A History of the Triple C Challenger

This brief history of Triple C and the Challenger kit car is compiled from several sources, of varying degrees of accuracy and reliability, and can by no means be regarded as definitive. Some of it may be simply wrong. Please contact the Webmaster to add or correct information.

riple C cars started life in the early 1970s as an idea between two friends over a pint or two, in the quiet South Cornwall fishing village of Mevagissey. Derek Robinson, a maths school teacher, and John Wilkinson, an engineer at English China Clay and owner of a 1961 3.8 series 1 E type, dreamt of setting up "The Mevagissey Racing Stables", dedicated to fast cars.
y 1975, Derek had left school teaching, and via Lex Brooklands Volvo dealership, moved on to starting his own garage, later to become Triple C. Needing a challenge, Derek decided to move into the kit car business, and in 1984 persuaded John to loan him the E type (with the promise of having it restored) to take moulds for a new kit.
aguar Cars gave their approval for the project, but the original kit was designed to take Ford or Rover running gear, which necessitated flaring of the rear wheel arches. By 1986 the kit was receiving excellent reviews, but the desire to create a genuine E type replica with good handling, based entirely on Jaguar running gear and power plant persuaded Derek and John to invest fully in the development of the Challenger.
n 1987 Triple C moved to Corby, Northamptonshire, to take advantage of favourable grants to new businesses and the central location. Helped by Costin Drake Technology a new version of the kit was developed, but manufacturing difficulties led to a revised design based almost entirely on XJ6 parts.

Triple C
Weldon South Industrial Estate

ales of Challenger kits thrived during the late eighties, and Triple C experimented with other glass-reinforced-plastic shelled vehicles, including an off-roader, but in an effort to reduce costs Triple C, now renamed Challenger Cars (and at some time later Challenger Developments) moved to Langlands Mill, Newtown St. Boswells, in the Borders region of Scotland, again attracted by financial aid. Shortly after this Derek Robinson and John Wilkinson left the company, and although Challenger Developments for a short while continued to deliver kits already on order, this effectively marked the end of the Triple C Challenger. It is interesting to note that around this time the heady days of the classic car market during the eighties also came to an end, and the price of a reasonable condition original E type fell considerably below the overall cost of a new Challenger.
fter this an attempt was made to restart Challenger production at Avon Coachworks, Timsbury, near Bath. Although various adverts appeared proclaiming the launch of the Avon Challenger, this model, using the original Triple C moulds and continuing the tradition of XJ6 donor parts, but otherwise unconnected with Triple C, appears never to have sold in any numbers.
t one time or another various people claimed responsibility for the Challenger Owners' Club, but little activity was apparent. Finally the Jaguar Drivers' Club accepted the Challenger as a genuine replica of the E type, and extended a welcome to owners of the Challenger from its Historic Replicar Register.
Visit the new Challenger Owners' Club Web site
Jaguar Drivers' Club


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