Steering Wheel History

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ralphr1780
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#1 Steering Wheel History

Post by ralphr1780 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:37 pm

The steering wheel pictured here below has landed in my hands, and carries a nice piece of history. Be prepared to read.
In March 1961, the French rally champion Bernard Consten (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Consten) known for his glorious wins with the MK2, joined his friend Charley Delecroix the son of the official Jaguar importer for France to attend the launch of the E-Type at the Geneva car show. And now as per his words:
“It was a coup-de-foudre (=love at first sight), and I requested to have the first one which would be imported. Charley smiled and replied that the first one would be reserved for demonstration, but I would get the second one. With delayed supplies, the first cars started arriving in August only. The first delivered to Paris was a FHC Silvergrey with black interior (885006), used for few demos and finally sold to the actor and film director Jacques Charrier. The second one was Gunmetal grey, hard luck as I wanted it to be White with red interior like my preferred combo for my MK2s, so I passed a turn. When I got the call announcing the arrival of the third, an OTS White with the red interior, I was in Cannes on holidays. I took the first flight over to Paris to take delivery and drive back.
Few weeks later, with my wife we were touring the Pyrénées in preparation for the Tour de France Auto and stopped few minutes to check the map. It was very hot. Back on the road, at the first bend there were no brakes, pedal to the floor: the fluid had boiled in the pipes and created vapor lock…”
Consten’s car served for the first article to appear in the French auto press in January 1962, in the first edition of Sport Auto, written by José Rosinski who conducted the test.
The trail of the White OTS vanishes in 1965, it is said to have suffered some severe damage beyond repair. Consten kept the steering wheel and even decided to fit it on his MK2 for few years. Incidentally he also acquired an S3 in 1971, White, on board of which he joined few times the Maroc Classic.
I am sure Peter Crespin is quite familiar with these gentlemen’s history and will pop in with valuable comments.
So here is the steering wheel originating from the third E-Type supplied to France, a White OTS, which has passed in glorious hands. The wood appears to be beech and would correspond to the CTB production of the era. I have just wiped it with mild cleaner, it has some seam cracks which could be cured with a respectful restoration. The horn push has also two thin cracks, gained probably during spirited driving sequences. I am not yet sure whether I would dare fitting it on my car or rather better hang it on the wall…
What would you do?
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Ralph
'69 OTS + '62 OTS - Belgium

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Heuer
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#2 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Heuer » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:05 pm

Great story Ralph - fit it on your car and enjoy it. The feel of the CTB steering wheel is so much nicer than the later one - it changes both the car's character and the driving experience. It is legendary, especially as Jaguar used a photo if it on their brochure rather than one of the car.
David Jones
S1 OTS OSB; S1 FHC ODB

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Simon P
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#3 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Simon P » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:18 pm

Nice!

:bigrin:
1969 S2 FHC - 1R20258
1993 Lancia Delta HF integrale Evo II

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Series1 Stu
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#4 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Series1 Stu » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:56 pm

Dumb question.

What is CTB?

I hate TLA's!

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Stuart

If you can't make it work, make it complicated!

'62 FHC - Work In (slow) Progress
'69 Daimler 420 Sovereign
'94 X300 XJR basket case

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ralphr1780
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#5 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by ralphr1780 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks for the good comments.
CTB= Coventry Timber Bending Company. Well detailed in the S1 factory fit thread page 2...
What is TLA? :banghead:
Ralph
'69 OTS + '62 OTS - Belgium

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#6 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Series1 Stu » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:49 am

Sorry Ralph

TLA = Three Letter Acronym

It was an ironic statement.

Regards
Stuart

If you can't make it work, make it complicated!

'62 FHC - Work In (slow) Progress
'69 Daimler 420 Sovereign
'94 X300 XJR basket case

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Sarthe72
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#7 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Sarthe72 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:59 am

I knew Bernard well as a member of the Jaguar Amicale. Bernard found his E-type and bought it back about 20 years ago IIRC. He used it on one of our rallies. Since his death ast year I don't know what has happened to the car, but he had already sold a few of his wonderful collection at Retromobile a few years ago.

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#8 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by pmansson » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:35 am

Another dumb question, but the wheel looks like it has been pushed forward at the rim. Nice and even job, but looks odd. Perhaps just a photo angle issue, or was this rhe shape of the early CTB wheels? I doubt it...

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Heuer
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#9 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by Heuer » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:57 am

No, they should all b flat. Maybe the photos make it look dished?
David Jones
S1 OTS OSB; S1 FHC ODB

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#10 Re: Steering Wheel History

Post by ralphr1780 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:02 am

Thanks for the additional details Sarthe72, good to know.

The rim is fully flat, the photo angle (cellphone) makes it look a little dished.
Ralph
'69 OTS + '62 OTS - Belgium

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