As 2012 rapidly ebbs from existence it's time to contemplate resolutions for 2013. It's also time to consider this Nice Price or Crack Pipe Jaguar XJ13 replica, and whether its price is worth resolving to pay.
One, Harry Nilsson once opined, is the loneliest number that you could every do. As such, Sir William Lyons' most outrageous expression of automotive felinity - the solitary XJ13 - might be a prime OED exemplar for forsaken, or philosophically, a monad.
Today, thanks to intrepid third party builders and liberal intellectual property laws, that original XJ13 need not feel like Haley Joel Osment at the end of AI.
Intended as a Le Mans (not to be confused with LeMONS) contender, the 1966 XJ13 prototype was a tour de force of Jaguar's racing engineering. Designed by Malcolm Sayer, who also was responsible for the C-type, D-type, SS and E-type, the XJ13 exhibited a profusion of aircraft building techniques that shaved off pounds while still providing the structural rigidity demanded of a long distance racer.
The XJ13 was wrapped in all-alloy clothing, and its shape is - to use a well worn cliché - pure sex. Under its perspex engine cover breathed Jaguar's first ever V12 engine, a 5-litre monster topped by twin DOHC heads clearly evidencing their lineage with their XK6 predecessors. That was mounted in a semi-monocoque all-alloy structure, backed by a ZF 5-speed gearbox.
The XJ13 program never really gained the critical support within Jaguar necessary for full fledged development, and the '67 purchase of the marque by BMC - soon British Shitbin - signaled the death knell for the nascent racer. To add injury to insult, the car was brought out for a 1971 photo shoot at MIRA where a deflating tire caused driver Norman Dewis to send the car rolling into the sticks, nearly destroying the XJ13, and rattling Dewis' cage. The car was rebuilt by a company named Abbey Panels using some of the original Jag jigs, and remains today as a museum piece.
A while back Raphael asked whether you might eschew a fleet of new Jag iron for just one XJ13, and your response in the aggregate was: I say old chap, whom is one required to service orally so as to make this occur?
Well, get ready to make with the Chapstick and breath mints because even though you can't buy that original XJ13, you can buy this Tempero-built XJ13 Replica, should your bank account be so inclined.
This is damn-near an exact copy of Jag's stillborn and reborn LeMans competitor, right down to having used the same molds for the windscreen as the original. The platform is - like the progenitor - all-alloy, as is the hand-formed and riveted body. In the extraordinarily tight cockpit the thin as Kate Moss seats ape the originals, and face an equally reverent gauge and switch panel to the left of the three spoke, wood rimmed steering wheel. Shifting is accomplished by means of a lever mounted in the cockpit gunwale.
Is everything an exact copy of Sayer's hottest cat? Well, no, there are some liberties that the New Zealand company took in the building of this car and its 5 siblings. First off, as part of the XJ13 program, Jag only built 7 of the DOHC 5-litre twelves. Procuring one of the few that happen to be left would probably cost more than is currently being asked for this car in total. Instead, this replica rocks a 380-bhp SOHC edition of Jag's smooth move twelve.
It also has nods to modern safety that either weren't around or in popular use back in the mid sixties. That includes five-point harnesses inside and a halon fire suppression system plumbed in throughout the car.
Those updates make for a safer and more usable car, and in fact this replica is road-certified and already has 6,000 miles under its belt. Tempero built its 6 XJ13s back in the ‘90s when the prospect of the upcoming Y2K catastrophe loomed large. That never happened, but here we are on the cusp of a new year, and with an old car both of which share a number - 13 - that in western parlance is considered unlucky.
For you, on this New Years Eve morn, the question is not of luck but of providence as to whether or not the New York dealer offering this remarkably rare and inarguably interesting car has set a proper price for it at $375,000. What do you think, for those who have the means, does that mean they should? Or, is this a lithe cat that requires too fat a wallet?
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Happy New Year, Jalops!