Jaguar’s very first F-TYPE leads the company’s heritage collection (w/VIDEO)

Jaguar has presented the very first F-TYPE (#1) to Jaguar Heritage at the official opening of the new Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum.

Among the guests at the reception to mark the gallery’s opening was the company’s legendary test driver, Norman Dewis, who celebrated his 93rd birthday this week.

In advance of the opening ceremony, a unique collection of Jaguar heritage sports cars was driven in procession into Coventry including a 1938 SS100, iconic E-type and 14 models from the marque’s rich history.

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Dewis tested and developed over 25 Jaguar cars in his career, from the C and D-type through to the XJ13, E-type, XJ-S and XJ40. He was presented with a birthday cake at the event, which featured the XK120 that in 1953 broke the production car speed record in Jabbeke; achieving a top speed of 172.4mph.

The new Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum is entitled ‘The Jaguar Story – A History of Design and Technical Innovation’ and is split into five sections. The include ‘The Early Years’ (1920s to 1940s), ‘The Post War Boom and Glamorous 50s’, ‘The Swinging 60s’, ‘Growth and Consolidation’ (70s to 00s), and ‘Jaguar Present and Future’ (2005 and on).

Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director and Jaguar Heritage Trustee, said “The new Jaguar Gallery is a fitting celebration of eight decades of design and technical innovation in our spiritual home of Coventry, and today’s presentation of the new F-TYPE offers a glimpse into Jaguar’s future too.”

Jaguar cars in the procession..

Model Details
1938 SS Jaguar 100 Sports model introduced in 1935 as part of the first range to carry the Jaguar name. Could exceed 100 mph with 3½ litre engine. Prices at launch started from £395.
1953 XK120 Fastest production car in the world at the time and the first to use Jaguar’s now legendary XK engine. Clark Gable was one of many famous owners.
1953 C-type Developed from XK120, fitted with wind-cheating aluminium body, designed by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer. Factory prepared versions won at Le Mans in 1951 (C-type debut) and in 1953. Pioneered use of disc brakes in competition at the 1952 Mille Miglia.
1954 D-type Successor to C-type and 3-time Le Mans winner – in 1955, 1956 and 1957. This car was the first D-type prototype (built May 1954) and taken straight to France for Le Mans test session where driver Norman Dewis broke the lap record by 5 seconds.
1957 XKSS Derived from D-type, road-going XKSS is among the rarest of Jaguar sports cars with only 16 ever built. Actor Steve McQueen owned one.
1955 XK140 Produced from 1954 to 1957 as successor to XK120. Featured revised styling with 2+2 seating and rack and pinion steering for the first time.
1957 XK150 Produced from 1957 to 1960 and was last of the 1950s XK series. First road-going Jaguar with disc brakes, three carburettor “S” version could reach 135mph.
1961 E-type Series 1 Launched at ’61 Geneva motor show, the E-type came to symbolise the Swinging 60s. This car was the first production two-seater and was famously driven by Norman Dewis in an overnight dash to the Geneva Motor Show for launch.
1969 E-type Series 2 Produced from 1968 to 1970 as the second E-type iteration, modified mainly to suit US requirements as well as other general safety and comfort improvements.
1974 E-type Series 3 Series 3 E-type models were first to showcase Jaguar’s new 5.3 litre V12 engine. This open two seater was the last E-type made in 1974 after run of 72,500 cars and carries a commemorative plaque bearing a facsimile of Sir William Lyons’s signature.
1996 XJS Produced from 1975 to 1996 and selling over 100,000 cars. Launched as a V12 coupé only – cabriolet and convertible with a choice of 6-cylinder engines were added later. This car is the last 4.0 litre model produced.
1997 XK8 Launched in 1996, XK8 was the first car to use the new Jaguar AJ-V8 4.0 litre engine which was later supercharged for the XKR version. Available as coupé and convertible.
1991 XJR15 Produced from 1990 to 1992 as a one series race car with only 53 made. Was the world’s first fully carbon-fibre road-car which retailed at $960,000.
1993 XJ220 Produced from 1992 to 1994 after unveiling as a concept in 1988 – famously raced at Le Mans. Capable of 217 mph and priced at nearly £400,000. Less than 300 were produced.
2012 XK Produced from 2005 in coupé and convertible body styles, powered by 5.0 litre V8 engines – with supercharged XKR versions delivering upwards of 503bhp.
2013 F-TYPE Jaguar’s newest sports car, inspired by the original E-type concept.