The Jaguar XJ13 has always held a unique, hallowed place in Jaguar lovers’ hearts, as a one-off prototype racer with an advanced five-litre DOHC V12 mounted amidships and a body designed by the noted aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer.
Designed to take on Le Mans, the XJ13 never raced, and the original was crashed while filming at MIRA. What was rebuilt from the wreck—which used some of the original body jigs—was not an exact replica.
One attempt to re-create the original, pre-crash car was made in the 2010s by Building the Legend, with one car using one of the six original quad-cam prototype engines, and it is about to be joined by another accurate replica of the original.
The brainchild of Bryan Wingfield, JD Classics’ True Spirit of XJ13 also has one of the original engines at its heart. The body was created using modern 3D-scanning methods, from which a buck was created, and the aluminium panels hand-wheeled. JD Classics claims an exacting ‘indistinguishable’ resemblance to the original car, right down to the road wheels. It does improve in one aspect to the original: it has a monocoque and independent rear suspension, the latter as envisaged by the original engineer, Derrick White.
The True Spirit of XJ13 has now been unveiled at Retromobile 2024 in Paris. A book by Robert Perry has accompanied its première.