Hypermiling history of Jenks's Jaguar E-type: The Editor

“Jenks clocked up around 20,000 miles in nine months”

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Of course, you know that you’re sitting in Jenks’s driving seat,” said the man at the wheel of the E-type as he taxied towards the start line. “This car was originally left-hand drive but was converted to right at some stage before I owned it. So what is now the passenger seat is where Jenks would have spent most of his time.”

So there I was, on a summer’s day, sitting in Jenks’s spot about to zoom up Shelsley Walsh. It doesn’t get better than that.

The occasion was a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the E-type, called E-type 60, which had been conceived and arranged by the publisher and E-type enthusiast Philip Porter. There was a staggering array of important cars present including E2A, the first Lightweight racing E-type BUY 1 (now 4 WPD) and Porter’s own E-type from The Italian Job.

By comparison the car I was in –a standard 4.2-litre Series 1 model, registration FPL 660C – was perfectly ordinary. Apart from its history. And more specifically, the relevance of that history to me.

The car was used by Denis Jenkinson as he toured Europe filing his famous race reports as Motor Sport’s continental correspondent, bylined DSJ. Strictly speaking it was his company car since it was registered to Teesdale Publishing of City Road, EC1 (Motor Sport’s then offices).

Joe Dunn in Denis Jenkinsons Jaguar E-type

Editor Joe Dunn with Roger Falcon in the E-type formerly owned by Motor Sport

And it was certainly used for company business. The current owner, Roger Falcon, a surveyor who bought the car in 2006, is a Motor Sport reader and has compiled a logbook of its journeys based on Jenks’s magazine reports.

The sheer variety and number of meetings is astonishing. Take for example the very early days of Jenks’s ownership. Here is how he ran the car in after taking delivery on March 12, 1965.

On March 13 he travelled to Brands Hatch for the Race of Champions to see a field that included Jim Clark, Dan Gurney and Graham Hill. The following week he was at Silverstone for a BARC meeting, then up to Harrogate for the Mobil Economy Run which saw competitors attempt to complete a route using as little fuel as possible in an early version of hypermiling.

Then after stopping at Goodwood for the Easter Meeting he was off across the Channel…

On April 23 he and the E-type were at Pau for a Formula 2 race, although there is a hint of disappointment in his report: “The circuit, round part of the town and through the Beaumont Park, has remained unchanged, though the character of the event has seen various changes, and it is rather sad to see a race that was once a full-blooded Grand Prix event become a Formula 2 race for the second year running.”

Denis Jenkinson's Jaguar E-type

Still, he was back at Oulton Park briefly at the end of April then on to Sicily on May 3-9 to watch the Targa Florio. The following week he was at Spa for the 500km then across to Germany for the Nürburgring 1000km.

Then it was back in the E-type for a 700-mile blatt to Monaco for the Grand Prix where the overcast weather on the Sunday was “awful for Monte Carlo, but perfect for racing” to watch Graham Hill win his third successive Monaco GP and deliver what Jenks regarded as one of his best races to date.

After a sojourn to Modena and Mugello, Jenks and the E-type were heading back north up to Spa for the Belgium GP on June 11-13, then on to Le Mans on June 18. Incidentally, Jenks’s report didn’t mention any controversy about the race winners Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt and a supposed third driver, Ed Hugus, lending credence to Doug Nye’s subsequent investigation that debunked the theory.

But that was all still to come. In the meantime Jenks was on the road again to Clermont-Ferrand for the French GP on June 25-27, then back to Silverstone for the British GP on July 8-10 followed by the German GP at the end of the month. Throw in a drag racing festival in Surrey, bike racing at Silverstone, a Mercedes press trip to Hockenheim, the Italian GP and it’s fair to say that the E-type had an eventful first summer in Jenks’s hands. A rough calculation shows that he clocked up around 20,000 miles in those first nine months.

Roger Falcon thinks the car was converted to right-hand drive when Jenks returned full time to the UK in the mid-1970s. It was replaced by another E-type, this time a Roadster.

“I still run the car as much as I can,” Roger told me at Shelsley. “It was a working car and I like to keep it working.”

Jenks would have approved.

Joe Dunn, editor
Follow Joe on Twitter @joedunn90

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