Tribute to Shropshire motorsport legend at Birmingham show

By Mark Andrews | Church Stretton | Entertainment | Published:

There will be a special tribute to Shropshire motorsport legend Norman Dewis at the Classic Motorshow in Birmingham this weekend.

Dewis, who broke the world speed record for a production car,died aged 98 in June. He will be honoured with a display featuring four cars representing key moments of his career.

Dewis, who lived in Church Stretton, also competed in Le Mans and raced against motorsport greats including Sir Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn and Juan Manuel Fangio.

The Classic Motorshow opens at the NEC tomorrow, and continues until Saturday.

The tribute has been organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, and Scottish motor racing team Ecurie Ecosse.

It will include the prototype Jaguar D-Type, the E-Type roadster he famously drove through the night to Geneva in 1961, and the Jaguar XJ13 he infamously crashed in 1971.

Dewis, who was born in Coventry, was Jaguar's chief test driver and development engineer from 1952 to 1985, and continued to be an active brand ambassador for the company up until his death.

He was involved in the development of all new Jaguar cars over that period, from the XK140 performance car of 1954 to the XJ40 saloon which remained in production until 1994.


He also developed the legendary C- and D-Type race cars which cleaned up at Le Mans during the 1950s. Co-driving a C-Type with Stirling Moss in the 1952 Mille Miglia, he pioneered the use of disc brakes in cars – much to the irritation of Jaguar’s German rivals – a design which has now become the norm.

He broke the world speed record for a production car in October 1953 at Jabbeke in Belgium when he drove a Jaguar XK120 to 172.412 mph.

In 1955, along with fellow driver Bob Berry, he drove a Jaguar D-Type in the Goodwood nine-hour race, taking fifth place.

The same year Dewis drove a Jaguar D-Type in the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Don Beauman. The car failed to finish the race, retiring after 106 laps.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.


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