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Is this the loveliest Jag ever?
This is not the one-off Jaguar XJ13 that was set to compete at Le Mans in 1965. It is a replica of that car, albeit a really bloody good one, and it’s coming up for auction later this month in America.
You see, in 1965, Jaguar built the XJ13 to compete at the legendary 24hr race. It was its first ever mid-engined racing car, using a 5.0-litre V12 to terrify those rear wheels, but never quite made it to La Sarthe (it was never a priority). And so it was put into storage, wheeled out only once during 1971 for some high-speed publicity runs to help promote the V12 E-Type.
Only during one of these runs at MIRA, a rear tyre deflated, the thing flipped and was nearly totalled. Thankfully, the driver - Jaguar legend Norman Dewis - was unharmed, and the XJ13 was eventually rebuilt and set on permanent display at the Heritage Motor Museum in Gaydon, lest any more tyre gremlins consign it to oblivion.
This one then, was built in honour of that lovely one-off Jag (it is lovely), and bolted together by Tempero Coach & Motor Co. of New Zealand. It’s a full aluminium monocoque underneath, with front and rear clips built from 16-gauge alloy over wooden bucks.
The front and rear suspension are all original Jaguar, there’s original rack-and-pinion steering, a ‘correct’ five-speed ZF gearbox, Koni adjustable shocks, and of course, there’s a whopping great 5.3-litre V12 from the XJ-12 with sequential fuel injection, dry-sump lubrication and a front-mounted oil radiator.
It’s expected to go for around $200k to $300k, which is frankly, an enormous bargain. How so? Jaguar was reported to have turned down an offer of some £7 million for the original, rebuilt XJ13, making this replica an immediate priority in your life.