A couple of years after retiring the works Jaguar Racing Team, from front line competition in 1955, Sir William Lyons and Chief Enginner William Heynes discussed building a team of 3 mid engined “G-type” models and returning to Le Mans the scene of five Jaguar victories with their XK 120 C, C-Type and D-Type models.
In 1963, according to Jaguar records, the board of directors agreed to progress the first Jaguar V12 motor with a view to returning to Le Mans in 1965.
The first of two 5 litre / 302 cui double overhead cam (DOHC) V12’s, essentially 2 x 6 cylinder XK blocks sharing a common crank, ran for the first time in July 1964, it was started by the same Jim Eastwick that is seen at the control panel in today’s blog.
A number of factor’s including the planning for the production of the XJ6, launched in 1968, and a shortage of cash which led to the merger of Jaguar into British Motor Corporation which became British Motor Holdings in December 1966 meant the XJ13 project saw just one prototype completed in May 1966, but nothing was done with it until the following year.
At some point the second DOHC V12, today’s featured motor, was run in a prototype Mk 10 Jaguar and by 1969 it was run for the last time by the works for comparison emissions tests with a single overhead cam (SOHC) V12 that would go into production for the V12 E-type, XJ12 Saloon / Sedan, XJ 12C, Daimler Sovereign equivalents and XJ-S Coupé.
Today’s featured motor was then tidied up for a career on Jaguars exhibition stands at motor show’s in the UK and abroad, complete with chrome flywheel, it would appear that in the early to mid 1970’s it got left behind by the Jaguar works, by now part of the British Leyland empire in Germany.
Four years ago Jaguar enthusiast and racer Neville Swale was thinking about building a replica Jaguar XJ13 when a fellow racer who had similar idea’s but insufficient funds Richard Woods from the Avro Shacketon Preservation Trust told Neville about today’s featured motor which appeared on the German e-bay sight.
Neville knew he had to have it and as he boarded a train a few hours before the end of the auction he put in a bid by mobile phone and promptly lost reception.
Some hours later still on the train Nevilles reception returned and he was surprised to learn he won the auction and one of the rarest Jaguar motors ever built.
When he got the motor home from Stuttgart Neville determined not just to build a replica but a tool room replica XJ13 as close to the original 1966 version, sans big wheels and flared arches, as humanly possible.
I’ll cover the build of the car in future edition, but over the last 4 years Neville has converted the motor back to dry sump lubrication and built up a new fuel injection to replace that which was missing when he bought the motor.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend the first start of this motor in 45 years and the video shows the start and shut down.
At the end of the film Jonathan Heynes a former Jaguar apprentice who worked on the XJ 13 and son of the late Chief Enginner William Heynes who oversaw the development and build of DOHC V12 is seen shaking the hand of Jim Eastwick. Apologies for bad sound on the film.
My thanks to Neville and his wife Lizzie for making me feel so welcome during the start up proceedings. You can see more of Nevilles work on the project on his Building the Legend website linked here.
Thanks for joining me on this “Neville’s e-bay Find” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be taking a look at what is believed to be the oldest surviving stock car to take part in a NASCAR event. Don’t forget to come back now !
5/11/14 Correction this text originally stated Peter Crespin alerted Neville to the presence of the motor on e-bay it was in fact Richard Woods from the Avro Shacketon Preservation Trust who informed Neville. Apologies for any confusion.