Colourful former Birmingham businessman Pat Hudson has died aged 97.

Mr Hudson founded the office equipment company Harrison-Fowler, which he sold in 1965. But he was better known for having bought the first Jaguar to roll off the production line in Coventry.

He recalled two years ago, following the closure of Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, meeting the company's founder Sir William Lyons and being impressed by a blueprint for the four-door SS saloon.

Drawings of the car were hanging on the wall at Jaguar's original production centre in Foleshill in 1935 before the company moved to Browns Lane. Mr Hudson, who had been making a delivery, said: "I knew instantly I saw the plan that I wanted it and told William Lyons to make me his first customer.

"I wrote him a cheque and he couldn't believe it. He said 'I've sold one before I've produced one'." Mr Hudson spent less than #300 on the car and became a lifelong Jaguar enthusiast.

"The streamlining was beautiful and gave you real presence. But there were other things about them that just kept me coming back," he remembered.

After selling his Birmingham business he moved to Staffordshire, where he founded the Great Haywood Country Club at Ingestre. His son, David Hudson, said yesterday that two years after buying the first Jaguar, his father was involved in a far more dangerous escapade when he stumbled across a group of a group of German spies in Bromsgrove.

Mr Hudson said: "He had been delivering a typewriter to a house and for some reason had to return to pick it up. When he got hold of the typewriter he discovered a message written in German which began 'when we invade Britain'. He informed the police and four or five people were subsequently arrested."

Pat Hudson also worked at the Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory during the war. His funeral will take place at St Mary the Virgin Church, Ingestre, at 3pm today on what would have been his 98th birthday.

David Hudson said: "Although it is a long time since my father left Birmingham, I know there will be many people there who still remember him."