For anyone with passion for Jaguar, motorsport or the golden years of the British motor industry, the fifties to the late-sixties, the name Norman Dewis is bound to raise a wry smile and a nod of recognition. As it should, as Dewis, an RAF veteran of the Second World War, became Jaguar’s principal test driver, and therefore helped guide the development of the firm’s key post-war models. He thus played an integral role in the development of Coventry heroes like the D-Type, E-Type, Mk2 and XJS, the cars that put Jaguar on the map and cemented its place as Britain’s answer to the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
In short, if you’ve ever hankered after a classic Coventry creation like the ones outlined above then you owe a small yet significant debt of gratitude to this unprepossessing, yet immensely talented individual.
As to the relevance of Mr Dewis in this particular case, well, we wanted to use the occasion of our latest project to pay homage to the great man, an individual who did more than most to further Jaguar’s success from the fifties right through to his (semi) retirement in the mid-eighties. Hence ‘Project Sir Norman,’ a restomod creation based upon a Series 3 Jaguar E-Type.
The E-Type needs no introduction of course. It’s one of the vanishingly small number of classic cars your average man or woman in the street would have no trouble in correctly identifying, a legacy of the outsized role it has played in automotive culture from its launch right through the present day. As such it’s an ideal candidate for the Retropower restomod treatment, and with it the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the late, great Norman Dewis. We hope that he would approve.
At present Project Sir Norman is in its very early stages and as such progress has been modest, though we have sourced a Series 3 car originally from the United States and stripped it to a bare shell. We’ve also sourced, stripped and scrapped a Jaguar XJS, the V12 engine from which we’ve roughly mounted in the front of Project Sir Norman, plus the GM 4L80 transmission it came with. The engine, a mere 6.0 at present, will ultimately grow in capacity and will hopefully ‘top out’ at a full 6.3l.
The bare bones of the dry build are therefore in place, and as such we’re all looking forward to progressing with metalwork stage of the build in the coming months. Also of relevance is the 3D scanner we’ve just acquired, a tool we plan on using extensively on all projects moving forward but which has particular relevance to the E-Type given the amount of bespoke work we plan on carrying out both inside and outside.
As ever with a Retropower build in this early phase, we’ll endeavour to keep you right up to date with all our progress, so be sure to subscribe to our various social media outlets and YouTube channel.