Jaguar concept recreations ready for purchase

True-to-original XJ13 and XK180 being recreated for new buyers

Published: December 11, 2015, 1:30 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:20 PM

Jaguar XJ13 recreation by Building The Legend

A couple Jaguar concepts have been recreated and await their moments in the spotlight at the 2016 London Classic Car Show in February 2016.

Creators are quick to point out the two aren’t replicas or even restorations but actual recreations of the originals — the mid-engined XJ13 of 1966 and 1999’s XK180 — both of which were unique prototypes that never spawned even one production model … except now.

The XJ13 was created for one purpose — to win at Le Mans — powered by a prototype 5.0-litre V-12 that was basically two 2.5-litre DOHC V-6s bolted together and sharing a crankshaft. Originally intended to be driven by world champion Jack Brabham, the car was driven by top-30 FIA-ranked David Hobbs (a former Jaguar apprentice). Hobbs took the car to a UK speed record, a record that stood for 32 years, at the banked Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) track.

By the time the production V-12 was ready, it had become a single-overhead cam unit of 5.3-litre displacement and its recipient was the Series III E-Type. Prior to launch, the company wanted to produce a promotional video with the XJ13. Driven with a damaged tire, at ill-advised speeds again at MIRA, the car crashed and was badly damaged.

It was fixed and ran again, but with the Jaguar Heritage disclaimer that it was not an exact reproduction. The latest vision has been created by Building The Legend, a UK firm headed by Neville Swales, to directly replicate the original down to the last rivet, and can even get power from replicas of the original dual overhead cam V-12.

And the company is now taking orders on a limited run of production cars, featuring aluminum bodies over monocoque chasses, and true-to-original specs that promise to provide near-authentic dynamic driving characteristics.

“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,” said Swales. “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.”

Jaguar XK180 recreation by JePe Specials

The XK180 was crafted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the XK120 and was unveiled at the 1999 Paris Motor Show. Its underpinnings were based on the production XK, that had gone into production a few years earlier.

Several companies offer replicas of the car based on the XK (which went out of production in 2006) and its XJS predecessor (1976-96), and Eric Fintelman decided to put together a kit made up of a fibreglass body he bolted onto an XJS chassis.

“It looked wrong… and I discovered the measurements were taken from a 1:18 model and scaled up,” explained Fintelman, co-owner of Dutch customizer JePe Specials. So, he decided to make his own XK180, gaining access to the company’s two existing prototypes for precise measurements and details.

The result is the aluminum bodied 2-seat speedster again based on XK underpinnings. The show car will be based on the performance XKR, featuring the supercharged 4.0-litre V-8, but interested buyers can specify an XK8 chassis and any available engine, as well as interior and exterior colours that deviate from the original concept presentation.