A man is appealing for information about a dilapidated Jaguar car after tracing it back to a garage in the town.
Last year classic car enthusiast Simon Bennett rescued one of the first 200 Jaguar E Type cars made in 1961. Being one of the first off the production line, he has had it confirmed by Jaguar that its first owner could have been a celebrity or racing car driver. That means its registration was not logged at first sale.
Mr Bennett acquired it long after its glory days were over. He said: “The story of this car is very intriguing to say the least and its heritage firmly originates from Crawley and I am desperate to track down any information about the car. The car’s last owner was an elderly gentlemen who used the car on a daily basis up until the early 1980s.
“Then after various mechanical and bodywork troubles he parked the car under an apple tree on his land, started to strip the car down in the hope that he would rebuild it.”
But he never carried out those repairs and there it stayed for over 30 years. When Mr Bennett bought it after the man died it was seriously decayed and had lost its cream bodywork and its red interior. He is now having it lovingly restored by a specialist firm in Sussex and once it is back in working order he would like it to have its genuine registration plate.
He said: “Even though I have all the components with the car, with its full manufacturing numbers I am desperate to try and find the original registration. I have contacted the DVLA with the chassis number and car’s corresponding numbers, but unfortunately they hold no previous registrations before 1986 if you don’t know it yourself.
“I do know that the car was first supplied by Fields (engineering) of Crawley, telephone 25533. The original distributor was Henley’s in London. The date of dispatch was January 8, 1962 and the first owner was SWJ Millard & JME Bellard.”
The garage no longer exists, but Mr Bennett is keen to hear from anyone in Crawley who knew of the garage, who worked there or knew the owners.
He said: “This is like looking for a needle in a haystack but the search is well worth it and of course it would be lovely to hear from anybody in Crawley if they know of any history of the car, you never know there could be an old photo somewhere.”
Anyone who has any details can get in touch be email firstname.lastname@example.org or 07762 926293