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Highlights from the History of
The Jaguar Drivers' Club of Australia

Passion for cars is not unusual; however, Jaguar has so many iconic models from SS100 to XK120; E-Type to XJS that a Jaguar owner quickly becomes  hooked. It is said that no Jaguar owner has only one Jag and this statement holds more truth than fiction.

Sixty years ago, a number of passionate Jaguar owners came together to form The Jaguar Drivers’ Club of Australia (JDCA).

Formed on the 4th February 1964 by a very enthusiastic group with limited resources, the Club was initially just a branch of the Jaguar Drivers Club in England. The Club President therefore was Sir William Lyons and the committee consisted of various well-credentialed Englishmen and European royalty.

The JDCA thrived and prospered as a branch in this form until 1975 when an increase in fees from the home Club prompted a decision, and after much debate, the JDCA became independent with some dissident members maintaining their English Club membership privately. Committees reflect members and in turn the Club reflects the committee so it is understandable that the strong personalities which seem drawn to Jaguar cars would also encourage serious “debate”. The Club has had its share of disagreements but has managed to overcome difficulties and prosper. 

The early focus was on presentation, namely Concours d'Elegance. Initial numbers were around 90 and quickly grew to needing a Club magazine (August 1965). It became apparent that all models needed representation, so individual model registers were formed around five years into the Club’s life with the XK Register leading the way.

The initial meetings of the JDCA were held at C V. Murray's Jaguar Sales and Service Centre in Parramatta but in 1966 the Club moved to rented premises  bove a shop in Great North Road, Five Dock. Members worked extremely hard to restore the rooms painting the walls and dyeing hessian for curtains. Included for member's entertainment were a slot car track, table tennis and dartboard. Paying the rent was dependent on serious drinkers and things didn't go as well as planned. By 1969 the Club had been forced to move its meetings to the Australian Racing Drivers Club in Leichhardt.

The first Sydney Concours d'Elegance was held at Vaucluse House in 1965 followed by several years in Centennial Park. Within a short time, Jaguar clubs sprang up in other states with the first “National” Concours d'Elegance being held on June long weekend 1969 in Albury/Wodonga in conjunction with the Victorian club.

Concours d’Elegance continued to be the main focus of the Club and by the early 1980s, the standard of preparation had risen to great heights with full professional restorations entering the scene. It was, and still is, possible for a private restoration to be very competitive, and indeed win, but the standard remains at a very high level to this day. 

The early to mid-eighties could well be described as tumultuous years for the Club with much aggravation, dissent, and notices of motion and points of order being brought up at meetings, caused mostly by the “old guard” resisting changes. These years were very trying on the committee, and financially difficult, but with hard work the Club repositioned itself as a harmonious group with a solid financial footing. 

Since the 1980s, the Club has held its monthly meetings at a number of different venues: Hunters Hill Bowling Club; West Strathfield Bowling Club; Homebush Bowling Club; Sydney Rowing Club at Abbotsford. It held its meetings at Denistone Sports Club from 2004 until 2018 when the venue changed ownership and we had to relocate temporarily to Brush Farm Bowling Club. In September 2019 we relocated to the relative luxury of the Strathfield Golf Club.

The annual Concours d’Elegance has been held at various venues over the years: Macquarie University; Rozelle Hospital Oval; Museum of Fire Penrith; St Ives Showground; Fox Studios and Parramatta Park to name but a few. Since 1999 it has been held very successfully in conjunction with the All-British Car Display at The King’s School in Parramatta. Currently the premises are likely to be changed although we will remain as a large part of the overall All-British display.

The JDCA has been very strong in National Concours events and has won many class, sporting, and team prizes as well as over 20 outright Concours trophies since their inception in 1976. There have also been numerous class wins and four outright wins at the annual Council of Motor Club’s display days. 

However, the sporting prowess of Jaguars is celebrated internationally and as a result sporting activities, which had been neglected, were revved up during the 1990s. Accordingly, the Club’s entrants have been very successful in the Combined Sports Car Association series of Supersprints winning Champion Club every year from 1993 to 1997 and then again in 1999, 2000 and 2002. With other podium places included, the Club has achieved an enviable record of sporting success in recent years.

In addition, the various JDCA teams in the annual Alfa Romeo Club Six-Hour Relay Race at Eastern Creek Raceway have achieved a top-three finish every year entered after 1993, including two overall handicap wins and two marque wins.

A consequence of the renewed interest in the sporting side of the Club inevitably led to a downturn in involvement in Concours and that situation seems to turn around from time to time. Sporting is still very active, but Concours standards are still very high, albeit with sometimes fewer entries.

In 1991 the Club staged the inaugural “Mountain Rally” which went on to become a very special and hugely successful annual event. What had been  envisaged initially as a week-long drive in the countryside on secondary roads to give owners an excuse to get their special vehicles out of the garage, quickly became a full-on serious navigational rally. It gained in popularity and attracted Repco and Shell as the major sponsors for the first four events proving financially beneficial for the Club, then ran without a major sponsor until 2000 when dwindling entries forced a temporary halt. Reinvigorated a few years later, it became what it was originally intended to be and once again proved popular with JDCA members, albeit reduced to a weekend only activity.

The Club is now in very sound shape with membership growing from around 400 memberships 20 years ago to almost 700 memberships today. When adjusted to include family members, that figure is in the 1100s! 

Not only has the Club grown in membership size, but also in activities for members. The Club enjoys great participation from its lady members as well, so we now have a variety of social activities in the form of our many runs, including weekend runs, to which all members are welcome. These usually involve a drive to some interesting location where we enjoy each other’s company over morning teas, or on some occasions at a restaurant. There is generally a run held every week with events for members in regional areas to participate in as well.

The Club survived the Covid lock down years well with only the Club magazine and the creation of incentives for members, such as a photographic  competition, to keep members engaged. Membership numbers held strong and have increased each month ever since. Apart from the many benefits provided over the years, members of the Club have access to a world class website, an impressive online archive, an extensive library, attractive regalia items and historic registration.

The introduction of a Club Liaison position in recent years has enabled more interaction with members, particularly new members who join the Club. Through this position a rapport has been built with Jaguar dealerships and supporters of the Club. The JDCA enjoys great support from its advertisers and sponsors.

The Club has been very strong in its Sporting endeavours, doing just what founder Sir William Lyons intended with his high-performance vehicles and, with a continuing renewed Concours emphasis is living up to its charter of continuing to ensure preservation of the marque.

Jaguar National Rallies, which bring together members of Jaguar Clubs from every State to enjoy social interaction, Concours and Sporting events and the ability to display their cars, once held annually by a Jaguar Club in each state, are now held intermittently because of increasing costs. These events are generally 3 days in duration with the possibility of extending to a week-long post-rally tour. In April 2025 the JDCA will host a National Rally centered around Bathurst.

In its sixty-year history the JDCA has continued to evolve and to provide its members with what is important to them and their vehicles.

Updated 2024

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© 2022 The Jaguar Drivers' Club of Australia PO Box 1485.
Macquarie Park NSW 2113.
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