CKL Visit 18th December 2016
Visit to CKL Developments – October 26th 2016
Mention classic Jaguar and Jaguar engined competition cars and the name Chris Keith-Lucas will come up. As a founder of Lynx he designed and built magnificent recreations of C, D and E types and of course the Lynx Eventer. But since 1999 he has been the driving force behind CKL developments, the world leader in the preparation of competition and road Jaguars, skills now extended to other classic marques. Attend any classic racing event and CKL developments will be there, usually supporting D types, lightweight E types, Listers and often E-2A, the prototype D/E hybrid that led to the E-type.
CKL operates from a magnificent facility near Battle in Kent to which they moved 2011 with the help of Stefan Ziegler, a collector and historic racer. This 16,000 sq ft facility boasts state of the art workshops, an engine facility and a body shop. Adjacent buildings host a spray shop and storage facilities; more on this in a minute. It was at this facility that 26 LMC members gathered on a beautiful autumnal day for a guided tour in the hands of Chris and his recently appointed CEO Wicher Kist – also a very talented engineer and designer, whose CV includes Cosworth and more recently Spyker.
Chris and Wicher guided us in two groups around a mouth-watering collection of cars in the workshop including a D type under repair after a Goodwood revival “incident”, a Lister, several road going XKs and E types and a the awesome Group 44 XJS racer, part of the Bob Tullius Group 44 Racing squad, check it out on YouTube. We spent some considerable time looking over the cars and chatting to the mechanics as we admired the exceptional craftmanship that is CKL’s hallmark.
We then moved on to the storage facility, well actually a treasure trove of every classic Jaguar you could name, interspersed with American muscle cars, and examples of any British sports car of the 50s and 60s that you care to mention with a few more modern cars squeezed in. These are customer cars, either awaiting work or being stored, an expanding part of CKL’s multi-faceted business. No description does justice to this collection, you have to see it. So then back to the main building, in the entrance area are a few cars that are available for sale (CKL do not sell cars but will facilitate sales) including a very low mileage and very original Lynx Eventer and a low-drag E type. Then onto the engine shop and the body shop, where we saw the incredible skill that goes into shaping aluminium panels. Throughout the tour both Chris and Wicher, in addition to guiding us around the cars and their provenance, gave us the benefit of their enormous knowledge of the classic car market. For anyone with an interest in classic cars and Jaguars in particular this was a wonderful experience and we were very grateful to Chris and Wicher for giving us their time. After the tour we retired to The Queen’s Head at Sedlescombe where we were joined by Chris and Wicher and enjoyed a very good lunch. The feedback on the visit from our members was excellent and we plan to arrange other visits to classic restorers and preparers including a return visit to CKL.