MY LOVE OF JAGUARS

David Stewart, Owner of Hamiltons Jaguar

In 1975 at the age of 7 I fell in love with a neighbour’s Regency Red Jaguar XJ6. The following year my passion for Jaguars grew after seeing a Jaguar XJ-S in my Top Trump playing card game. While my primary school friends were busy collecting football cards and programs I was out collecting brochures/road tests of every Jaguar I could find.

One Saturday afternoon during the summer of 1978 (aged just 10) I find myself banned from Kenning my local Jaguar dealership for stealing every single brochure off their display. After the ban I then was forced to phone the Jaguar factory every few months (as a school boy devote) for the latest brochures. From that time on I was totally obsessed by Jaguar Cars and the companies history.

In November 1983 (aged 15) I was asked by my Deputy Headmaster, Mr Harry Giles (who had previously threatened me with suspension for running a secondhand record business during lesson time ) what was my preference for the Trident Work Experience, I replied “I’ve no idea.” He then asked what my main interests were, I replied “cars and music.” He quickly replied “I can see you as a car salesman,” and with that he secured 3 weeks work experience at Marshalls Peterborough – main agents for Jaguar, Rover, Triumph and Rolls Royce. Being around Jaguars and Rolls Royces was a real treat and it wasn’t very long before I knew this is what I wanted as a career.

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David (left) receiving a trophy from Norman Dewis OBE for best XJ-S at the XJ-S’s 40th anniversary club meeting.  Norman (96) was Jaguar’s Chief Test Driver and Development Engineer from 1952 to 1985.

MY CAREER BEGINS

Soon after leaving school I managed to get a place on the Y.T.S scheme at the local Ford dealer, Peterborough Motors. At first, due to my age I was only ever allowed to observe, but during my third month I manged to sell a car unassisted – Ford Escort TAV700X, to Mr David Bewick. The bosses were so impressed that they would then allow me to talk to customers more freely.  Thanks to the bosses giving me this extra freedom, my next 3 months proved extremely successful and I was then taken on as a fully fledged new/used car salesman – and still only 17. This was the mid 80’s and things were very different from today with more customers than the dealers could cope with. You would regularly hear stories of car sales executives burning themselves out after a few years by not being able to cope with the high amounts of sales – a term you never hear in these tough times. This very high level of business helped me gain the experience I needed to deal with varying customers wants and needs.  After 5 successful years I decided to go it alone with a selection of family hatchbacks and estates, mixed with the odd Jaguar or two. This formula I stuck with for over 20 years, but in recent times I’ve found to be selling more Jaguars than any other make. So in 2012 I decided to follow my dream and specialise in Jaguars only.

MY JAGUAR EXPERIENCE

I believe my active role in the ownership of virtually every model of Jaguar from the past 40 years and Concours d’elegance participation gives me first hand experience of the marque. I can help you with my technical knowledge to understand a quality Jaguar from one that may require levels of attention that may not be apparent to an inexperienced enthusiast. Whether you are buying a 4 year old XF or a 40 year old XJ, my personal one-to-one service will help you to choose the best car for your requirements.

MY STORY IN PICTURES

Young Love

Aged 7 I fell in love with a neighbours Regency Red Jaguar XJ6.

First Glimpse

Aged 8 and already a massive fan of the XJ6, I then get my first glimpse of Jaguars XJ12 and XJ-S in this Top Trump card game.

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Dreaming the Dream

Aged 9 fast asleep using a road test of the new Jaguar XJ-S as my blanket.

Jaguar Obsessed

Aged 10, with a handwritten entry of my two favourite cars in the cover of one of my car books – Cars that I thought I would never be lucky enough to own.

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Jaguar Inspired Art

At 13 my choice of subject for project work in Art and Design was modern and future Jaguars. Here are some of my sketches of current models plus how I imagined future Jaguar interiors would look. This project earnt me my only ever A grade at secondary school.

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Car salesman without a drivers licence

October 1985. I sold my first car (TAV700X) aged 17 while on a youth training scheme. Two months later I was featured on the front page of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

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My First Jaguar

Aged now 18 and my 11 year wait was finally over and my first Jaguar proved to be everything the brochures had said it would be.

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Leading a double life

By day I’m a successful, young, suited new/used Ford car salesman driving a sensible Escort 1.6 Ghia. By night I’m 19 going on 49, driving my 14 mpg, 150 mph fully skirted, bright red Daimler Double-Six 5.3.

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I leap from 6 to 12 cylinders

At aged 19 I decided to move up to this 5.3 V12. The 12 cylinder XJ was regarded by most of the motoring press as the finest luxury car ever built.

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Testing the Opposition

Styling, performance, ride, refinement and history are the 5 attributes that cement my love for Jaguar. Aged 23 I switched my beautiful Jaguar XJ12 for a Rolls Royce Silver shadow II, which in the late 70s was the choice of car for the super rich. In reality the Rolls was no real match for Jaguar’s XJ.

First concours win

July 1995. I win best XJ Series 2 at the Jaguar Drivers Club XJ Day. It was a real honour that my 19 year old Daimler was voted a winner over the many restored cars that competed. This proves that a well cared for original car is far more beautiful than one that’s almost too perfect with a fresh Nut & Bolt restoration.

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200 MPH World Record Breaker

At 30 I purchased this Lister-Jaguar Le-mans 7.0 supercharged convertible from Lister boss Laurence Pearce. It was the car that Jaguar should have built as it boasted 3 world record titles. It cost £167k new and was featured in the 1991 Car Guinness Book of Records for its 200 mph top speed, 604 bhp and a 0-60 time 0f 4.3 seconds. A year later Jaguar launched a supercar of their own ( XJ220) which claimed two of these titles.

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Excellent Customer Service Pays Off

I usually sell at least one car a week to a repeat customer and for my non-Jaguar customers I can always source the car and specification of choice.

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By Royal Appointment

Sixty of the finest condition cars from around the world were chosen to represent each of HRH 60 years of rein. My own Jaguar XJS was picked for that line up at the Windsor castle 60th jubilee weekend.

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My 35 year ban lifted

Reunited with the Jaguar salesman (Sam Jackson) who banned me from the Kennings Showrooms in 1978 for stealing all his brochures. Here I am 35 years later giving Sam the actual brochures back while standing in front of Jaguars best seller from 1978 – The Series 2 XJ6 4.2 Auto.

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Sir William Lyons

I first met Michael while he stood admiring my 1980 XJ-S. His unasumming manner gave no hint to his family history but I soon realised he was extremely knowledgeable about Jaguars. We soon became friends and since finding out his grandfather was Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons I now regularly pester him for his memories of Sir William.