Is it second time lucky for Jaguar’s XJ13 and XK180? One, an experimental Le Mans prototype racer from the Sixties; the second, a concept car from the Nineties which marked the XK120’s 50th anniversary.
Painstakingly recreated by specialists – the plan is to offer reproductions for sale – both of these cars will be making their public debut at the 2016 London Classic Car Show which will be held in ExCeL from the 18th-21st February.
The original XJ13 was completed by Jaguar in 1966 and was powered by a prototype quad-cam 5.0-litre V12 engine. Just one car was completed and it claimed a UK speed record after racing driver David Hobbs lapped the banked MIRA test track at an average speed of more than 161 mph. Remarkably it held the record for 32 years.
It was later badly damaged in a high-speed crash, also at MIRA, but the rebuilt XJ13 – still owned by Jaguar – was rebodied and differs in a number of respects from the 1966 original. (Jaguar’s rebuilt XJ13’s flared wheelarches perhaps being the most obvious difference.)
Its swooping lines have been replicated before, but the version lovingly built by Building the Legend is unique because the company’s driving force, Neville Swales, is ensuring his recreation accurately reflects the original car… right down to the last rivet. It will be even be powered by one of the original six prototype quad cam V12 Jaguar engines.
“The project has been supported by surviving members of the original XJ13 Project Team and we have enjoyed the co-operation of Jaguar Heritage which has allowed us unfettered access to its archive. There is considerable international interest in the project and the London Classic Car Show will be the first time the general public will be able to see – and hear – the car,” said Swales.
As well as being on static display, the XJ13 will be driven along the Show’s unique Grand Avenue highway, hopefully by one of the original test drivers. In the passenger seat will be Mike Kimberley – the original XJ13 project manager.
Swales will also be showing the first customer car, which will be powered by a later SOHC V12 engine.
When Eric Fintelman stumbled across the story of the Jaguar XK180, he liked the car so much he decided to build one for himself. He bought a replica glass fibre body which he put onto a classic Jaguar XJS chassis, but he quickly realised the car was not an accurate recreation.
“It looked wrong… and I discovered the measurements were taken from a 1:18 model and scaled up,” he said.
He then decided to make his own recreation from scratch. Given access to Jaguar’s two existing prototypes he took photographs and exact measurements and then teamed up with Dutch company JePe Specials (www.jepespecials.com) to reproduce a perfect aluminium-bodied XK180.
Like the original concept, the Jaguar XK180 reproduction by JePe Specials is based on XK8/XKR underpinnings and features a unique two-seat speedster body. The first recreation uses a XKR convertible chassis with a supercharged 4.0-litre V8 engine, though customers can specify an XK8 chassis and any engine if they prefer.
Crammed with innovative features, exquisite classic cars and a long list of celebrity visitors, the London Classic Car Show is the one that’s setting the standards. It is staged by Brand Events, the company behind the hugely successful Top Gear Live and CarFest festivals.
Tickets are on sale now and start at £23 (including booking fee) for single adult entry on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and rise to £65 for entry to Thursday’s Premium Preview Evening. This includes fast track entry, the best views of The Grand Avenue at the Turning Circle Viewing Platform, access to the exclusive Premium Lounge, a Show Handbook and even a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne.
To keep up-to-date with all the news from the London Classic Car Show visit the dedicated website – www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk – or go to the show’s interactive Facebook page. Just search ‘London Classic Car Show’ from your own page and 2016 show news and 2015 highlights are there to be enjoyed.