Built as a potential Le Mans contender, the XJ13 never actually competed in any race. Its development inevitably had to take second place to the all-new very important saloon the XJ6, introduced in 1968. By the time XJ13 was complete its design had become obsolete against new cars from Ferrari, Ford and the Porsche 917. Le Mans regulations were changing and prototype cars were limited to 3 litres, unless a minimum production run of 50 were built.
Nevertheless it still remains one of the most beautiful racing cars of all time, designed by the talented Malcolm Sayer who was also responsible for the C-type and D-type. Would it have been a winner? Its 5 litre V12 engine produced 502bhp. During testing in 1967 it lapped the MIRA test track at over 161 mph in the hands of David Hobbs. That record stood until 1999.
Many of the lessons learned in the development of the V12 engine we applied to the production V12 which lasted for 25 years.
However there was a twist in the tale. In 1971 it was taken out of mothballs and returned to MIRA for filming for the new Series 3 V12 E-type with Norman Dewis at the wheel. On the final lap a wheel gave way on the Banking causing the car to flip end-over-end twice, then roll twice, before ending up in the centre field upside down. Incredibly Norman escaped unhurt as he took refuge below the scuttle. The car was later restored and is now used at a more gentle pace.
A more gentle pace indeed, as since its crash at MIRA the car was restored by the original coachbuilder, Abbey Panels. The bodywork was recreated as faithfully as possible, although adding some fender flares to this iteration. Abbey Panels even used the original wooden bucks that had been used on the original car to ensure near identical bodywork.
The refreshed car has then set out on a journey across the show scene, being wheeled out at concours events, classic car shows and large Jaguar events – just like our Windsor show! It was following the wide appearance at these shows that a £7 million bid was put on the car and officially rejected by the owners in 1996, showing that this piece of motoring history is quite clearly not for sale.
You don’t have to put in a bid on the XJ13 but we do invite you to come and enjoy it at our Windsor show. After 50 years the XJ13’s V12 will finally be heard at Windsor as it takes part in our parade, you won’t want to miss it!
THE ROYAL WINDSOR JAGUAR FESTIVAL
The Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival will be an event like no other. Set in the majestic surroundings of Windsor Castle, the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club has been invited by the Prince Philip Trust Fund to assemble a unique Jaguar display and parade with the ultimate goal of raising funds to support this great cause.
The Prince Philip Trust Fund raises money to help young people living in the Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, having been established using a small sum of money taken from contributions to fundraising events that took place during Her Majesty The Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. Since this modest beginning, the Trust Fund has benefited from a number of special fundraising events including several car rallies, and it is in this tradition that the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club is organising the Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival.
Booking is now open for the Festival Welcome Events on Friday 5th May, Long Walk tickets on Saturday 6th May or to join us in the evening at our Festival at Windsor Racecourse. For more details or to book, contact us here.