Jaguar Land Rover opens Special Vehicle Operations centre – and announces new Classic centre on same site
Jaguar Land Rover is set to open a new Classic centre in Coventry, in the next stage in the complete relaunch of its heritage services. It already offers customer restorations, parts remanufacture, historic racing and, of course, turn-key vehicles including restored Series 1 Land Rovers, the continuation Lightweight E-types and the forthcoming XKSS recreations.
The new Jaguar Land Rover Classic headquarters will be a state-of-the-art £7.5m, 13,000 square-metre facility on the former site of the Rootes Group Ryton factory. It will incorporate restoration facilities, a showroom and storage facilities to complement – not replace – the current Classic division service bays at the remains of the old Jaguar Browns Lane factory and the new Land Rover restoration facility at the Solihull plant, in the very building in which the first Land Rovers were built.
The new Classic HQ is on the same estate as (and just 100m away from) Jaguar Land Rover’s brand new headquarters for its Special Vehicle Operations division, which the Classic division now falls under. The new SVO building is a high-tech, F1-style 20,000 square-metre facility, costing £20 million, with state-of-the-art paint facilities and a ‘personalisation suite’ where top-end and armoured vehicles plus one-offs will be built, and where customers can spec their orders.
Tim Hannig, director of Classic JLR, explained why they’ve invested in it: ‘We’re trying to build a business that will be supportive for the classic owner, with very special high-level products and providing everything from services all the way to full restorations. We also offer spare parts – it’s what keeps these cars on the road. And we’ll lay on classic experiences, from breakfast meetings to historic racing – classic cars need a destination. We consider anything ten years or more out of production to be a classic, and there are 10.5 million JLR vehicles out there.
‘We’re often asked about the other Jaguar specialists. We’re supporting the industry, we want these companies to be able to take our parts – we can’t restore all the cars out there! There are people in the classic market who are very good.
‘We will move in [to the new Classic HQ] all the trades that are relevant to us. We won’t do paint – there’s a Disneyland for paint engineers just over the road [the new SVO centre] – but we’ll house all other trades.’
The new Classic centre is expected to open at the beginning of next year; the SVO centre has already opened for business.
Words: David Lillywhite