Norman Dewis is the greatest test driver in history
I mean 50 I built my own race car.
I was with [UNKNOWN] cars then, not Jaguar.
We were building a sports car racecar at [UNKNOWN], so I did a lot of that there, okayed lots of test drivers.
But somehow I seemed to Of a different approach in the matter of doing it, you know?
I don't know.
It's a gift, I suppose.
I don't know.
I mean, people aren't [INAUDIBLE] when they said, can't believe how you drive.
You're so relaxed, and you listen to everything and pick it all up.
When I was at Armstrong [INAUDIBLE], I was doing an apprenticeship there then.
I'd moved up into the chassis testing.
See, what you did in them days, you tested the chassis before the body welded on.
We had a wooden seat and a wooden scuttle, a little aero screen.
And over the back axle we had this box section, deep box section filled with sand to give me the weight of the body
So when I was 16, at Armstrong.
I guy named [UNKNOWN], he was in charge of the tests.
And he said, come on, my lad.
He said, I want to teach you to drive.
So he took me out several times.
And he said, [UNKNOWN] try it.
So I took over, and got up there [UNKNOWN].
He said, right.
Do you check on list now, see what you come up with.
And when I finished he said you're better than me at this.
He said I've got most in my mind, he said, but you've picked up three or four more points I've missed.
You got a good aptitude for it, he said, my suggestion is this is what you want to aim for.
He said you'll be good.
I always remembered his words.
He said you just got that little bit extra gift somewhere.
He said, better than the other guys they've got.
So, that was it.
There was [UNKNOWN] and [UNKNOWN], Ferrari, [UNKNOWN], Mercedes.
They were a little bit older than me, but they were in the same [UNKNOWN] as me.
And I used to go down to the [UNKNOWN], get in some testing.
And all the time I wanted to be better than them.
It was just that aim, I've gotta be better.
Every time you're doing a test, you get the first prototype that's a new car or a new race car.
You're starting with a clean sheet of paper.
It's not something that you've already built and you just modify it a little bit.
From the C-top to the D was a big, complete, different breakaway.
C-top had a proper chassis.
D-top was a new innovation.
We were well advanced on that, you see, with a tub, subframe at the front, subframe at the rear.
That was all new innovation.
Three years later, Formula One took the same principle as the [INAUDIBLE] So that's how far we were, advanced.
First with the disc brakes.
So we go it to Don with the first time we did it.
After all the testing and developing.
The first time we run it, was 52 [UNKNOWN] with sterling.
Having successfully done that, then we put it on the [UNKNOWN] cars.
So we were first out in the Le Man race and in all the racing officials this way.
Mercedes wanted it.
Ferrari wanted it.
But then you see it got so successful.
[UNKNOWN] said well it was display could it go into production.
So we said we'd look at it.
And the first car that would have it as a production car was the 150, SK 150.
but we put it up as option.
And nobody thought they were going to break one.
Everybody ordered it with this.
So, that was it.
Away we went.
When we laid out to do the test, and we said, "Right.
Where do we do it?" On an old [UNKNOWN] road in lower Hampton, away from everybody.
We made up this circuit on this [INAUDIBLE] the editor.
I think we had 400 bales of straw dropped down there.
So, then we made up this circuit, you know, the corners and put the straw bales.
And we got it.
And that's what we did.
That's the way all the development testing was done.
I could get up to about 135 miles an hour without stopping.
then we wanted to look.
The car was capable of 165, 170 or so.
Then a game was now formulated for the Vulcan Bomber.
They now got the biggest runway in Britain because the Vulcan needs a hell of a runway to take off.
Who should be running that CO, the Commander is running it.
**** [UNKNOWN], Jaguar man.
And the next guy won twenty.
So we started to go over to Cadden.
Oh, and many a time going down there, they'd be going, what, about 160.
And then we'd got markers where we were using as cutoff points, lift off.
Put it on the pedal, goose right down the board.
[LAUGH] Oh, we had some fun on that, I'll tell you.
[LAUGH] You just get on it with it.
You know it's gonna come out, but you just gotta get over the Failures, because this is what it's all about, testing.
I've always said, oh look at people now.
Were they doing anything?
I said, I was testing.
[UNKNOWN] see you're not doing enough.
You can not do enough testing.
All the time you must be doing it.
You can't suddenly say that's it.
You just go on and on.
Because is all you're doing each time, you're developing it, getting it better.
You have failure, so you improve it.
If you didn't get a failure there, you're well below the standard that you'll require for the top end.
Started with cast iron, this beautiful cast iron, but the wear rate and the heat imput on cast iron, it's so soft a material.
I mean, I could have those discs, be amazed, they were almost cherry red.
One of the mechanics, a Dunlop mechanic, I would come in after doing, say ten laps, really working the brake, pumping it as well, whatever.
I'd come in and he'd take the wheel off to do the temperature check of the disc And he get a cigarette out, put it in it, and light it off the disc.
And I said to him, I said Thrusty.
He said well, it's the most bloody expensive cigarette lighter that we've seen.
And when we got to the point where Harold E. was the engineer from Dunlop and myself.
We decided that's as far as we could go.
What do we do with it?
We didn't want to risk Le Mans because Le Mans was a hunting ground and we gotta do well at Le Mans.
So we're looking at something before Le Mans.
Where can we test it?
So we looked at the calendar saying Mille Miglia, 1,000 mile race.
That is hard on the brakes.
And so that was well, we decided just to purely go to the Millyman for testing the brake.
Perfect until we crossed that.
We were about 123 miles from the finish, and we were lane in second, but the brake, we'd out-brake the Mercedes.
We passed [UNKNOWN], we passed [UNKNOWN], we passed [UNKNOWN].
[UNKNOWN] said to me a long time after.
He said he was going into a corner.
We were coming up.
Well, we're just holding him on the speed.
No way we're passing him.
But on to the corners, his [UNKNOWN] would come over and straight by.
We were way down in the corner, then [UNKNOWN] he said When you went by, he said, I couldn't believe it, he said.
He said, I thought, I'll see him around the corner, they'll have crashed, or the brakes failed.
He said, then suddenly the light had come on, just into the corner, he said.
I'd come around the corner, and you'd gone.
We were amazed.
But that's how passing the [UNKNOWN].
Purely on braking.
When they built 120 in '49 when it was first introduced to [UNKNOWN] court.
The press people were a bit criticizing about our 120mph car.
We don't think it's fast, you know.
He wasn't Sir William them of course but I'll call him Sir William now because he turned around and said, it does do 120 and you know, Of course I wasn't there at that time, that was '49.
Now my predecessor, what they called "Soapy" Sutton, Ron Sutton.
Jabbeke was a place in Belgium now it runs from Gent to Ostend.
What they used to do, they used to close part of this motorway.
Close 5 miles so you had.
Two more running.
Measured more than two more, then.
I said to [UNKNOWN] would you like to go to Belview and show these at press peak at a little more than 120 miles an hour.
Ron takes the car over there.
We were supposed to be in a plane, flying from Coventry, dropping these press people off, because Lawrence wanted them to see it.
Anyway, the plane was delayed, so they've got it all set up at Belgium.
Now, they can only close that road for a certain time, because the traffic builds up.
So [INAUDIBLE] said to Ron, I said look, we either get on with this, or else you can't do it.
So Ron did the run.
[INAUDIBLE] told the press people that he'd done it.
I think it was 1952.
I went over there first.
The motor wanted to [UNKNOWN] to do a full road test report.
Which they used to do.
Part of that road test of course is for the maximum speed of the vehicle.
They said the one thing we're not happy about doing the max speed, could Norman come over and just do the maximum speed time for us?
I got in the car and I did a couple of warm-up laps up and down.
Got it warm.
And this big, black cloud was coming closer and closer.
And just as I was about five minutes before I was due to launch the heavens opened and it was torrential.
And you'll see them over the marks that day.
And then it eased a bit.
So they said, look we'll cancel it.
I said, look we cannot cancel it, all the people are here, all the press.
They said oh, I said no, I'll do a run.
So I did and you see some photographs the spray and everything.
The car was moving.
I did break the record, I put it up to I think, 145.
But it should have gone much quicker than that.
Had it been [INAUDIBLE].
But we got the record.
For some unknown reason, Lyons always was in very insistent on this record.
He liked to see the publicity because cheap publicity didn't cost anything really.
So that was 52.
53 I went back in 53 of April.
We decided then we would go for the saloon record and Sports car production record, and the Ansen [UNKNOWN] record for prototypes, which at the same time we took mark seven, then the production 120, so I did all three.
So we got the record for the saloon, we got it for the production sports cars, and then we got if for the [UNKNOWN] So, what happened?
All the publicity and then, it's all gone.
In September, '53.
I was in the office on evening and the lions came in and opened the doors.
In doing so, I said, yeah.
Never called anybody by their first name or.
I see, you've lost the record.
I said, pardon.
He said, the record.
That Belgium thing you do.
He said, we've lost it.
I said, oh.
He said, don't you know?
I said, no.
I'm too busy.
And he pulled this newspaper piece out it and he said here on it and it was for Gasso, the Spanish firm.
Make a nice sports car now, you got a two and a half liter Chrysler supercharged and.
And I put it up to 155.
I took the production sports car.
I said, well, not much we can do on that.
He said, why not?
I said, the 120, that's it, isn't it?
That's the sports car we've got.
The last run we did with that, I said, that's about it.
I said, the performance of it, the shape of it.
I said it was getting a bit twitchy.
So he went away a bit disgruntled and the following morning Bill Heinz big tough guy and he said Norman, has the old man spoke to you about the outback?
I said, oh yeah.
I said, I don't think we'll do anymore with the one twenty.
He said, well no.
He said, but we will do something to appease him, if we can.
He said, let's have a look at the 120 again.
So, there's Bub Knight's suspension.
And, they really suspended him.
Malcolm cited the editor on his.
[INAUDIBLE] There was a myself then, there was Bill Knives and then, there was Jack Emerson from the engine department.
So, we get to 120 in the ...shop and we stand looking at it and Malcolm says, 'Put a perspex bubble over it, Norman.
Seal him in.' He said, 'That'll be worth probably five more an hour.' Then Jack Emerson from the engine shop said, 'Well, if we take the off-side headlamp out, [UNKNOWN] from the headlamp at the back straight to the carburetor [UNKNOWN].
It was probably another two and a half break horses or something like that.
Then Bob and I said well, yeah, if we get the riding heights just right.
He said good he airflow, he says, and under here right from the front to the back seal it all underneath.
Then Bob said tires.
If we buff the tires off.
Off the [UNKNOWN].
He said blow them up 50 PSI, so you have a very small contact to the tire.
Probably another couple of mile an hour.
This is how it went.
[LAUGH] So, Hank said, what do you think?
I said, it sounds interesting.
I said, I was going to [UNKNOWN].
So, he said Oh, you will be driving and I said, All right.
A few days later, [UNKNOWN] and I got this perspex bubble.
What they found was that there was a firm in Hereford who made gliders and this perspex bubble feature was already on this glider.
Malcolm and [INAUDIBLE] had worked it out that would probably do the job, so we sent to [INAUDIBLE], got two of these canopy.
So I'm sitting in the seat [INAUDIBLE].
So they lower it down, it's on top of me head and it's about four inches from the body.
So they took the seat out and they said get back in Nolan.
He said, get back in.
I said, I'm not sitting on the floor.
He said, just get in the car, let's have a look.
So I'm sitting on the floor, the steering wheel was up here.
And of course, it was a 17 inch [INAUDIBLE] on that.
So they lower the bubble.
And lo and behold, it now meets the body.
I've got about three inches headroom.
So they left the [INAUDIBLE].
He said, that's it, he said.
so I was hanging on.
I said I can't draw the wheels up here.
I said, I can't hardly see over the steering wheel.
So, in the end, the column brackets under the scuttle, lowered it down on the wheels now on my leg.
He says, we need a fourteen inch wheel, no seventeen, let's make it a fourteen inch wheel.
The only thing was I couldn't wear a helmet Real easily.
Because it got three inches under him.
I've got a white leather helm, so it's all better.
But that's how the whole car was prepared and that's how we took it to [UNKNOWN].
So I got off going about two miles and I start me rundown.
And I'm taking it up to about 55 for the exchange.
No need to go any higher.
And then I've suddenly found me-self in top.
I'm pulling five-five in top, and the white checkered board marker board is a long way away and I'm thinking, I've got it in, I've got it up too early.
Anyway, I keep it, so keeping my foot out flat [INAUDIBLE] And once we reach that marker board, I'm doing 6.2 Jack Emerson said 5.8 normally.
And I thought any minute it's gonna go.
This is all gonna blow up in my face.
But it went through that measured mile.
I'm thinking this is great.
Done a good job here.
And they undo the buckle, and I pull myself up off the seat and I'm sitting on top of the car, like.
Nobody spoke at all, just dead quiet, and I'm thinking what's wrong here?
Lofty England, he's the team manager for the race, and he's standing just in front of the car, and he's got his arms all, He said, you've got a problem, Norman.
I said, problem?
He said, yeah.
I said, no.
He said, you're not really quick.
I said, what do you mean I'm not really quick?
I said, I've gotta be a [INAUDIBLE] 6 3. He said, no there must be something wrong with the rev counter.
He said, you're not as quick.
As he was in April.
And then he unfolded his arms, he walked towards me, gave me a big hug.
And all the crowd cheered then.
He said, you know what you've done, you bugger?
I said, no.
He said, 172.4 mile per hour.
[LAUGH] He said, you've shattered it I couldn't believe it, you know.
I said you serious?
I said no, I said I haven't done it.
He says you've done that.
But, the laughable thing was, when we got back to the hotel, he said we better give the old man a ring.
That's [INAUDIBLE] Norman's really shattered it.
He said 172.
And he said no, no, no.
And he says not kilometers miles per hour.
The old man about near killed over.
Oh I took the phone off of him and I said or he said well done Dennis.
Now I told you see I told you you could do it.
He said we'll get it back.
So I told Lofty he said you can go into Brussels and have a bit of a party he said but don't forget the champagne is very expensive.
[LAUGH] Whatever happens as long as you come out of it successful that's what you've got to do.
I like speed you know I've always been one.
55 year on the down there I got 192 with the Daytime, [INAUDIBLE], I was recorded as the fastest [UNKNOWN].
I beat Hawthorne, [UNKNOWN], and the Mercedes.
Basically knowing the car, and the others having their screens cut.
I didn't have my screen cut, you see, and that screen [UNKNOWN] For every inch we cut off that screen, we were losing one and half mile an hour down [UNKNOWN].
Hawthorne had three inches cut off.
Rowland Hamilton, they had about four inches cut off.
We didn't cut ours.
They guy who was driving with me, Bowman, he wanted He sat in the car and said.
I said, we're not cutting it.
[LAUGH] And it was well worth not cutting cuz we got that extra bit of speed down both sides.
I [UNKNOWN] in a Mercedes for about two laps.
He was just getting away from me through the corner.
Their handling, it was just that little bit better than ours.
Cuz I had independent suspension.
We had only the rear axle.
He was on the third lap after I told him.
We came onto the [INAUDIBLE] lot, reached down into the axis, and said, I don't know whether you missed a gear or something, but the car suddenly slowed up and I closed right up.
Third top Still hard down on the throttle.
I was holding him, and then it, somehow, I was so close.
I thought, I'm gonna try it, so I pulled out.
And I thought that the [UNKNOWN] air from him would push me back a bit like, you know drop back a bit.
Stuck at it.
Just kept accelerating, but just slowly going by him.
So, I let it go, but I looked at it quickly with the [UNKNOWN], I was up to the old 6'2", 6'3".
But again, having done it once, I thought it's not gonna be as long anyway just to get by him.
We've done it before to Jabick and So, I did.
I just slowly got by him.
He looked across, scowled a bit, you know?
So I just went like that and [INAUDIBLE].
I just got in front of him.
And, of course, I had a timing device [UNKNOWN].
And they gave it out that I'd got 192.
I was always a reserve driver, naturally, and I used to have to go out and do my qualifying laps.
So that was a regular thing for me, whether it was [UNKNOWN] or [UNKNOWN], whatever.
A lot of press people used to say to Lyons or England why don't you put Norman in as a permanent driver?
We look at his lap times, he's as quick as any of them.
So one of them says you know who he is.
And he'd be reliable.
Don't blow it up.
But, if there's an accident, not Lewis' fault, Lewis is laid up in hospital, what's happening to the the other cars?
Under his breath, he said of course, I'll be paying him as well, he's not working.
So you have this little thing with it.
That was exhausting, too, and I could see his point.
So, that was it.
But '55, that came about.
For someone [INAUDIBLE], and [INAUDIBLE].
He couldn't make it.
And Ian Stewart, he'd had a crash.
They looked around and Mike Hawthorne recommended that they brought in a guy named Bowman, Don Bowman.
I never met him before and never heard of him really, but he apparently was a single seater Connaught, drive a Connaught.
I we're looking at somebody else.
I think it was Hanes Morbuss said,No, no.
He said, He wouldn't qualify for this sort of a race.
He said, The only thing we can do is put Norman in.
He said, no one would be okay.
So, that's how I got in.
Only because Dess Stichington wasn't too well to do the race.
Because of Steward not being able to do it with Hawthorne, Hawthorne had recommended Felman Loftdinger said, no, I would rather put Barrowman with [UNKNOWN].
And we were third car.
So I said to Barrowman, I said, look, it's all we've got to do it stay on the track.
Don't do anything stupid, just stay back.
We've got to be up front as much as we can, but don't worry if we're down in forth or fifth.
It's a 24-hour race.
We must be running Sunday, up to 4 o'clock Sunday.
Ed expected where we are.
Oh yeah, yeah, okay.
And I say, I never met the bloke but he seemed all right, but.
Immediately when we started the first practice, he went out and again.
Some of these you're obvious.
Instead of going at it and saying- Of course, he never went in the car before, you see.
he goes out on his fifth lap.
He was missing.
And Lofty said, where the bloody hell is he?
The next thing, he comes in.
He says I'm sorry I was spinning it to Indianapolis.
I said to him I said he's been here before and just take your time and get used to the car.
I mean to me the car is nothing on me.
I know ever move and every nut and bolt.
So that was it and I thought God I hope she don't misbehave when the race starts.
Anyway he started the race and I would say, for the first nearly, two hours is a grand prix between Hawthorne and Fangio.
They're passing in all the time, at top speeds, in that.
We went right through until the accident.
That happened I think, about four and a half hours later, after start.
And, Oliver Beaux, he hadn't been out up till then.
So we stood on the pier and we witnessed the whole accident.
And Lofty said get ready.
All I heard he said, I'm bringing Hawthorne in.
That's when it's happening.
Crash, he said, I'm not driving this.
He said, I'm not going out.
I said, why?
I say, you got to.
And he said, look at these cars.
He said, I'm not doing this.
We brought Hawthorne in and of course the accident happened and they say oh I thought Hawthorne was going in.
And that's why they were putting a lot of blame on Hawthorne.
Anyway Lofty sent him around to do another lap.
Of course the chaos.
Then he came in and view still wasn't going to get in anyway Lofty was real particular and said get in that car.
And away he went.
Now, a lot of people said to Jaguar after the race, why did you carry on racing?
Mercedes pulled out, you say.
It's quite true.
The thing is, you do know that was an accident.
You do not stop the race until they red-flag it.
And stop it.
I know it looks grim, but it's a race.
And it is dangerous.
And there's always gonna be accidents.
And it's up to the clerk of the course or the main officials to decide, we stop the race or it carries on.
And they just carried it on.
We carried on.
Okay, we want it, but the sad thing was, with Mercedes, they pulled out and cleared the whole camp from Le Monde.
It was about five o'clock in the morning, the French officials decided they want to see Mercedes, so they went down to the camp, or to the hotel where they were based.
They got there and there was not one thing of the Mercedes at the hotel.
Everything had gone.
The personnel, the cars, the whole works.
If people were talking about real hard about the accident, who could have been harder than, pull out.
They should have stayed.
And I've been sympathetic towards the accident.
So whether they got something to hold, something probably with a car, we don't know.
Just gone, back to Stoneguard, cleared.
We saw [UNKNOWN] go airborne, saw the bit come out, fling out of it.
then it just crunched on top of the bank, and all the bits went into the.
Of course, if you look at the spectator crowds, they were all packed tight in the compounds of these spectator enclosures.
And so nobody moved, and the whole front suspension just went through Lottie's side.
Decapitated some children, one or two people.
We didn't see that mind you, all this was seen after.
It was better the race carried on, because, If they had have announced that there would have been a terrific crash, people would have started all panicking and mulling about.
The ambulances would not have been able to get in to the engine.
I mean, apart from the 86 killed, there was loads and loads of engine.
There was no panic.
The ambulances weren't able to get in and take these people to the hospital to rest.
Still saying that all these years later, oh it was Hawthorn's fault.
And I've said no, no it wasn't Mike's fault.
Mike came up to white house.
In front of him was MIchael in the Healy.
And they come out together.
Mike accelerates and gets in front.
Macklin's very coming up behind Hawthorne.
Mike puts his arm up.
You always did that those days.
You put your right arm up if you're coming in the pits.
So he puts his arm up.
Now whether Macklin didn't see it or not I don't know, but Mike now is braking.
Macklin suddenly sees him braking, he's probably doing about 100 miles an hour.
And he suddenly then moves out, pulls out then.
Just as he pulls out, the back was just coming up in the mud.
And no, he wouldn't have a minute, the seconds he had to touch that brake.
Because he needed in front of him now Here's this vehicle and he just went straight up it.
And the Healey has got a very sloppy back and he just formed a ramp.
And you make your own mind up, you know.
If you want to say, it was all Osborn's fault, then do that.
But I think when you've seen that, you'd agree with me it was not Murphy's fault, you know.
We're gonna do a new sports car.
The basis was that following up from the XKSS, there was only those 16 made.
The obvious thing was to look at the XKSS and then formulate that this could be, with certain modifications [UNKNOWN] production sports car.
So there you've got the same basic principle of the D type.
You've got the center tub, front sub frame, and rear sub frame bolted to it.
Don't even compete with the old chassis method.
We then produce what we called E1A, first prototype.
It was gonna be a small car, two and a half liter engine The first ones have this new independent rear suspension that Bob [UNKNOWN] had designed.
The idea was Sir William was looking to go into a small market sports car.
We weren't too happy of that.
We said, well you know, the market is very, very strong on that point.
You've got MGs and Walters and all that.
So instead of going ahead with that project, we then produced what we called E-2A, that's another one off.
Given the basic design of the D type, but more now into the sport car side.
So, there we've now got E-2A.
I did loads and loads of new development, suspension, the ride, handling.
I was gonna go rally racing.
But then following that, we did not race.
We were now going into this production sports car.
The E-Type came from e to a. Now, the reason that we were able to get the E-Type in production quickly and ended up selling it Was because all the work had been on 2A, which was basically the [UNKNOWN] base.
Two basic e-times.
Not only [INAUDIBLE], now we're going to launch it at Geneva in 1961.
One of the first twos off the line was [INAUDIBLE], that was the fixed [UNKNOWN] And the open car, 77RW.
The announcement is they're gonna launch it in Geneva.
They take one car over that was built and it wasn't a [INAUDIBLE] put on the shelf, I understand.
Now in 6008 I'd almost finished, they'd took that as a demonstration car.
I still run a 77RW they one To do some brake work.
And they'd gone over to Geneva and of course the queue for the e time.
See when they launched it and unveiled it, everybody went wow, all the press.
And I don't think Lymes expected that response from the public or the press.
It was a wow, everything, Carl look at this.
Brand new design, no [UNKNOWN] All completely and the prize, 2,000 pounds and English stole it.
So everybody wanted to get a run in the [UNKNOWN] So poor old Bobby, he's up there, demonstration, the queue of people He then turns around to Lyons and said, I just can't keep this up.
He said, I'm worn out.
He said, I can't keep this all week.
He said, the queue is so big.
My boss, Haynes said, well, the other [INAUDIBLE] type Norman's got, the open one, that, he said we can get that over here.
So I got in touch with Jaguar, and said get Walter [INAUDIBLE].
They said he's at [INAUDIBLE] he's testing.
Well get him off the track, get him back to the factory.
We want that car here tomorrow, gotta be here about 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Now Frank Dolby, he's the track manager, he comes out onto the track, stops me.
So I stop and he said, Norman, you gotta get back to the factory quick.
I said what for.
He said, I don't know.
All they said is get you off the track and you gotta go straight back.
So I said what's going on?
He said, you gotta get this car over to Geneva tomorrow.
I said I'll pick it up in the morning and get over there.
He said, no no, he said you can't go out.
I said why.
He said you gotta be on the boat ten tonight.
I said you're in a bad.
I said I'm going home.
He said you can't.
So I said, there's no way I can get to Geneva in that time.
He said Norman, if you don't make it, you don't make it, but for God's sake.
Let's put the effort in.
By the time they finished the car, taking the gauges off, tuning it up, tidying it up, it was round about quarter to eight.
I gotta be down at Dover for 10, so I made a mad dash down.
Mind you, in those days, there wasn't the traffic density.
So I get down towards there when I pull in, fill the tank up.
Then this poor bloke comes over with his torch, cuz it's dark, you see.
He said, can I help you sir?
I said yeah.
I said is that the [INAUDIBLE]?
He said yeah.
I said I've gotta be honest.
You're too late.
They said it's due out in the next quarter of an hour.
I said look I've gotta get honest with you.
He said no I'm sorry.
And then he's lorries [UNKNOWN] he said what's this one.
I said this is the new Jaguar [UNKNOWN] Always is the one is only publicist about radio, television.
Is this it?
I said yet, I've got to get it over to Geneva.
He said hang on, so he gets on his two-way radio.
He said, look, I know this is a last-minute rush.
But you must get this car on, he said.
Your seed in the flesh, this new [UNKNOWN] he said you'll probably never get another chance.
I drop the balls down and drive it on.
And of course as soon as it got on, all the crew boys are all around and I said look don't mark it.
I said have a look at it so they clamped it down and everything.
So i get off the boat and [UNKNOWN] and i drove non stop from [UNKNOWN] to Geneva.
I got there, it was about 12 minutes to 10.
Now as i arrived at the salon [UNKNOWN] there was lions at all [UNKNOWN] lots of people all wanted to see So I drive up, Lyons walks over and he just looks at his watch, and he just said, I knew you'd do it, and walked off, and that was it.
Then Lefty came over and put his arm around me.
He said, you did a good job there, Norman.
I said yes, thanks Lefty.
I said, where's my hotel?
He said, what?
I said, I'm into bed.
A couple of nights or more.
He said no.
He said, you gotta get up there now, start demonstrating with Bob Bailey.
So we were taking him up this hill, over the top.
We could just about pull 135.
This guy comes over.
Soon as I saw the string around his neck, [INAUDIBLE] hello.
Course, the string around your neck, hanging on the end is a stop watch.
And I thought what's he up to?
So he come over, and he said Mr. Derrieser.
I said yeah.
He said, you're the quickest up the hill.
I said oh?
He said well, we shouldn't be.
It's unofficial, Tom.
Just for interest.
He said you're quicker than Merc's, quicker than Ferrari's.
The Mercedes goes early, so the next thing is they're going quicker.
The Ferrari boys, they hit it.
So it finishes up, we're going up quick, quick, quick.
And no thought to the poor lot passing you who was supposed to be devastated, [LAUGH] and encourage you.
And so that's what happened to the rest of the week.
And it finished up that we were still the quickest, I was quick, probably was second.
And now I think it was Ferrari, and then Mercedes.
So that's the story of what we called the mad dash.
What I'd done, I'm leaving Coventry to Geneva, I'd done in 11 hours, that not including the lavatory because Eleven hours on the road.
And I drove at 68 miles an hour for the trip.
I always remember going down Edgeware Road.
I got down there about a quarter past nine, or some [UNKNOWN] like that.
Of course Edgeware Road's got all these series of traffic lights I hit the first light at green, and every one, every one, I was just at the speed was about right to catch every green, so there was no stopping.
I mean, edge of the road could take you quite a bit awhile with the stops if I'd been red.
But they were all green, so everything was in the fire to do the run in 11 hours.
Now that was in.
I wanted to be one of the best.
I now find that I've achieved what I set out to do when I was 16 years old, you know.
Probably I'm looking for perfection.
You never get that, but you try to get as close as you can.
It's just a one off life I've had.
Why this all been connected with [INAUDIBLE] I don't know.
But for some unknown reason there's the path that you go on and I've been on that path all these years.
I wouldn't regret it.
And everywhere I go there's somehow this connection.
And I always have said in our daily talks or when I'm meeting people It's a Jaguar family thing.
Auto is called in the Jaguar family.
I know it's big now but it's still at the core of Jaguar is that original family of the 50's and the 60's.
today I'm called a legend.
I don't mind being called a legend, I like it.
The Honda E looks cute and is full of tech
The 2020 Porsche Cayenne GTS brings back its V8 soundtrack and...
McLaren 600LT Spider: Eye-popping performance on and off the...
This is how you transform a Jaguar E-Type into a masterpiece
Mercedes-AMG A45 S: Super-hatch with a price tag to match
Formula 1 is back for 2020, but should it be?
Ferrari's 710-bhp 488 Pista has us asking if the supercar arms...
The Suzuki Jimny turns heads on the roads, but this modified...
This is how we captured some of our most epic shots
The C7 ZR1 is the most powerful front-engined Corvette Chevrolet...