“Jabbeke” Jaguar XK 120 Wins “Best in Class” at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering

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The restored Jaguar XK120 that broke the land speed record of 172 + mph in 1953 won “Best in Class, Post War Racing” at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. Legendary driver Norman Dewis, who set the production car world land speed record driving this same XK 120 at Belgium’s Jabbeke Motorway in 1953 was in attendance.

The restored Jaguar XK120 that broke the land speed record of 172 + mph in 1953 won “Best in Class, Post War Racing” at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. Legendary driver Norman Dewis, who set the production car world land speed record driving this same XK 120 at Belgium’s Jabbeke Motorway in 1953 was in attendance.  This was the first time Mr. Dewis had seen the “Jabbeke Jag” since he drove it that historic day 60 years ago. 

This XK 120 is the only Jaguar with a World Land Speed Record.  The car underwent 18 months of exhaustive, front-to-back restoration by JD Classics, the famed UK-based restoration firm specializing in classic Jaguars, with the technical and historical support of Norman Dewis. The car appeared with its improvised, distinctive bubble canopy, which was taken from a jet fighter aircraft and installed especially for the speed trials. 

The car’s owner is businessman and collector Jeff Lotman, who entered another classic Jaguar XK 120 owned by Clark Gable in last year’s Concourse d’Elegance in Pebble Beach and won “Best in Class.”   

"It is a thrill and an honor to win Best in Class amongst some of the most beautifully designed cars in the world," said Lotman. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime treat for classic car enthusiasts and myself to have Norman Dewis recounting that historic moment in 1953."

About the Jaguar XK 120  
MDU 524 was a factory works competition XK 120 roadster.  It was first used as a factory entry on the 1952 Alpine Rally where it won in the Unlimited Class and placed 2nd overall behind NUB 120. The car was returned to the factory competition department for the fitting of streamline bodywork and highly modified mechanicals for the Flying Mile World Record attempt at Jabbeke Highway in Belgium. Works test driver Norman Dewis achieved the record on 1st April 1953 averaging 140.789 mph.  A V8 Pegaso beat this record a few months later so Jaguar went back to Jabbeke on the 20th October 1953, and Dewis regained the world record in MDU 524 with an average time of 172.412 mph.  Later the car raced at Goodwood, Mallory Park, Silverstone, Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch minus its streamline bodywork driven by works driver Peter Sargent.

The world record was commemorated with a special brass plaque that was fitted to the dashboard of every production XK120 Roadster built thereafter. This is the only Jaguar with a World Land Speed Record!
 
About Norman Dewis
Norman Dewis’ driving career spanned 33 years at Jaguar during a time of heroic achievements for him and the automaker.  He tested and developed a remarkable series of cars, including:
 
C-type
D-type
XK 140/150
2.4/3.4 and Mk saloons
Mk VII/Mk VIIM
E-type
XJ/XJ-S
XJ40

He rode with Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglea, drove a 190mph works D-type in the highly dramatic 1955 Le Mans, raced in the Goodwood 9 Hours and set an amazing 173 mph production car record at Jabbeke in Belgium with an XK 120.  Completing over one million test miles at 100 mph-plus average, Mr. Dewis also played a crucial role in developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake.  He survived countless high-speed crashes and rollovers in the days before seat belts…all while never breaking a single bone.

About JD Classics                                              
For more than a quarter of a century, Derek Hood has built up a world-class reputation for completing restorations and undertaking maintenance on the most significant road and racing cars.  What began as a hobby in the early eighties has evolved into an extensive enterprise restoring, refining and exporting classic road and race cars worldwide, primarily factory original examples or those upon which we have undertaken nut and bolt rebuilds from our Maldon workshops.

As the worldwide Jaguar Heritage Racing partner for Jaguar Cars Ltd, JD Classics has become synonymous with its work on Jaguar models; however they increasingly look after a number of other important cars for customers from marques including:
AC, Alfa Romeo, Allard, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Bentley, BMW, Bizzarini, Brabham, Bugatti, Chevron, Connaught, Cooper, Ferrari, Iso, Lamborghini, Lancia, Lola, Lotus, March, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, McLaren race cars, Morgan, OSCA, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Shelby Cobra.

JD Classics works for both private and trade customers all over the world and employ over 35 qualified staff with extensive experience in road and racing car preparation. The company operates from a 100,000 square foot purpose built facility with the very best equipment and facilities in-house. This means their clients’ cars need never leave their facility for the duration of a project - enabling the company to ensure the quality of work, which has become a hallmark of a JD Classics restoration.

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Jason Grimley
Spelling Communications
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Dan Spelling
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