TAILORED TO PERFECTION
How a new suit for an appearance on Top Gear brought together one of Britain's top models, Jaguar's former test driver and Stratstone's iconic sportscar
Thursday, 19th May 2016 - Stratstone's Jaguar Lightweight E-type is playing host to some special guests. In the VIP area of Stratstone's Mayfair showroom, leading British male model David Gandy and Britain's pioneering automotive test driver, Norman Dewis OBE are poring over every detail of the iconic sports car.
The pair are heading to Henry Poole's Savile Row showroom for the final fitting of an exquisitely tailored suit for Norman's upcoming guest appearance on Top Gear. On their way, the chance to pop into Stratstone to see the E-type is just too tempting.
This is truly a family reunion. Norman was one of the original test team that honed the aluminium-skinned Lightweight E-type back in 1963, and is full of tales about how the E-type was developed from its older brothers - the racing C-type and D-type.
Even at the age of 95, Norman is still as sharp as when he was testing these cars back in the 1950s. Between bursts of photos, he tells us about the days spent developing the C-type's pioneering disc brakes, and how he drove one of the launch E-types to Geneva in a mad, overnight dash across Europe.
Sitting outside Stratstone's showroom on busy Berkeley Street is one of those pioneering C-types, ready for its own role in the photoshoot at Henry Poole. C-type MDU 212 - chassis number XKC005 - has its own iconic history as the first car to win a race with disc brakes, courtesy of Sir Stirling Moss at the 1952 Reims 12 Hours.
The combination of classic car and David Gandy's chiselled good looks attracts quite a crowd of onlookers - snapping away with smartphones, and asking a swathe of questions. As David hops into the passenger seat of the C-type for a quick blast round the corner to Savile Row, its owner - Richard Frankel - talks passionately about how he needs to own no other classic Jaguar, now he has the one with probably the best history and provenance.
In its day, C-type MDU 212 was driven to the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix by Tommy Wisdom, before finishing sixth - best of the non-Ferraris - and being driven home again. Richard is keen for it to stay on the roads and race tracks, to be seen by the public. Like Stratstone's Lightweight E-type, it was designed to be driven and raced - so driven and raced it will be.
At Henry Poole's Savile Row showroom, Norman, David and Henry Poole's Managing Director, Simon Cundey, talk through the final details of Norman's suit.
Even in raw, unfinished form - complete with chalk marks - it was clear it was going to add an extra dash of style to Norman's appearance on Top Gear.