RE: Norman Dewis 1920-2019

RE: Norman Dewis 1920-2019

Monday 10th June 2019

Norman Dewis 1920-2019

Legendary Jaguar test driver passes away aged 98



Stories of a death in the industry are never enjoyable to write, but are particularly galling when the subject is as universally liked as Norman Dewis. As Jaguar chief test driver for more than 30 years and a brand ambassador for many after that, Dewis’ diligent work and charming demeanour made him many friends. After an illustrious and successful career, he has died aged 98.

Having fought in WW2, Dewis worked for Humber and Armstrong Siddeley before joining Jaguar in 1952; given one of his first jobs was testing disc brakes on the Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss, you get some idea of the stature of Dewis’ work. He also raced at Le Mans, set a production speed record of 172mph in 1953 and drove an E-Type overnight to Geneva for customer test drives in 1961. That barely scratches the surface of his achievements, either, when it’s considered how well sorted the ride and handling of Jaguars was in that era.


More to the point, it can be seen in the PH thread on Norman Dewis what a humble, generous and kind sort of gent he was. Tributes have been pouring in, various stories of his affable character easy to find. Whatever the situation, he made time to speak to those eager to know more about his incredible career.

Jaguar CEO Ralf Speth said: β€œPutting Norman’s hugely decorated career aside, his friendly nature, captivating storytelling and unbridled enthusiasm made him exactly the kind of man you couldn’t help but want to spend time with – he will be sorely missed.”

You may remember that a GoFundMe page was set up recently to give Norman some care at home in his final days. Subsequent donations will now be donated to the Hope House Hospice, as was his wish. Beyond that, little more can really be said: as a man with a significant role in some of the greatest British sports cars ever made, Dewis’ status as a legend of the industry was pretty much secured; that he was a thoroughly lovely bloke in addition only guaranteed it.

Join the discussion on Norman Dewis here.


Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

1,297 posts

173 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
RIP sir. Truly the end of an era.

thegreenhell

6,963 posts

174 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
RIP, legend.

VanquishRider

287 posts

107 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Every time I saw the bloke, either in person at a major event or on some form of media, he was always smiling.

sideways man

812 posts

92 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Glad this finally made the PH homepage.

RIP Norman.

Earl of Petrol

144 posts

77 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
I remember first reading about Norman and his epic drive to the Geneva show, probably in Car magazine when I was still at school. What a job, what a career for a petrolhead. Plus racing at Le Mans and spending much of his life testing and improving Jaguars. Nirvana. It’s sad, as it always is, that he’s gone. But what a life well lived.

WJNB

2,404 posts

116 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
A great pure true BRITISHER the like of which we'll never see again.

Gameface

12,860 posts

32 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Something of a cult hero.

RIP.

Bill Ferry

56 posts

109 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
A delightful, charming man.
I got to know him a little in his later years [30+ years].. whenever I met him, he always remembered me, which was nice.
I am truly sorry to see the passing of this lovely man. A jewel.
WF

RexT

8 posts

90 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
RIP. A real legend and all round lovely guy.

Maldini35

2,429 posts

143 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Sad news.
A proper automotive hero.
If ever someone deserved a movie it’s Norman.

Rob-Burton

3 posts

22 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Very sad news, the man was a legend

Miserablegit

1,562 posts

64 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
Sad news- he was a legend although I never met him

It was very sad that a go fund me page had to be set up to try to support him living at home - I've just checked and it was only at $1700 and I had forgotten to contribute so I can't judge anybody else but surely Jaguar could have helped out a bit more given the role he played.


simon-tigjs

58 posts

52 months

Monday 10th June 2019
quotequote all
You Never work a day in your life when you find a real passion for what you do. A blessed guy who in turn blessed us all for his love of cars. Must have been one of the good ones.

61GT

530 posts

135 months

Wednesday 12th June 2019
quotequote all
Very sad to hear this but what an incredible Motoring/Motor Sport life and career that I don’t think will be matched let alone bettered.

Saw him 2 or 3 years ago at Race Retro and he looked absolutely incredible for his age.

RIP Norman.

Europa1

10,236 posts

143 months

Wednesday 12th June 2019
quotequote all
I had the pleasure of meeting him on the Beaujolais Run a few years back. A thoroughly lovely man, and he peddled a D-Type around the Top Gear test track with some enthusiasm the next morning.

KP328

1,534 posts

150 months

Wednesday 12th June 2019
quotequote all
I love the smile and twinkle in his eyes when he was recalling past endeavors, he obviously had such passion for driving.

and31

409 posts

82 months

Wednesday 12th June 2019
quotequote all
Oh no!
Very sad news.i bought his book for my father a few years ago-such an interesting career,and always seemed such a lovely chap when I’ve seen him on the telly.

TrotCanterGallopCharge

82 posts

45 months

Wednesday 12th June 2019
quotequote all
RIP Norman,

You showed the rest of us how it's done, thanks for everything.

Hope you're 'up there' on the starting grid with all your old friends.

MDifficult

739 posts

140 months

Thursday 13th June 2019
quotequote all
RIP Norman. A life well-lived.

Carfection have put up a long-form interview they did with him a while back. I'm half way through it and it's absolutely bloody wonderful.

There's probably a rule against linking to it, but you'll find it in the Carfection channel on YT.