Lot 308 - 1976 Jaguar XJS by Hyper
|Odometer reading||76,500 miles|
|Estimate||£19,000 - £24,000|
|Result||Sold - £20,160|
Launched in 1975 the Jaguar XJ-S had quite a mountain to climb, following the hugely popular E-Type. However, in reality, the car was never envisaged as a direct replacement for the E-Type, being more of a Grand Tourer. Largely designed by Jaguar's legendary Malcolm Sayer, the XJ-S had a top speed of 150mph and 0-60 time of under 8 seconds; it slipped through the air far more efficiently than the E-Type and its excellent ride, comfort and handling were justly praised by the motoring press of the time. The car had its critics, although everyone agreed that as a high speed tourer the new XJ-S had few rivals, but many agreed that it lacked something dramatic in its styling and some say that it drove too soft - not like the proper sports car Jaguar used to manufacturer. These shortcomings were soon picked up by sports car conversion specialists. At the end of 1984 Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) announced their intention to build a range of special XJ-S coupés calling them the XJR-S. Upgrades included body kits, interior kits and modification to suspension, increased output from the 3.6 and the 5.3 engines along with a 6 litre engine. These cars were a private offering without the backing of Jaguar. However this was to change in 1988 when a new company, Jaguar Sport, was formed which was a 50/50 split with Jaguar and TWR. The idea was that cars were part built at the factory then shipped to the TWR facility in Kidlington, Oxford and latterly Jaguar Sport at Bloxham, where the custom finish ordered through Jaguar dealers was added before the finished car delivered to the respective dealer. The XJR-S sold around 300 units which was fairly respectable but, to many, the looks of the car were too tame and not distinctive enough from the standard XJ-S. This was addressed by one of the most renowned names in sports car racing history; Lister. The Lister Jaguar added engine modifications and a full body kit, although for some it was felt that there was still room for improvement.
Hyper Engineering is owned by Paul Hands and in the best traditions of those before him when it comes to modifying Jaguars, cut his teeth on the race track. In the business of building racing Jaguars for years he began modifying the XJ-S for road use in the late eighties. Body, interior, road wheels and mechanical upgrades were available to transform a standard every day XJ-S into a sleek Hyper XJ-S. The Mk III package offered the Mk II body kit and in addition wider wings made from high-quality impact-resistant fibre-glass. These bigger wings, 4" wider at the rear and 3" wider at the front, allowed the fitment of very wide wheels and tyres to enhance the look and performance even further. The package also included a unique three piece rear boot spoiler and a modification that extended the rear windows rearward, further improving the slick look. Mechanical upgrades were available to the suspension as were a manual five or even six speed gearbox or the Hyper drive 'clutchless manual' gear box. Steering, manifold, exhaust 'Hyper brakes' and 'Hyper cool' - oil cooler were also available. The wide bodied Hyper Sport XJ-S Mk III was much acclaimed by the motoring press in the early nineties after they tested a purpose built steel bodied press car. Sadly this car, number 001, was written off in the nineties. Only one other steel bodied Hyper Mk III was ever built, car number 002, which was to serve as the prototype from which the mouldings were made for the fibreglass wide body versions that were to follow.
JAG 63L was first registered in June 1976. It was at the time a standard 5.3 V12 XJ-S with one of the last of the factory fitted Jaguar close ratio manual gearboxes, which it retains today. Believed to have first been a demonstrator, the car later went on to be registered by a business man based in Jersey who regularly travelled on German Autobahns. After deciding that he really needed a little more power and a little higher top speed for these journeys, he took JAG 63L to Forward Engineering, the company formed in the 60's by Ron Beaty, Jaguar's competition department's experimental engineer for the V12. In the early eighties the 5.3 engine was rebuilt by Forward Engineering and bored out to 6 litres. In 1987 the owner of JAG 63L (then on Jersey plates) traded the car in for a new Lister Jaguar. The car was then acquired from Lister by Paul Hands of Hyper Engineering. Work began on transforming JAG 63L into the steel bodied prototype (002) for the Glass Fibre winged Hyper Sport Mk III. The BLE under bumper body kit was removed and replaced with Hyper sport front dam and rear body kit with provision for front and rear fog lamps. Hyper side skirts were also fitted. Following a design created by Paul that gave a more sweeping rear end that, unlike some of its rivals, was wider at the back than at the front, the wings were carefully and meticulously fashioned from steel to be used to make the mould for the glass fibre wings that were to be offered in the Hyper Sport Mk III. With the moulds made, JAG 63L, car 002, having completed its task, was laid up in storage for the next few years.
Following the theft and subsequent insurance loss of car 001, Hyper turned its attentions to getting JAG 63L on the road with the intentions of presenting it to Jaguar Sport as a prototype. The interior was replaced with magnolia with black piping, leather interior from a much later HE XJR-S 6.0 Litre with new black carpets and TWR steering wheel. Many external trim items such as the front grill and de-chromed items were also replaced. Specially made wheels were fitted, wider at the rear, and that gorgeous three piece rear spoiler. The whole car was then repainted to an extremely high standard in its original Sebring Red. This Hyper Sports Mk III is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful looking XJ-S's we have seen and comes supplied with a V5 registration document, an MoT test certificate which expires in February 2016, and a file containing some photographs when the car was at Forward Engineering and articles relating to Hyper. This prototype is a stunning looking 'driver's car' and due to its uniqueness and rarity has great investment potential.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.