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Lot 50
1960 Omega Jaguar


Selling on Saturday


• Test driven by famed Sir Jackie Stewart
• Multiple race winner
• Owned and raced by Formula 1 test driver John Miles
• Built by British racing driver John Wilks with a Jaguar 3.4-litre engine
• Recipient of an incredibly thorough and true-to-original restoration
• Sale includes race memorabilia, photos, and a test drive review penned by Stewart and a restoration diary
• Historic Vehicle Registration in the UK

Addendum: Please note: This vehicle is titled as a 1960.

3,422cc 3.4-litre Jaguar straight six-cylinder engine, three SU carburetors, Moss gearbox, rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes, rear drums

If this silver legend-on-wheels could talk, it would pen a novel worthy of Tolstoy. Quite literally one of a kind, this 1960 Omega Jaguar was engineered by a racer in his backyard shed with some of the most innovative automobile components of its time. It’s taken giants of British racing for thrill rides, ushered in careers of Formula 1 drivers, has lived as many lives as Hemingway and has miraculously survived to tell the tale.

Robed in an all-aluminum body over a tubular space-framed chassis, John Wilks’ singular Omega is at the apex of independent British one-offs and is brushed wheel to glove with UK’s racing royalty. John Wilks, a 750 formula racer, envisioned the race car he wanted to drive and built the Omega to suit in the winter of 1959. The car was born with a 2.6-litre MG engine and gearbox, but after a few hill climbs, including Stapleford, Essex, Wilks was thirsty for more power. He grafted a Zoller supercharger of past repute, on which was a dismal failure at Brighton Speeds Trials. Afterward, the now-famed 3,422cc 3.4-litre straight-six Jaguar engine with three SU carburetors and a lauded Moss gearbox found their way in the final, wonderful iteration of Wilks’ Omega by 1961. Aboard is rack and pinion steering, a rear axle on uniball jointed trailing arms and ‘A’ bracket, double-wishbone front suspension with front disc brakes and rear drums. Couple everything beneath the leather strapped hood with the mere 1,700 pounds and the power-to-weight ratio becomes evident with lightning speed. With a wildly modern mash up of gear for its time, Wilks then competed at Sevenoaks, Bentley Drivers’ Club at Firle Hill Climb, Brands Hatch then Silverstone. It wasn’t long before buyers came knocking.

Wilks finally sold his creation in 1963 to future Formula 1 Grand Prix racer, John Miles. Before his days with Formula 1 and years as test driver and engineer for Lotus, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, and others, he owned and raced this Jaguar Omega in the early days of his racing career. He raced it at Debden and won the Formule Libre Race then opted to sell the wild and wonderful ride, “before it goes wrong, or I kill myself.” With exponentially more power than weight, the Omega was onto its next thrill-seeker – Eric Liddell. One of the most famous Scottish racing drivers aside from Sir Jackie Stewart, Liddell only owned Omega for a few months before he sold it to Stanley Morrison. While he kept the car stored at Graham Birrel’s garage, Iain Birrel raced it at Rest-and-be-Thankful hill climb. And speaking of guest racers, Sir Jackie Stewart, winner of three World Drivers’ Championships, the Flying Scot himself, also got behind the wheel of this irresistible Omega and a letter written by Jackie regarding his time with the car is in included in the sale along with a comprehensive file that tells of a life truly lived for the Omega.

After constant campaigns and life in the fast lane, the Omega was given a good long rest and another chapter of its incredible life began. In 1967 on a trip to Glasgow, Chris Wilson sought out Omega and purchased it with what money he and his newly married wife had. He drove it home to Essex and the couple commuted to work in it for a year before storing it until they had the money to properly restore it. Finally, in 1985, Mr. Wilson set to work and carefully dismantled the entire car. His friend Bob Head, a toolmaker, restored the mechanical components; the gearbox and differential were outsourced, and the instruments were restored by a specialist. By 1987, the restored components, the chassis and its bodywork were given to Buskell Engineering who kept to Wilson’s objective to restore everything without even the slightest alteration to the original form. The instruments were restored and replaced in the dash exactly positioned as they were before. The body was painted and reassembled. The car returned to the road after nine years of dedicated restoration in 1995. After roughly 1,000 miles of enjoyment, Mr. Wilson had a Moss Gearbox guru, Alan George, restore the gearbox and Wilson obtained the original 3.66:1 differential ratio. The Wilsons drove Omega a few hundred nostalgic miles then sold her to a revered North American-based Jaguar C- and D-Type expert in 2010.

A decade later, the Omega starts and revs like a champion and infuses the driver with competitive adrenalin within a mile behind the wheel. With its substantial power-to-weight ratio and incredibly thoughtful restoration, this British original has enough pluck and vigor to intrigue racers and enthusiasts alike. It’s never been shown or raced in the U.S., leaving its next owner a massive opprtunity to properly debut it. This significant racer is known as a blast to drive, a prolific campaigner, and by one driver, quoted as “satisfactorily dangerous". Offered here with a tome of documentation, period photographs, priceless memorabilia from the greats of British racing as well as the UK Registration as an Historic Vehicle, this inimitable heirloom guarantees one thing – the Omega’s last chapter is sure to be as riveting, and even more valuable, as the first.

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