News of Ford’s withdrawal from F1 came on the same day it was announced that Jaguar’s historic Coventry road car factory was to close.
Long-standing test driver Norman Dewis, who was at the heart of Jag’s competition programmes of the 1950s, said: “It’s very sad, but I am not surprised. As for the F1 team, I was against it from the beginning. It didn’t make sense to me. It’s all very well saying it’s too expensive now, but I could have told them that at the start; F1 isn’t Jaguar’s scene. We looked at building a GP car back in the ’50s. I remember sitting on a box as Malcolm Sayer planned the car around me. Then the old man [company founder Sir William Lyons] had a look at what was going on and asked about the potential cost. That was the end of that. Jaguar should go back to Le Mans.”
As for the closure of Browns Lane, Dewis is unromantic: “I think it’s a shame, but you have to be realistic: it makes no sense having bodies made in one place and the rest of the car in another, and then having to rely on the transport network for deliveries. Times change. The old man would have done the same thing. When we moved into Browns Lane in 1952 it was a huge improvement over the old Swallow Lane premises. But that was 50 odd years ago.”