The Jaguar Drivers’ Club ‘Champion of Champions’ is probably the world’s most prestigious Jaguar-only concours competition. Throughout the year, classic cars compete in concours competitions against their peers in seven different Jaguar registers, all hosted during various Jaguar Drivers’ Club events up and down the UK. The winners are then invited to compete against each other in a winner-takes-all showdown. This is held annually at the Classic Motor Show – the increasingly large classic car ‘season grand finale’ – where hundreds of classic car clubs, bike clubs and service providers showcase their wares.
And the ‘Champion of Champions’ prize? The HR Owen trophy and the prestige of winning one of the most coveted titles on the UK classic car scene.
Which is why owners are prepared to make the effort and carry the not insignificant expense of presenting their cars for the honour of being invited and competing against some remarkable examples of Jaguar’s world-class design and engineering.
Having won the SS Register Annual Concours in July for the second year running, Robin again had the privilege of being invited to compete at the JDC’s showpiece event, held at the UK’s biggest exhibition centre, the NEC in Birmingham. And, given the previous year’s result could have gone either way, was eager to have the chance to compete yet again.
We’ve spent a lot of time preparing this car for competition at the highest levels; from its victory in its very first concours competition to its phenomenal success at Pebble Beach. So we knew precisely what we were in for to get our client’s highly decorated show car ready for scrutiny once more.
Which meant that when the time came for judging on the Saturday morning at the NEC, the car was ready. And it showed. Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but it did seem to us that Robin’s two-seater sports tourer drew the most attention throughout the weekend, leaving any number of photograph-taking spectators shaking their heads in admiration.
Somehow, people seemed instinctively to appreciate just how valuable this historically-important car was. We lost count the number of times we overheard someone joking about buying it for a loved one as a birthday or Christmas present.
Outside, autumn had set in. The weather was chilly, very blustery and wet. But inside the vast exhibition arena on the Jaguar Drivers’ Club stand, the air bristled with energy – with nerves, excitement and pride all adding to the steadily building atmosphere which remained friendly and sporting throughout. Which is a credit to the competitors, all of whom were clearly delighted to be able to showcase their treasured possessions on such a prestigious stage.
And then it began. Two and a half hours of examination by four teams of volunteer judges, chosen for their objectivity and lack of bias. Each judge (working in pairs or alone) draws (entirely at random) an exclusive category to adjudicate on, such as interiors, engines or chassis, to name but three of the seven areas in total. The judges would then assess that same area on each of the seven cars, all on the same day.
All results would then be handed into Brian Ekin, the competition’s master planner and former Jaguar Drivers’ Club board member. Late into Saturday evening, Brian and his wife Joan would then faithfully check and double check all of the figures submitted by the judges, with the ultimate prize being awarded the next day to the car that had gleaned the most points.
So was this finally going to be Robin’s year or was it again fated to fall just short of the esteemed award?
And finally, the presentation…
Come Sunday afternoon, a heady buzz had built around the stand as the presentation party and a thronging crowd had assembled to see which owner and vehicle had scooped top spot.
And then the time had come. The announcement of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club’s ‘Champion of Champions’. We were almost expecting a drum-roll or fanfare and weren’t quite sure where to put ourselves as we waited for the announcement of the winning car. So when Robin’s name was read out, we had to do a double-take to make sure we’d heard right!
Robin and Alison were beaming as they collected the HR Owen trophy (an impressive solid silver orb) from Jaguar UK’s Sales Manager, David Lewis, as well as their certificate and a delightful crystal rose bowl, which each finalist also received.
This is JD Classics’ very first Jaguar ‘Champion of Champions’ win since we started presenting cars at this event back in 2007 and caps an astonishing year of concours victories for us and our clients, underlining our already impressive pedigree for restoring award-winning vehicles.
Moreover, this is the first time a classic Jaguar has won three major, highly prestigious concours events in the same year (namely Jaguar Drivers’ Club’s Car of the Day and Champions of Champions, as well as Class Winner at Pebble Beach). This is, by any measure, a truly remarkable achievement.
And now surely this rare and magnificent beauty has to go down as history’s most decorated SS100, the likes of which we’re never likely to see again in our lifetimes. Which is why it’s been a tremendous privilege to play a major part in building such a fantastic reputation for our client’s car in just three years.
We don’t know how long he’ll be enjoying it for, though, as it’s beginning to attract significant interest from around the world. But while we still can. we’ll be sure to let you know how the formidable standing of one of the world’s oldest and most authentic SS100s continues to grow over the coming months.