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Jaguar MK1 day at the Mike Hawthorn museum

Mike HawthornMost of us know the name Mike Hawthorn and many of us know of his meteoric rise to the motorsport fame followed by his tragic death. Few people however know of Nigel Webb’s wonderful museum dedicated to the memory of Mike Hawthorn, celebrating his life and containing some of the most significant cars from his motorsport career. This wonderful museum was put together and built by Mr Webb over many years and is a private museum (although visits can be organised via the website: http://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/m09.php). Mr Webb, who races his XK alongside Nik and Ian, was kind enough to extend an invitation to us at Twyford Moors for a very special celebration of the Jaguar MK1 at his museum. James and I (Harry), mechanic and auto-electrician respectively, were lucky enough to go and represent the company at this fantastic event.

Nik, Twyford Moors’ director, was kind enough to lend us his beautiful Indigo blue Jaguar MK1 and a plan was hatched for a road trip. The MK1 was taken out of storage, checked though and tested for a couple of evenings prior to the event. Save for a spot of electrical fettling in the form of a worn-out battery and a damaged electric fan switch the MK1 was in perfect health and ready for the trip. A spares kit was carefully packed along with a tool kit and some sandwiches, none of which were required as it turns out, and we set off.

Jaguar MK1Now it’s rare, especially in April, to have brilliant sunshine and blue skies all day long when an outdoor event has been planned but this is what we got. It was a most glorious day that can only be described as perfect classic car driving weather. The only thing that could have slightly improved the day would have been driving up in an XK drophead; but that wasn’t the point of the day so we will let it go. ‘Grace, space and pace’ were the point and we had plenty of all three.

Jaguar MK1 desplay

 

After an enjoyable if uneventful drive through the sunny countryside we arrived at the museum. I was not quite prepared for the site that greeted me. Dozens of MK1s parked in rows around a picturesque pond with enthusiast swapping tips and stories everywhere you looked. We parked the MK1 on the lawn, found the tea and biscuits and then took a tour around the MK1s. This, for me, was an educational experience as we are usually surrounded by XKs and a few other Jaguars such as E-Types and MK2s but it is rare for us to see so many MK1s. It was so lovely seeing the early examples with full spats and the smaller XK140 style grille, these were the stand out examples for me. James was instantly drawn to a couple of race prepared examples and a rather splendid MKVII which had been extensively modified for rallying. Twyford Moors Classic Cars Jaguar MK1The MKVII, which belongs to Mr Webb, was a very impressive beast indeed and had completed the Paris to Peking rally. There really was every kind of MK1 possible present including restoration projects, which James and I spent much time musing over what we would do with one, and half a dozen cars from the continent which we learned were not allowed ‘leapers’ due to import laws (they really were ahead of the game on health and safety over on the continent).

Having taken in the saloons we walked over to the museum. If you have ever imagined your dream garage Mike Hawthorn Museum(full of wonderful car, memorabilia all over the walls, wrought iron spiral staircase up to your office, the works) it still would match up to what has been created here. This museum contains one of the most fantastic collections of cars I have ever seen, assuming you are a Jaguar man, including the Hawthorn D-Type, a wonderful XJ13 replica and Mr Webb’s own Jaguar XK120 race car to name but a few. This place truly needs to be seen to be believed, a wonderful collection of cars and an even more interesting collection of memorabilia which truly brings the Mike Hawthorn story to life.

Rare 4 cylinder XK engineA quirky and slightly geeky but never the less interesting highlight for me was seeking one of the rarest bits of the Jaguar XK story. I suspect that many visitors to the museum walk past this particular exhibit without giving it a second glace as to the untrained eye it just looks like any other XK engine. This was in fact a prototype four cylinder, two litre XK engine which was never put into production. I believe it was felt that the engine was not powerful enough for the ‘Jaguar experience’, and they were probably right, but what a fantastic little thing to see.

Many thanks to Nigel Webb and all his team for such a fantastic event. Please do visit the Mike Hawthorn Museum website by clicking here.

Jaguar MK1 desplay

An amazing gathering

Jaguar MK1 with spats

Jaguar MK1 with full spats

Jaguar MK1 race car

James casts his eye over the race cars

Dennis support truck

Dennis support vehicle

Experimental Jaguar XK Engine

Four cylinder XK engine

Jaguar XJ13

XJ13 replica

Jaguar MK1 restoration project

Jaguar MK1 restoration project

Jaguar MK1 display

So many beautiful Jaguars on a very beautiful day

Early Jaguar MK1

Jaguar MK1 with early grille and spats

Jaguar MK7 rally car

Rally prepared Jaguar MKVII

Mike Hawthorn Jaguar D-Type

Mike Hawthorn D-Type

Jaguar SS100

Jaguar SS100

Jaguar XK120 race prepared

Jaguar XK120 race car

Jaguar F-Types

A pair of beautiful F-Types

 

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