Jaguar XJ13

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Jaguar XJ13
The Jaguar XJ13 driven by Kazunori Yamauchi, producer of Gran Turismo racing game franchise at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2009.
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
Production1966 (1 produced)
AssemblyCoventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom
DesignerMalcolm Sayer[1]
Body and chassis
ClassRace car
Body style2-door Roadster
LayoutRear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Engine5.0 L DOHC 60 Degree V12
Transmission5-speed ZF 5DS/25 manual
Wheelbase2,410 mm (95 in)[1]
Length4,810 mm (189 in)[1]
Width1,800 mm (71 in)[1]
Height1,000 mm (39 in)[1]
Kerb weight998 kg (2,200 lb)[1]
PredecessorJaguar D-Type
SuccessorJaguar XJR-5

The Jaguar XJ13 is a prototype racing car that was developed by Jaguar Engineering Director William Heynes to compete at Le Mans in the mid 1960s. It never raced, and only one was produced. The car has not been officially valued, but a £7 million bid for it was declined by the owners in 1996. It was more than three times the price of a Ferrari 250 GTO at the time.


Jaguar had considered the manufacture of a Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) V12 engine as far back as 1950,[2] initially for racing purposes, and then developing a Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC) road-going version, unlike the XK, which was designed as a production engine and later pressed into service for racing. The engine design was essentially two XK 6-cylinder engines on a common crankshaft with an aluminium cylinder block, although there were differences in the inlet porting, valve angles and combustion chamber shape. The first engine ran in July 1964.

The design structure of a mid-engined prototype was first mooted in 1960 by William Heynes, but it was not until 1965 that construction began, with the first car running by March 1966. The aluminium body exterior was designed by Malcolm Sayer, the aerodynamicist responsible for aerodynamic air flow work on the Jaguar C-type and D-type. He used his Bristol Aeroplane Company background to build it using techniques borrowed from the aircraft industry. The task of building the car was entrusted by Heynes to Engineer Derick White, Ted Brookes, Mike Kimberley, and Bob Blake in the Browns Lane experimental department's "competition shop"—Blake described by his contemporaries as "An Artist in Metal".[3] William Heynes recognised as early as 1964 that a car such as the XJ13 needed an experienced race driver to help develop it. Jack Brabham was approached in this regard,[4] but the challenge was eventually taken up by ex-Jaguar Apprentice David Hobbs,[5] who was recruited as the XJ13's main test driver. In 1969, Hobbs was included in a FIA list of 27 drivers who were rated the best in the world. Hobbs achieved an unofficial UK closed lap record with the XJ13 which stood for 32 years. For the XJ13's final test at full racing speed, Hobbs was joined at Silverstone by another racing driver (and ex-Jaguar apprentice) Richard Attwood.

The XJ13 had a mid-engine format, with the 5.0 litre V12 engine designed by Heynes and Claude Bailey. It produces 502 horsepower at 7600 rpm, mounted behind the driver, used as a stressed chassis member together with the five-speed manual ZF Transaxle driving the rear wheels.

The front suspension wishbones were similar to that of the E-Type; however, where the E-Type used longitudinal torsion bars, the XJ13 had more conventional coil spring/damper units. At the rear, there again remained similarities with the E-Type—the use of driveshafts as upper transverse links. However, the rest was different, with two long radius arms per side angling back from the central body tub together with a single fabricated transverse lower link.

The development of the XJ13, although treated seriously by the designers, was never a priority for company management (despite assistant MD Lofty England's Le Mans success in the 1950s) and became less so following the 1966 merger with BMC. By that time, Ford had developed the 7.0 litre GT40, and so the XJ13 was considered obsolete by the time the prototype was complete. The prototype was tested at MIRA and at Silverstone, which confirmed that it would have required considerable development to make it competitive. The prototype was put into storage and no further examples were made.

MIRA crash[edit]

Jaguar XJ13 during assembly at Abbey Panels after the MIRA crash


In 1971 the Series 3 E-type was about to be launched with Jaguar's first production V12 engine. The publicity team wanted a shot of the XJ13 at speed for the opening sequence of the film launching the V12 E-Type. On 21 January 1971, the XJ13 was taken to MIRA for the filming with Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis at the wheel. The car was driven by Dewis at speed on a damaged tyre, against the instructions of Jaguar director England.[7] The resultant crash heavily damaged and nearly destroyed the car, although Dewis was unharmed. The wreck of the car was put back into storage.

Some years later, Edward Loades spotted the crashed XJ13 in storage at Jaguar and made the offer to 'Lofty' England that his company Abbey Panels should rebuild the car. The car was rebuilt, to a specification similar to the original, using some of the body jigs made for its original construction and at a cost of £1,000 to Jaguar. In Jaguar's own words, "The car that can be seen today is not an exact reproduction of the original." [8] The XJ13 made its public debut in July 1973 when 'Lofty' drove it around Silverstone at the British Grand Prix meeting. It is now displayed at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, UK.


  • ‘The True Spirit of XJ13’, an incredible build by JD Classics.

The only car ever built from an actual scan of the original factory Jaguar XJ13.

A very special one-off build - handmade by some of the finest craftsmen in the industry.

Visually identical to the factory car - featured in an exclusive book by Robert Perry. A truly incredible story.

Featuring the only officially ‘certified’ original prototype XJ13 V12 4 cam engine - apart from the factory car.[9]

Only known replica of the original, pre MIRA crash, car:

  • Building the Legend Ltd[10]

Created following extensive research, including at the Jaguar Heritage Trust, under the guidance of surviving XJ13 Team members and making use of original data. Research was conducted by Neville Swales, owner of Building the Legend Ltd. Generally accepted as being an authentic re-creation of the pre-crash 1966 Jaguar XJ13.

The first of this run of replicas was notable for being powered by one of the extremely rare original quad-cam prototype engines.

Notable appearances:

February 2016: London Classic Car show.[11]

9 August 2016:[12] First track appearance, in the company of surviving members of the original XJ13 project team, and members of William Heynes' and Malcolm Sayer's family, Jaguar VIPs and enthusiasts at Curborough Sprint Course near Lichfield.

The car was nominated as a finalist in the International Historic Motoring Awards 2016 in the category Car of the Year [13] and was displayed outside the awards event at The Guildhall in London that same year.

22 January 2024:[14] The car was featured and reviewed on an episode of Jay Leno's Garage.

Known replicas of the rebuilt, post MIRA crash, car:

  • Proteus P90 [15][16]
  • Proteus XJ13-inspired coupé [17]
  • Charles Motors Ltd replica [18]
  • The Sports Car Factory / TWRR [19][20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Jaguar XJ13". 9 November 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  2. ^ "How many quad-cam V12s were built and where are they now?". UK. 21 October 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Bob Blake - "An Artist in Metal"". UK. 21 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Letter from Jack Brabham to William Heynes". UK. 23 March 1965. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  5. ^ "David Hobbs Jaguar Test Driver".
  6. ^ MIRA Crash
  7. ^ "David Hobbs - Jaguar XJ13's Test Driver". UK. 2013. Archived from the original on 24 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Jaguar Heritage Trust - XJ13". UK. 2000. Archived from the original on 25 September 2000.
  9. ^ "The True Spirit of XJ13".
  10. ^ "Building The Legend Limited".
  11. ^ "London Classic Car Show stars". The Telegraph. 17 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Building the Legend | "The 13" - Shakedown". Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  13. ^ "The International Historic Motoring Awards". Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Jaguar XJ13 Replica - Jay Lenos Garage". Jay Lenos Garage (YouTube channel). YouTube. 22 January 2024. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  15. ^ "The Jaguar XJ13".[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Hofmann's - Jaguar XJ13 recreation by Proteus". 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 17 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  17. ^ Needell, Tiff; David Wheeler (director). "Proteus Jaguar XJ13". Top Gear. BBC. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. (YouTube, 2013 March 27)
  18. ^ "Charles Motors Ltd.; Jaguar XJ13".
  19. ^ "XJ13 TWRR Build information". Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  20. ^ "The Sports Car Factory".

External links[edit]