► Inside JLR’s new Classic Works centre
► Continuations, restorations and ‘reborn’ cars
► ‘This is a dream factory’
Jaguar Land Rover has opened a gigantic new Classic Works facility in Coventry.
Drawing together projects and staff from ten different locations across the West Midlands, the new building is less of a cosy ‘workshop’ – with cups of tea and an oily Haynes manual – and more like a gleaming, modern factory.
Spread across 14,000 square-metres with 54 service bays, JLR claims it’s the largest of its type in the world – and frankly I can’t imagine anyone needing a bigger one.
What is JLR Classic, and what does it do?
JLR Classic was launched as a division in March 2016, coming under the control of Special Operations Managing Director John Edwards. ‘This is a dream factory’, Edwards said at the opening ceremony. ‘It’s much more than a building – it’s the heart and soul of Jaguar Land Rover Classic for our clients worldwide.’
The Classic business now comprises of four different streams: there are the continuation cars, like the six lightweight E Types already completed, or the nine brand new, hand-built Jaguar XKSSs currently under construction. Then there are the restorations – JLR Classic will restore customers’ cars, but they’re also sourcing barn finds around the world for the ‘Reborn’ programme. The Land Rover Series 1 was the first to get this nut-and-bolt, like-new treatment, but JLR is now returning E Types (from £285,000) and early Range Rovers (at £135,000) to the same factory-fresh standards.
Thirdly there are the classic parts, and JLR used the opening of the new Works to announce a commitment to the often overlooked Jaguar XJ220, once the fastest and most expensive production car in the world. The first step was to develop new ‘Jaguar approved’ tyres with Pirelli, which come hot on the heels of the Bridgestones launched earlier this year by independent XJ220 specialist Don Law. They’re badly needed – if you ever wondered why you never see XJ220s on the road, it’s because their 25-year-old tyres are all down to canvas.
Read CAR's original first drive of the XJ220 here
Finally there are the ‘experiences’ – Jaguar offers classic track days, allowing you to drive a C Type at MIRA; and Land Rover is going to launch a classic off road experience at Eastnor Castle later this year.
Open to the public from September
And at the centre of all this activity is the new factory. From September, members of the public will be able to go round the Classic Works on a guided tour. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a £150k Range Rover, it’s worth it just to stare at the glorious XKSS engine in one of the bays.