maker

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Living legend Norman Dewis has developed no less than 25 Jaguar cars, set a land speed record for the Coventry car maker and was co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss.

And now the former Coventry resident – who is regarded as the country’s greatest test driver – has been awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours list for services to the motor industry.

At 94 years old, Mr Dewis is one of the last living links to the golden era of the British motor industry – those post-World War Two years when Jaguar rebuilt itself into a champion sports car maker.

During his 33-year career, he completed more than a million test miles at an average speed of 100 mph-plus and survived high-speed crashes in the days before seatbelts, without ever breaking a single bone. He also played a vital role in developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake.

Mr Dewis, who lived in Humber Road, Stoke, for many years, was also sent on a very special night-time mission by his bosses at Jaguar in 1961.

The former test driver was ordered to get one of the first Jaguar E-Types from the Browns Lane factory in Coventry to Switzerland for the launch of what was to become one of the world’s most famous cars.

And he travelled 11 hours to cover around 600 miles to get the classic Coventry-built sports car to the Geneva Motor Show for its unveiling.

Mr Dewis still retains a close relationship with Jaguar, acting as a global ambassador and a familiar face at many key motoring events around the world today.

He is working with Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ newly established Jaguar Heritage Business organisation to help showcase its capabilities and vision.

He is also supporting the opening of the new Heritage workshop at Browns Lane, the extensive classic Jaguar parts offering, the launch of the new Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience in Warwickshire, and the brand-new Lightweight E-type, which he helped develop originally in the early 1960s.

John Edwards, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, and chairman of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, said: “Jaguar owes a huge debt to Norman Dewis.

“His incredible skills have resulted in some of the finest cars this company has ever made – whether they were designed for the road or the racing circuit.

“The Norman Dewis of today is the same quietly confident and modest man of the 1950s – he remains a world-class Jaguar ambassador.

“It is fantastic to see his contribution to Jaguar, and to British engineering, recognised in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours list, with the award of an OBE.”

Career Highlights

Mr Dewis developed the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the pioneering XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the classic 2.4/3.4 and Mk II saloons, plus the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the legendary E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the world-class XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models.

He was also co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia and, in 1953, set a 172.412 mph production car speed record in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on a closed section of the Jabbeke highway, Belgium.

He also drove a 190 mph works D-type in the dramatic 1955 Le Mans 24hr race and competed in the famous Goodwood Nine Hours in the 1950s.

During 2014, Mr Dewis spearheaded Jaguar’s 60th anniversary celebrations for the race-winning D-type. Wherever Jaguar was during the year, Norman was present too, chatting with fans and friends, wearing his distinctive bootlace tie and cowboy boots.

At the 2014 Goodwood Revival, Dewis drove one of the D-types, his speed illustrating that he hadn’t lost his touch behind the wheel.

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Re: Former Coventry test driver for Jaguar awarded OBE

Postby dutchman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:42 pm

Norman was on TV the other night, test driving the E-Type Jaguar built by television vet Mark Evans.
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Re: Former Jaguar test driver awarded OBE in New Year's Honours

Postby dutchman » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:41 pm

Legendary Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis dies aged 98

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Coventry born motoring legend Norman Dewis OBE has died aged 98.

He was the chief test driver and development engineer for Jaguar Cars, and in a career spanning over four decades, sat behind the wheel of some of the company's most iconic motors.

These included the D-type, E-type, and XJ6 among many others.

In his career as a test driver - in days where safety regulations were not as strict as they are today, Norman survived three major crashes while testing motors - escaping unscathed each time.

During his 33-year career, he completed more than a million test miles at an average speed of 100 mph-plus and survived high-speed crashes in the days before seatbelts, without ever breaking a single bone. He also played a vital role in developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake.

And even after a reluctant retirement in 1985 - due to employment regulations, Norman continued to represent the company, spending over 30 years as a Jaguar ambassador.

He was made an OBE in the New Year's Honours List in 2015.

Mr Dewis developed the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the pioneering XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the classic 2.4/3.4 and Mk II saloons, plus the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the legendary E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the world-class XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models.

He was also co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia and, in 1953, set a 172.412 mph production car speed record in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on a closed section of the Jabbeke highway, Belgium.

He also drove a 190 mph works D-type in the dramatic 1955 Le Mans 24hr race and competed in the famous Goodwood Nine Hours in the 1950s.

During 2014, Mr Dewis spearheaded Jaguar’s 60th anniversary celebrations for the race-winning D-type.

Wherever Jaguar was during the year, Norman was present too, chatting with fans and friends, wearing his distinctive bootlace tie and cowboy boots.

At the 2014 Goodwood Revival, Dewis drove one of the D-types, his speed illustrating that he hadn’t lost his touch behind the wheel.

Jaguar's UK Twitter account has confirmed that Norman Dewis passed away on June 8, 2019, aged 98.

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Re: Former Jaguar test driver awarded OBE in New Year's Honours

Postby rebbonk » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:46 pm

Not a bad innings.

R.I.P.
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