My highlight of the Goodwood Festival of Speed so far: meeting Norman Dewis, the father of the E-type.
He was everything I had expected: knowledgeable, charismatic, passionate about cars and delightfully old school.
We spoke about the Jaguar F-type, a car he is clearly fond of. He told me about a recent drive in the new roadster for this very title. He was delivered a car at MIRA for a photo shoot, but was told to take it easy.
Naturally he didn’t, despite “knowing I was going to get a bollocking”. It was a sports car on a test track, after all...
It’s hard to think of a nonagenarian more keen on getting a car sideways. He said that during his time as a test driver, he preferred to set his cars up to oversteer. “A car that’s set up to understeer forces you to drive slower, but I like to steer a car on its throttle. It’s more fun with power oversteer,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
It was harder to judge his thoughts on the D-type-inspired F-type Project 7. He referred to the design as "interesting", but was far more effusive about the extra grunt under the bonnet.
He’s one of the most self-effacing test drivers I’ve come across. Here is the man who had a role in developing the C-type, D-type, XK150, E-type and XJ13. Not to mention the Dunlop brake disc.
It is reckoned that he completed a million miles at an average speed of more than 100mph. And rode with Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia.
Yet here he was, mingling with Goodwood visitors in his Jaguar racing overalls. I’ve yet to meet a finer ambassador for Jaguar.