I was pleasantly surprised to see Norman Dewis receiving an OBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List. Surprised not because he didn’t deserve it, he was probably one of the most influential people in the development of the D Type, E Type and 23 other significant Jaguars including the XJ13. I was surprised because that type of award often doesn’t seem to reach the people I think it should. There’s no Sir John Surtees yet for example.
Norman is well legendary within the industry, iconic amongst the global car manufacturer’s test driver elite and it’s a measure of his stature that someone who is often in the shadows should be honoured in this way. Dewis’ automotive CV is remarkable: he developed the Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the 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 XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models.
Sir Jackie Stewart, three times Formula One World Champion, said: “Norman Dewis is one of the real characters, not just of the British motor industry but also British Motorsport. He’s one of the backroom boys and sometimes they don’t get the accolades they should. Her Majesty the Queen and the honours office have very much done the right thing in awarding Norman Dewis an OBE.”
This short film shows just how great a time span Norman’s test driving career covered. A great tribute to a remarkable career. And he’s still around Jaguar today.
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