The Jaguar XJ13 is the big cat that never roared. It was conceived to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours of 1966, but despite one prototype being built, the XJ13 was not given the opportunity to compete and the project was shelved.
For Jaguar enthusiasts it is the ultimate dream car and now, thanks to British specialist dealer JD Classics, the XJ13 is back. The faithful replica is known as The True Spirit of XJ13 and is said to have taken 45 years to be perfected.
The car began as a replica from Bryan Wingfield, who is best known for his Ford GT40 recreations. It spent some years in the Walter Hill Collection and was even displayed by Jaguar North America, before its journey to the UK and a second life with JD Classics.
A genuine 1966 Jaguar prototype V12 engine – one of only six built – was sourced to power the car. The five-litre unit, designed by William Heynes and Claude Bailey features twin camshafts per bank and produces 500 bhp. The Malcolm Sayer-sculpted bodywork was recreated by 3D scanning the only factory car and then an “egg crate” buck was produced so that the aluminium body panels could be accurately hand-formed. The wheels and front suspension (which came from the E-Type) are identical to the original car, but at the rear JD Classics saw the opportunity to make some improvements.
Engineer Derrick White designed the XJ13 to feature an advanced independent rear suspension system, but it proved too costly. For this no-expense-spared recreation a Ford GT-derived monocoque chassis is employed, along with an independent rear end.
TheTrue Spirit of XJ13 was revealed at Retromobile in Paris, while a book documenting the car’s history is coming soon.