Most of us wish we had the money and space for a huge collection of classic and vintage cars, but if you’re a major automaker such a collection is much easier to amass. Easier still if, like Jaguar Land Rover, you buy someone else’s existing collection of 543 vehicles. Said vehicles belonged to British enthusiast James Hull, but the vast reserve of vehicles, including dozens of rare Jaguar models, is now in the hands of the automaker itself. Prior to the sale, Hull’s collection was believed to be the biggest privately-owned roster of classic British cars anywhere in the world.
The list of vehicles is enormous. Among those mentioned, the new acquisition includes everything from early Swallow Sidecars and Swallow coachbuilt Austin Sevens, pre-war SS models, seven XK 120 sports cars (one of which is a rare alloy-bodied example), C-types, D-types, an XKSS, eight E-types, thirty classic Jaguar ‘Mark’-denoted sedans, and a trifling nineteen XJS models and over twenty XJ saloons. If the latter two sound a little unspectacular, it should be noted that many had famous owners in a previous life.
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Jaguar Land Rover says the new collection will be “actively used to support brand and experiential marketing”, and are sure to play a part in Jaguar’s increasing focus on its heritage—so expect to see appearances by some of the cars at events like the Mille Miglia or Goodwood Festival of Speed. The cars will be absorbed into Jaguar Heritage, a branch of Special Operations—the brains behind the Jaguar Project 7 sports car.
Special Operations won’t just work on brand new vehicles like the Project 7, but has also been tasked with building and re-building iconic classics, like the run of six, 1963 Lightweight E-Type racers. The attention to detail and engineering is such that the new cars will be separated by time alone from the originals–delayed production models, rather than recreations.
Discretion prevents Jaguar from revealing just how much it paid for the Hull collection, but James Hull himself is confident it’s now in “safe hands”. “Travelling all over the world to build the collection over the years has been a labor of love and a life’s work, so my primary motivation was not to get the maximum price but rather to secure the future of the collection in this country with the right custodian,” he said.