Meet the Lone Jaguar XJ13, an Unraced Le Mans Challenger
There’s only one Jaguar XJ13 in the world. It was developed by Jaguar in the mid ’60s to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it never raced. This video tells its story.
This breathtaking race car was headed by chief engineer Bill Eynes and completed by Jaguar in 1966. It features an aluminium body designed by Malcolm Sayer and a five litre double overhead cam V12 that functioned as a stressed member with a five-speed ZF Transaxle.
24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1 pilot David Hobbs was given the job of main test driver for the XJ13, and the car tested extensively and successfully. However, by 1966 the Ford GT40 was getting ready to take Le Mans by storm, unfavourable changes in the race’s regulations had been implemented and the car still required significant development to make it competitive.
So, it went into the Jaguar experimental garage and stayed there, with no other XJ13s being made.
That’s not to say it’s led a life of leisure. In 1971 Norman Dewis was driving the car for a film short at MIRA when a wheel collapsed and resulted in a massive scrap. Happily, this led to the car being rebuilt and entrusted to the Jaguar Heritage Trust collection.
These days, the XJ13 is run at high profile historic events, so keep an eye, and more importantly an ear, out for it.
In this video from Motor Trend, editor in chief Angus MacKenzie tells the car’s story. It features some particularly wonderful bits when the big old V12 spools up and sings. Enjoy.