Norman Dewis OBE has died on the age of 98.
As Jaguar’s chief take a look at driver from 1952-85 he developed to be used on street and monitor vehicles which have handed into Jaguar legend: the D-type, E-type, MkII, XJ6 and plenty of extra. After retirement till solely shortly earlier than his loss of life he travelled the world as a Jaguar ambassador, selling the model he liked. He was maybe essentially the most famed and revered chassis growth engineer this nation has produced.
Norman was born in 1920 and when his father died in 1934 he left college aged 14 to offer for his household. After a quick spell at Humber he went to work for Armstrong-Siddeley the place his take a look at driving profession began after which faltered on the outbreak of hostilities.
He survived the battle regardless of spending three years as a turret gunner the flying coffin that was the sluggish and woefully defended Bristol Blenheim, although this was understandably part of his life about which he stayed uncharacteristically quiet. After a brief spell at Lea Francis after the struggle, on the finish of 1951 he joined the corporate to which he would dedicate the remainder of his working life.
His first job was to judge whether or not disc brakes, already nicely established on plane, may very well be tailored to go well with a automotive. He went via untold numbers of excessive velocity brake failures earlier than he although the Dunlop system adequate to check out in public. For this he and Stirling Moss entered the 1952 Mille Miglia figuring if that didn’t break the brakes, little else would. They had been mendacity third close to the end after they needed to retire.
Norman was an achieved racing driver in his personal proper, adequate to earn a seat in a D-type within the fateful 1955 Le Mans. However often his expertise was thought to be far too necessary to threat on racing, so the monitor with which he grew to become most acquainted was MIRA, nonetheless utilized by Autocar testers to this present day. There he racked up over 1.25 million miles at a median velocity of over 100mph.
He additionally survived three huge accidents there, the slowest at over 130mph. On all three events, in a C-type, a D-type, and most famously the by no means raced XJ13 Le Mans automotive, he tucked himself below the scuttle and rode it out till the automotive stopped. Regardless of no belts or roll safety, he emerged with out critical damage.
He was additionally the person who received the decision at MIRA close to the tip of 1 working day telling him the E-type he was in was wanted in Geneva for breakfast. In 1961 he did the 760 miles in 14 hours after which spent all the next day giving passenger rides to journalists.
Employment laws compelled him to take retirement in 1965 after which he launched into the second a part of his profession, spending over 30 years as a Jaguar ambassador. He had at all times hoped to succeed in his century, largely as a result of he wished to drive the XJ13 at 100mph on his 100 th birthday. He was made an OBE within the 2015 New Yr’s Honours Checklist about which he professed to be ‘really satisfied.’
Norman Dewis was a person wanting stature however a large of our trade. Even at the moment the texture of a Jaguar relies largely on how he preferred a automotive to deal with. He was genial to a fault and a born raconteur, however with an internal metal you would not miss. He might be missed not simply by these fortunate sufficient to know him, however by the hundreds everywhere in the world who got here to listen to him discuss. There needs to be tens of millions extra too: anybody, certainly, who has had their lives saved by the very fact their disc brakes stopped the automotive in time owes just a bit little bit of their salvation to Norman Dewis OBE. All of us at Autocar want to ship our honest condolences to his household.
Jaguar’s Norman Dewis – Flat out at 95
At work with Norman Dewis, Jaguar Land Rover’s legendary take a look at engineer
A historical past of the long-lasting Jaguar E-Kind