We have been involved with the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and other organisations now for many years, however when the JEC started up a new region on our doorstep we felt that it was right to lend our support in whatever way we could and friends and customers encouraged us to come to the first Somerset Region meeting at the Ashcott Inn in October 2018. So just before Christmas we were ask if we would be interested in hosting an open day in the spring of 2019. This then was how our open day held on Saturday 30th came to life.
After a huge amount of planning and a super human effort from the team here at Swallows to get the workshops, showroom offices and parking areas ready the day came, we were all incredibly relived that the early morning mist eventually gave way to sunshine and it was fair and dry. As the first cars arrived guests were greeted with tea, coffee and bacon rolls and goody bags, with a selection of items from sponsors and Swallows Racing.
We are fortunate at Swallows to have significant parking facilities on our own campsite, and as cars arrived, they were either directed by volunteers from Somerset region supported by Swallows staff onto the parking area, or cars of significant interest were allotted spaces in the main display area supervised by Chris in front of the Swallows workshop and showrooms. This soon built into a very exciting and eclectic selection of exotic Jaguars, Aston Martins and a beautiful Bentley. On display were a number of recreations and original cars which included three Swallow SS100’s, a C–Type, D-Type, several E-Type’s a MK VII with original fitted luggage as well as an Aston Martin DB6 and stunning new Vantage and we were very grateful to JEC Event manager Andy Webber for inviting friends from the Aston club to join us. Swallows had on display some impressive cars of our own including six out of only ten built Palmersport Jaguar XKRS track cars and the car that has been christened the ‘Batmobile’ the stunning Palmer Jaguar Cosworth JP1 and our two XJR race cars. We were also kindly supported by our clients with some tuned cars of note including a stage 3 F-Type that has gained significant horsepower thanks to Swallows unique tuning package and now has in excess of 600 bhp on tap, also a very lovely white XKRS GT, and Chris Jeffery’s beautiful blue XFRS Sportbrake.
By the official 10.30 start time the numbers were telling us that something special had been already achieved, 120 cars in the car park, over 160 guests, and well in excess of 3 million pounds worth of cars on display. Opening addresses were given by Somerset Region Chairman Barrie March, friend of the business and JEC member Colin Porter and JEC Event Manager Andy Webber. Guest then split into groups for workshops and talks with a choice of Vehicle Diagnostics, Laser Alignment and Vehicle Health checks by Richard, John and Ben from the Swallows team, how to clean and look after your car by detailing expert john from Exquisite Care Car, brake upgrades by Wortec Brakes and performance oils by Castrol. In the showroom Tom was interviewed by Colin Porter on the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club Toyo Tires & Watchdogapp.com GT & Saloon car championship with some exciting onboard footage that put you right in the seat of our 1995 XJR race car. All the talks were supported with audio visual equipment kindly supplied by JEC regional manager Patch Jobson.
The new JEC raffle car was also in attendance and proved to be very popular with over £500 raised on the day for our Invictus Games Racing charity and we would like to express our thanks to Mr JEC Graham Searle for kindly letting us have it for the day and for attending in person, we were delighted to welcome him to Swallows and to see him making great progress on his journey back to full health.
After the morning talks, demonstrations and workshops guests were able to freely engage with the Swallows team, network, ask for advice and photograph the cars on display, Swallows chief Gary Robinson must have cloned himself as he seemed to by everywhere as guest tapped into his encyclopaedic knowledge of Jaguars gain from over 35 years in the business. The event concluded at 1.30 pm with regions heading out on organised runs, including the Somerset region who made for the monthly HQ at The Ashcott Inn via a spectacular route through the Mendips.
We would like to thank all of those who made it possible, not least our Swallows Jaguar team who put in a huge amount of man hours, Patch Jobson and Andy Webber from JEC for their support, our customers, our sponsors and partners, the JEC SW regions, the Aston Martin Club and not least the volunteers and committee of JEC Somerset.