Flintshire man will turn back the clocks on Swiss drive

Reporter:

Lois Hough

SPEED demon Rob Walker is gearing up for the trip of a lifetime to celebrate 50 years of an iconic car.

Jaguar E-type owner Rob, from Deeside, will drive in convoy with other Jaguars to Geneva in Switzerland – the birthplace of the prototype – to mark 50 years since its creation.

The E-type, which launched in 1961 and can achieve speeds of 150mph, became an instant icon when celebrity owners George Best, Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen took theirs for a spin.

Rob, 62, a self-employed builder, bought the 77th Jaguar E-type to be manufactured secondhand in 1980.

He told the Leader: “I was originally supposed to take part in the 40th anniversary celebrations but had to pull out at the last minute, so when they asked if I would like to take part in this I jumped at the chance.

“This has been planned for a long, long time. This is going to be something really special.”

Rob, a member of the E-type Club and Jaguar Drivers’ Club, makes a hobby of collecting cars and also owns a Volvo T5, a Vauxhall Sintra and a couple of transit vans thrown in for good measure.

He will be accompanied on the trip by long-term friend Mark Dittrich who has been helping to get the car in good shape.

“We’re both huge fans of classic cars,” said Rob.

“I very rarely drive the car so there were lots of little bits and pieces that we needed to do to get it ready.

“I used to drive it every day to work but now I only use it for special occasions.”

The Italian Job Tour will take Rob over the Alps to Italy for four nights where he can drive the routes used in the classic British film The Italian Job.

He will return through Switzerland and France to England in time for the Silverstone Classic weekend.

Jaguar Cars MD Mike O’Driscoll said: “Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-type.

“It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar’s most enduring and iconic symbol.

“The E-type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar’s founder, Sir William Lyons.”

See full story in the Leader

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