Race Retro Classic Car Sale 2012

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1958 Tojeiro Jaguar

Lot No.: 158

Registration: RFF 178
Chassis Number: TAD158/N2
Engine Number: T0106
CC: 3781cc
Year of Manufacture: 1958
Sold for (£): 286,000

John Tojeiro was born in Estoril, Portugal in 1923, his school days were in Cambridge. His first job was maintaining Fairey Swordfish aircraft in the Solent for the Fleet Air Arm. After demobilisation he worked for a specialist vehicle manufacturer in Letchworth, though by 1950, Tojeiro had a small workshop of his own where chassis designs were realised. In a short time, an impressive list of motorsport ‘names' started to be interested in his ideas. Brian Lister, Archie Scott Brown, Lionel Leonard and Cliff Davis headed a list of mainly East Anglian enthusiasts. The beauty of Cliff Davis's Tojeiro-Bristol had not escaped the notice of Ernie Bailey, a man whom Tojeiro had been contracting for, and who knew AC were looking to liven up their range. A deal between Bailey and AC Cars subsequently followed and with design from Tojeiro a complete car and a rolling chassis were on the AC stand at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1953. It was a sensation which left John Tojeiro revelling in the accolades. A chap asked him, pointing to the chassis, 'can you make a living doing this?' - the tale transpires that Colin Chapman had quizzed the 'original garage-ista'! The AC Ace was born with Tojeiro allegedly receiving £5 per Ace sold, though Carroll Shelby would reap the commercial success some ten years later with the Cobra.

John Ogier, another East Anglian motoring enthusiast, had noticed Tojeiro's tubular chassis at the Show and had ambition to take Tojeiro to greater things. He had introduced Britain to battery poultry farming so was wealthy and extremely driven. Tojeiro set about strengthening the tubular chassis design whilst Ogier worked on access to Jaguar engines and lubricants. His first contact was to involve David Murray of Ecurie Ecosse. Murray was running three Jaguar D-types at the time and an introduction to Lofty England was made. A wet-sump engine followed for £925. Reg Tanner of Esso's Competition offered lubricant support for the intended build of three Tojeiro-Jaguars starting in 1956. The ageing D-type was 3cwt heavier than the Tojeiro. Ogier drove the first car built at Snetterton in May 1956, it looked the part and was certainly quick but he accepted it required a competitive driver so Richard Protheroe became involved. Ogier, who was no slouch himself, did finish second in Sports Cars racing to Roy Salvadori at Snetterton however later in the year.

Over the winter of 1956 development of Tojeiro-Jaguar number two was begun, with suspension modifications learnt from the first car. As it neared completion in early 1957, a body was styled by Cavendish Morton, a prominent artist and East Anglian who was tiring of drawing aircraft for the Sphere magazine. He became firm friends with 'Toj', both respecting one another's standard of workmanship. Coachbuilder, Maurice Gomm, produced the beautifully designed bodywork at his West Byfleet premises.

The finished car, with wire wheels, was tested at Silverstone before Jack Brabham drove to a fourth place at Crystal Palace in 1957. At the Daily Express Silverstone meeting Graham Hill had to retire with a broken wheel bearing. John Ogier took the Tojeiro at the end of the season to a hill climb at Stapleford in Essex. A heavy crash ensued with the remains returning back to John Tojeiro's workshop at Barkway.

Ecurie Ecosse had involvement with two Tojeiro Jaguars. These were the 1958 car, owned by Ogier, but loaned to David Murray of Ecurie Ecosse who was sufficiently impressed to order a brand new Tojeiro (TAD 159) for the 1959 season including Le Mans entry.

Now offered for public sale for the first time in many years is Tojeiro-Jaguar ‘TAD158/N2', widely regarded as the best Tojeiro built. Complete with Full FIA papers and recent outings at Europe's most prestigious events this beautifully crafted motor car is equipped with the Jaguar dry-sump D-type engine, with wide angle head and triple Weber 45DCOE's producing 300bhp. The gearbox is a D-type lightweight with LSD and triple plate clutch and the rear suspension is De-Dion. Dunlop peg drive alloys are 6.00x16 fronts and 6.50x16 Rears.

Arguably one of the prettiest 1950's Sports Racers, this competitive entrant, resplendent in the Ecurie Ecosse livery was restored by John Tojeiro between 1989 and 1994. As you'll read below, the generous history file contains letters from him outlining its history.

Despite being produced in so very few numbers, much of the early Tojeiro history is steeped in mystery and inspired many books on the subject. So proud was John Tojeiro of his craftsmanship, a letter from January 1995 signed by Toj himself assures the accuracy of TAD158/N2. It reads as follows:

26th January 1995
Ref: Tojeiro Jaguar

This is the second Tojeiro Jaguar to be built by my company in 1958. It was ordered by Mr J. Ogier who had in mind that it would be used or hill climbs etc. He also had in mind that he could interest Mr Rivers Fletcher in the competitive use of the car.
Ecurie Ecosse had borrowed the previous Tojeiro Jaguar TAD 158 from John Ogier, and used it with their Lister Jaguar. David Murray expressed an interest in TAD158/N2 and it was built with that in mind, however the regulations for Le Mans were changed, and he ordered car TAD 159, which was to be fitted with a 3 Litre engine, and an aerodynamic body, which took part in the 1959 Le Mans race.
As a consequence, John Ogier took the car TAD158/N2 for himself. However he became interested in other projects and he returned the car less engine, gearbox and wheels. It was stored until restoration was started in 1989.
The restoration work to the chassis, suspension and steering was done by me, the remainder of the work was supervised by me. The engine, gearbox and wheels are to original specification.
The body work was done by Gomm Sheet Metals, who did the original body.
I am confident in the quality of this car, it is a worthy example of my work.

Signed, John Tojeiro.

A.F. Rivers Fletcher, to whom Tojeiro makes reference, was a BRDC member from Gaydon, Warwickshire. In a letter dated September 1995, he too confirms his order for a Tojeiro Jaguar, but substantiates that other interests took priority, and he did not proceed with the project. He talks further of his regret at missing such a splendid motor car. The complete letter is available to be seen with the car's history file at the auction.

Finally, a third hand-written letter, this time from Maurice Gomm of Gomm Metal Developments Ltd in November 1992 confirms the following facts;

Re; TAD158/N2
I confirm that I have rebuilt the body on the original frame, using the original body panels supplied to me.
It has been completed in accordance with the 1958/9 body specification and has been inspected by John Tojeiro during reconstruction, and to his satisfaction.

Signed, M.S. Gomm

John Tojeiro was a very well respected engineer by all his peers and influenced a very important era for British motorsport. TAD158/N2 represents your opportunity to pilot one of the most evocative sports cars of the 1950's, to share the era when talented engineers and fabricators matched and surpassed the offerings of major manufacturers, and further benefit from 1990's technology to remain competitive in your class.

Sold with full FIA Papers, the car made a handful of appearances in Europe, most recently at Spa and in the Stirling Moss Trophy race at Portimão in October 2011. Fully race prepared, this potent race car is eligible for a wide number of prestigious international races.

Like our friend Rivers Fletcher, please don't regret passing on such a rare opportunity.

We welcome any questions you have regarding the sale of this motorcar, and by special request could make the car available for inspection before the auction date. Please contact classic car specialists Lionel Abbott or Paul Campbell for further details.