History of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club

The original gang

Just over twenty years ago with only one UK based Jaguar club, a niche was identified to start another club of special interest for those who not only owned but maintained their cars and used them regularly - what became known as the “dirty hands brigade”. During the summer of 1984, at an auto jumble in the south of England, ten people met to discuss the principles and implications, from which it was agreed to move forward and start this new Jaguar-based club.

The scene was set and in December 1984 the fledgling club made its first public appearance at the Bristol Classic Car Show.

From Little Acorns

By the end of January (less than eight weeks from the start), the Club had 500 members and by March had introduced the first of many specialist tools for Jaguars, in this instance the timing chain adjuster for the XK engines.

That year also saw the first national event organised at Harewood House in Yorkshire attracting 300 cars, joined, later in the year by the first southern rally, held at RAF Hendon, near London.

The setting up of local JEC Regions was also important to the Club and by April there were no less than seven local centres: Wiltshire, Gloucester, Hallamshire (South Yorkshire), Bannockburn (Scotland), Norfolk, North Kent, and West Yorkshire.

At the end of that first year, the Club had 2000 members and the Thoroughbred and Classic Car Magazine voted Jaguar Enthusiast the best club magazine in the over 1,000 members category.

The 1980s

In 1986 the Club launched a Vehicle Appraisal Scheme to give guidance to those seeking to by cars and operated an enhanced Club Insurance Scheme for the classic models. The Club managed its first display at the Bromley Pageant of Motoring and by the end of the year had 4,000 members, thirty-two local Regions and an extensive range of fourteen special tools and re manufactured parts.

The Club launched the Save a Jaguar Campaign in 1988 with the approval of the World Wildlife Fund. All the money raised from this went into the fund to safeguard the diminishing numbers of jaguar animals in the world.

By the end of the 1980s the Club had 47 regions, was actively involved in over 30 external shows and events and the magazine had expanded to 44 pages.

The 1990s

In June 1991 the Club celebrated 30 years of the E-type with a near-on 1,000 car display at the Donington race circuit in Derby. This was to be the first of many similar anniversaries celebrated, including the 50th of the XK120 sports car, the 25th XJ-S and the 20th of the Club itself.

In June of 1992 the Club embarked on its first magazine coverage of a major restoration project, in that particular case the then advertising manager’s XJ6 series 2 Coupe. Since then the Club has continued to feature restorations including an XK120, two E-types, XJ-S, two XJs, an XJ40 and a Mark 1.

In 1994 (the 10th anniversary year of the Club), with further growth in membership and Regional activity, a new Regional Newsletter was devised and launched.

In 1995 Jaguar Enthusiast magazine was voted the Magazine of the Club for the third time by Classic Car magazine. Also in 1995, after a professional audit of membership figures, the Club was officially recognised as the Largest Jaguar Club in the World.

Although the Club had, over the years, ran the occasional technical seminar, from June 1995 a regular run of six per year would be set up - something that still continues today.

In 1998, after the enthusiasm generated by the XK 50th anniversary and the return to the race tracks of so many XKs, the Club instigated its own racing series, initially based on the 1950s sports cars. The series prospered so much so that a range of series and championships have been set up covering not only XKs, but XJ saloons, XJ-Ss, Jaguar engined replicas/specials and even E-types, and now the Club stands at the forefront of club racing in the UK.

2000 onwards

Another step forward was made in 2000 when the Club, with Kelsey Publishing, launched the JagAds website - a combined For Sale and Wanted area that created the largest source of Jaguar classified advertisements in the world.

The Club was also at the forefront of creating a new service with the Referenceline organisation, the principal being that members would report back on services they received from specialists, building up a record which would be regularly used to create ranking lists.

Later in 2000 the Club appointed a new, full-time Merchandising Manager while JEC Direct, the merchandising arm of the Club was set up with premises based in South Yorkshire. JEC Direct made strident moves forward in the range and design of Jaguar related merchandise, now generating a six figure annual sum for the Club and supplying many Jaguar dealerships as well as Club members.

As the Club celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2004 the membership passed 21,000 members worldwide. It retains its position as the largest Jaguar club in the world and one of the largest one-make car clubs as well.

For further information on the National JEC, visit their website at www.jec.org.uk