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Jaguar legend Norman Dewis receives OBE

Former Jaguar test driver, Norman Dewis, has received an Order of the British Empire in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List.

IN A CAREER SPANNING 33 years, Norman Dewis OBE had a hand in developing and testing 25 Jaguar models, and is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest test driver. He is 94.

According to a statement by Jaguar, Dewis “developed the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the pioneering XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the classic 2.4/3.4 and Mk II saloons, plus the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the legendary E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the world-class XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models.

“Dewis was also co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia and, in 1953, set a 172.412 mph production car speed record in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on a closed section of the Jabbeke highway, Belgium. He also drove a 190 mph works D-type in the dramatic 1955 Le Mans 24hr race and competed in the famous Goodwood Nine Hours in the 1950s […] He also played a vital role in developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake.”

Of all the cars he worked on, Dewis considers the D-type to be the best. “I got that car up to 192 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans,” he says. “Well, I had to pass [Karl] Kling in the Mercedes.” Jaguar’s star driver at the time, Mike Hawthorn, had such faith in Dewis that when he was asked to attend a test session and saw that Dewis was already there, asked the team manager: “Why am I here? If Norman’s satisfied with it, I’m satisfied.”

John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, and Chairman of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, said: “Jaguar owes a huge debt to Norman Dewis. His incredible skills have resulted in some of the finest cars this company has ever made – whether they were designed for the road or the racing circuit. The Norman Dewis of today is the same quietly confident and modest man of the 1950s – he remains a world-class Jaguar ambassador. It is fantastic to see his contribution to Jaguar, and to British engineering, recognised in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List, with the award of an OBE.”


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober