By John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath
2023 review by James Loveridge
Lists are an integral part of motoring history: production lists; export markets; competitors in an event; the number of World Champions etc. all are required to fill gaps in our knowledge. Perhaps the granddaddy of lists is the sequence of editions of the late lamented G. N. Georgano’s The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars from 1885 to the Present (is anyone carrying on this important work?)
We have recently had the full list of Jaguar C-Types, D-Types and Lightweight E-Type from Dan Callow, Anders Ditlev Clausager, Paul Skilleter and Penny Woodley. Anders is generously mentioned in this book. Now, on a not dissimilar topic, we have The Jaguar XK140 in the Southern Hemisphere by John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath. The book was published in Australia in 2022 and appears only to be available from the publishers at a price of Australian $375. This is the companion to a similar book giving the story of the XK120 in the Southern Hemisphere (not read), and a similar book on the XK150 is promised. The genesis of these monumental works, this one is 525 pages long, is The Jaguar in Australia published in 1985.
The first thing to say is to acknowledge the monumental task these two have successfully undertaken. When they say Southern Hemisphere they mean it: there is an entry for two cars on Reunion Island! The book, which mentions 925 separate cars, starts by talking about Jaguar’s export business and, in a later sections, gives exhaustive details of the cars as well as the names of virtually all the dealers in the Southern Hemisphere (the majority of this book is about Australia and New Zealand) along with numbers imported/sold. Fulsome information is given for the over 40 countries in which the authors have traced XK140s. It talks about the importance of provenance and gives much the same warning as does Paul Griffin in his The Past and the Spurious. The authors are at pains to make it clear they accept no responsibility for anything said in the book about the provenance of any car mentioned – Important: Warning and Disclaimer – outlined on page 8.
The bulk of the book is the histories of as many of the cars they have identified as possible, most with chassis numbers. Over the many years they have been working on this subject with interviews with owners, and the stories those owners have told them about their cars or what the authors have found out about them. In many cases these stories are accompanied by photographs which show the cars in various conditions from showroom to what they look like if you manage to hit something with your precious vehicle! The categories are split into Open Two Seaters both left and right hand drive, Fixed Head Coupes, left and right, and Drop Head Coupes, similar. The geography is split into Australia, New Zealand, Asia, The Middle East, Northern Africa, Southern Africa and South America although the authors do acknowledge that not all the countries lie in what is generally regarded as the Southern Hemisphere.
The authors are candid enough to admit they weren’t, and probably still aren’t, too sure to whom this kind of book will appeal but fortunately their first book proved very successful. No doubt if enough owners who are mentioned in this book buy a copy they will certainly re-coup their costs!
The book with dust jacket is published by JT Publications, 8 Milner Street, Mosman, New South Wales, 2088 but Paul Skilliter in the UK can handle orders: details on the website.
All in all a specialist but very interesting book.
Publisher: JT Publications, https://jtpublications.com.au
Price: A$375 per copy inclusive of Australian tax, packed and sent anywhere in the world.
Description: 528 pages, hardback. 250mm x 340mm. Profusely illustrated with nearly 1,300 images in black & white and colour.