On Friday 11th November last, 6 club members set off from Dublin airport to Birmingham airport to embark on a memorable trip which included a Jaguar factory visit, a unique restoration experience and a visit to the Coventry Motor Museum. Followed by a day at the Classic Motor show at the NEC.
On arrival at The Jaguar Visitor Centre, Castle Bromwich we were greeted by our host and guide Austin, who treated us to a comprehensive tour of the XF and XE manufacturing section of the factory. State of the art robots carried out the manufacturing process of building cars to order, on a 90 second cycle. It was a unique opportunity to witness these cars come to life in front of us. From the pressing of the panels to the fitting of the interior and drivetrain, each car is unique and readied for waiting customers. The robots carry out their duties like well trained dancers. Precision and accuracy are the order of the day. We were treated to a bonus tour of the FType manufacturing facility. It was incredible to witness the lineup of different specked cars coming off the production line and into the testing area. Where they were put through a rigorous series of tests on rolling roads and readied for final delivery. Unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph any section inside the factory but the memories will live with us forever.
Next up was a short trip to Bulkington to meet John Browne of Leaping Cats fame. The contrast of manufacturing styles was worlds apart from our early morning Jaguar manufacturing experience . Old style hands on moulding of panels to complete car builds, this was an amazing experience. Leaping Cats can manufacture and supply any parts needed for building Xk 120/140 or 150. They have a collection of cars in various stages of completion and an Aladins cave of parts for sale. The dedication shown by John was evident as he showed us around his premises. The equipment and the level of organisation was of a very high standard. This was a unique opportunity to see old methods of manufacturing and a big thank you to John for taking the time to show us his fantastic operation. John had no problem with us photographing his premises as we went around. A truly fantastic experience. We were joined by Roger and Stuart from the JDHT on this tour.
Next stop was The Coventry Transport Museum. Located in the centre of Coventry city with free entry to the museum, this is a truly unique venue. We enjoyed privileged access to a world class car and transport collection. All era’s are covered and it’s also home to the worlds 2 fastest cars. My favourite was the Jaguar CX75 on display in the Jaguar Heritage section. It’s well worth a visit and concluded a truly fantastic car enthusiast’s day out.
We concluded the day with dinner and refreshments back at our hotel. Tired but truly exilerated by the days experience.
Saturday morning began with breakfast at the hotel and the short journey to the NEC. This is a truly amazing Classic Motor Show. 5 halls packed with everything for the car enthusiast. A huge collection of cars from every period and manufacturer. We started of in the Autojumble section where some members purchased bits and items they needed to complete their projects. The cars on display were of a very high standard and again my favourite was a Jaguar. The unique project 7 FType. We visited the JEC stand and met up with a few more members that had travelled over separate to the main group. We spent the day strolling through the various stands and a truly enjoyable day was had by us all. We made the short journey by foot to the airport and returned to Dublin exhausted but truly satisfied by a very successful trip. Well done to all who helped organise this wonderful weekend.