In the world of classic and historic cars originality and authenticity are the keys to accurate provenance.
Replica cars are looked down on by collectors and aficionados as ‘second best’, however there are definitely ‘replicas and replicas’ and I have the privilege of being associated with one of the finest re-creations of a classic I have ever seen.
The star of this tale is the original Jaguar XJ-13, the infamous, streamlined racing car which Jaguar designed specifically to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
|The original Jaguar XJ-13, at Pebble Beach 2010|
History records it never achieved the lofty ambitions held for the Malcolm Sayer-designed beauty, and it was famously crashed, and almost totally destroyed in pre-event testing.
The wreck was rebuilt, and XJ-13 now makes appearances all over the globe to celebrate the impressive history of Jaguars designed by the British aeronautical engineer Sayer.
In 1980 Canberra resident and Jaguar enthusiast John Wilson decided to build a faithful replica of the XJ-13, which he duly did using Jaguar’s original plans, made available to him by Jaguar Cars.
|The beginning of John Wilson's re-creation in 1980, the VERY FIRST XJ-13 replica!|
|John Wilson with completed car|
The car, known as XJ13R, finally appeared in 1992, and experts at the time noted several features identical to the original car.
XJ13R used identical wheels to the original car (the only set surviving from the original casting); it used the identical grade of alloy in the body panels, and rivets identical to those used in the building of the Concorde (which were also used in the original XJ-13).
It also uses the identical glass for the screens, and the V12 engine features four camshafts, plus the Hewland gearbox is mounted upside down (as was the original), and the suspension components are also identical to those used in the original, sourced from the E-type.
|Quad cam, 48 valves, 740hp|
The car is now owned by Adelaide enthusiast Colin Sutton, who has driven the car in a number of classic rallies. Colin also completely rebuilt the engine, which now produces in excess of 700hp.
|Colin Sutton and XJ13R competing in the 'Classic Adelaide' Rally 2006|
Sadly, Colin has decided to sell XJ13R and is appealing to enthusiasts around the world to come and view the car, which as I have said is much more a re-creation in the spirit of the original, than just an ordinary replica.
NOTE: Colin Sutton has been granted a FIVA licence for XJ13R, which will be effective in less than two years.
Check out this video: