Hundreds of classic Jaguars flock to enormous Windsor gathering

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Words: Lizzie Pope
Images: Chris Gage/Nick Gage

On Saturday 6 May 2017, the largest-ever gathering of Jaguars assembled in Windsor, Berkshire, for the Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival.

Following on the heels of Aston Martin, MG and Rolls-Royce events at Windsor in 2005, 2009 and 2011 respectively, this year The Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton's motoring extravaganza celebrated another iconic British brand.

The festivities, organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club and in aid of The Prince Philip Trust Fund which turns 40 this year, kicked off on the Friday night with a champagne reception in St George's Hall, Windsor Castle, attended by HRH The Earl of Wessex.

But Saturday was the main event when an astonishing 1200 Jaguars assembled in Windsor. Indeed, it really was Jaguars as far as the eye could see, 960 parked on The Long Walk in a display that was open to the public.

Owners brought cars from across Europe, including Germany, France and Holland, some enthusiasts also flying in from the USA to be part of the event. 

The festival's centrepiece was an impressive 240-car parade through the streets of Windsor, on a 1.5-mile route that took them through the castle and past The Earl of Wessex.

And the crowds lining the streets were treated with a true Jaguar history lesson, the parade showcasing models from each decade of the company's history.

The earliest model was a 1929 Austin Swallow driven by John Gallon who's as old as his car. A 1933 SS1 16hp Tourer and a 1936 SS100 3.5-litre Roadster were among the 1930s offerings, Mk IVs flying the flag for the 1940s.

A fine collection of XK120s, 140s and 150s were among the great many 1950s cars that took to the the streets. But from this era, the stars of the show were undoubtedly the C-type and a trio of D-types, one short- and one long-nosed, plus a replica, a magnificent sight on the public road.

However, for some, this was eclipsed by the rare appearance of the one and only XJ13, the occasion made all the more special because behind the wheel of this 1966 car was Michael Quinn, Sir William Lyons' grandson.

E-types, S-types, Mk IXs and Mk 2s also represented the 1960s. More E-types followed as the parade moved into the 70s, joined by other cars including a Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas Series 2 Coupe and a Suffolk Jaguar SS100 replica.

A variety of XJSs were among the 1980s cars, including an eye-catching V12 HE Lynx Eventer from 1984. Indeed there was a second Eventer, a 1996 model, but top honours in that decade could only go to one car: Colin Manconi's XJ220. And, incredibly, it was one of two at the event.

En route to the marque's latest models, the XK8 'Shaguar' was back in the limelight on the streets of Windsor, while the final car might have had all the head-turning looks of a classic but, being one of the limited-run XKSS Continuations, it was actually one of the youngest.

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