Unveiling the Jaguar XJ13

Dive into the world of Jaguar’s most intriguing masterpiece, the XJ13, a car that captures imaginations and hearts alike. While the E-Type snagged the title of “world’s most beautiful car” from Enzo Ferrari, the XJ13 might just steal your heart with its unmatched allure.

Crafted with dreams of dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this single creation from 1966 never made it to the track, but its legend lives on, bigger and brighter than ever.

Why settle for museum visits to catch a glimpse of the Jaguar XJ13 when you can experience the thrill and beauty of this iconic car through its replicas? Thanks to passionate creators and engineers, the XJ13’s spirit roars back to life, offering us a taste of what could have been.


Imagine a car so captivating that its replica is considered closer to the original design than the restored version in the museum. That’s the magic of Tyler Schilling’s XJ13, built by the experts at Building The Legend, sticking true to the pre-1971 glory before an unfortunate crash led to changes in its design.

The heart of the XJ13’s innovation beats with its pioneering V-12 engine, a marvel of engineering that set records and pushed boundaries. The original engine, a 5.0-liter beast, broke speed records and showcased Jaguar’s engineering prowess. Even though the XJ13 never graced the Le Mans track, the legacy of its V-12 lives on, both in Schilling’s replica and Jaguar’s later production models.

The Enigmatic Appeal of the XJ13

While the Jaguar E-Type famously earned Enzo Ferrari’s accolade as the “world’s most beautiful car,” the Jaguar XJ13, for many, holds a place as the marque’s most captivating vision on wheels. Crafted in the pivotal year of 1966, this singular masterpiece was Jaguar’s ambitious bid to dominate the 24 Hours of Le Mans once again. However, a confluence of financial constraints and regulatory modifications thwarted its debut on the 1969 racing stage.

A Legend Unraced but Unforgotten

Despite its absence from competitive racing, the XJ13 has etched its legacy deeply within Jaguar’s storied history. Today, it is proudly displayed at the British Motor Museum, a testament to what could have been. Yet, the story doesn’t end within the confines of a museum. Thanks to the expertise of several dedicated companies, the XJ13’s breathtaking design and engineering marvel can be experienced through meticulously crafted replicas.

A Replica Closer to the Original Than the Original Itself

One such replica, spotlighted on a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” belongs to enthusiast Tyler Schilling. Constructed by the British outfit Building The Legend, Schilling’s replica is a closer mirror to the pre-crash essence of the XJ13 than even the version sitting in the museum. Post-accident restorations in 1971 led Jaguar to modify the original’s fenders for broader wheel coverage. Schilling’s specimen, however, remains true to the XJ13’s design pre-1971, embodying its original aesthetics with unparalleled fidelity.

Pioneering Performance: The V-12 Legacy

The XJ13 not only dazzled with its looks but was also a pioneer under the hood. Fitted with one of Jaguar’s first V-12 engines, conceived by Claude Baily, this 5.0-liter powerhouse featured double overhead cams and delivered a staggering output of just over 500 hp. Its performance was nothing short of groundbreaking, achieving speeds of 161.6 mph on the 2.8-mile MIRA test track in the UK—a record that would stand unchallenged for over three decades.

Interestingly, when Jaguar introduced a V-12 in production models in 1971, it opted for a simpler single-cam design. Schilling’s car, in line with this later development, sports a 6.4-liter V-12. It’s worth noting that the first replica by Building the Legend, unveiled in 2016, was powered by one of the original prototype V-12 engines from the XJ13 program.

The Legacy Lives On Through Replicas

While the XJ13’s potential at Le Mans remains a subject of speculation and wonder, the existence of replicas like Schilling’s ensures the car’s legend persists beyond museum walls. These replicas allow the XJ13 to be admired and experienced as a driving force, rather than a static exhibit—a fitting tribute to Jaguar’s innovative spirit and the enduring allure of the XJ13.

In crafting this narrative, the approach was to maintain a balance between informative content and engaging storytelling, with a focus on SEO-friendly H2 titles to enhance visibility and readability. This blend aims to capture the reader’s interest while providing a comprehensive overview of the Jaguar XJ13’s unique place in automotive history.

For those who are enchanted by the beauty of classic cars and the stories they carry, the XJ13’s tale is a compelling reminder of innovation, ambition, and the timeless allure of Jaguar. Whether you’re a die-hard Jaguar fan or just love the romance of classic cars, the story of the XJ13 and its replicas is a journey worth exploring.

Don’t just read about history—experience it. Dive into the world of the Jaguar XJ13, where beauty, innovation, and the dream of what could have been come together in a symphony of speed and style. Explore the replicas, embrace the legacy, and keep the spirit of this iconic car alive. The XJ13 may have been a path not taken for Jaguar, but its journey continues with every replica that hits the road. Join the adventure and be part of the legend that is the Jaguar XJ13.

FAQs on the Jaguar XJ13 and Its Legendary Replicas

Q: What’s so special about the Jaguar XJ13?
A: The XJ13 is a bit like the unicorn of Jaguars—a rare, mythical beast that was built to conquer Le Mans but never raced. Its sleek design and groundbreaking V-12 engine make it a standout. Plus, it’s so exclusive that only one was ever made.

Q: Why didn’t the XJ13 race at Le Mans?
A: It’s a classic tale of bad timing. By the time the XJ13 was ready to hit the track, changes in racing rules and financial hurdles put a stop to its racing dreams. So, it became a what-could-have-been legend instead.

Q: Can I see the XJ13 in person?
A: Absolutely! The original XJ13 calls the British Motor Museum home, so you can visit and see this beauty up close. If you can’t make it there, keep an eye out for replica events; they’re the next best thing to seeing the original.

Q: What’s the deal with the replicas?
A: Since the original XJ13 is pretty much a museum piece, some companies decided to bring its legacy to life by building replicas. These beauties are built to mirror the original’s design and sometimes even improve upon it, giving fans a chance to experience the XJ13’s magic on the road.

Q: How close are the replicas to the original?
A: Some replicas are so spot-on that they’re more like the original than the original itself! For instance, Tyler Schilling’s replica by Building The Legend sticks to the XJ13’s pre-crash design, making it a closer match to Jaguar’s initial vision than the museum’s version.

Q: What’s so unique about the XJ13’s engine?
A: The XJ13 was one of the first Jaguars to sport a V-12 engine. This wasn’t just any engine; it was a 5.0-liter powerhouse that set speed records. Even though the XJ13 never raced, its engine’s legacy influenced Jaguar’s later models.

Q: Can I buy an XJ13 replica?
A: If you’ve got the means, yes! Companies like Building The Legend specialize in creating these replicas. They’re not your average car purchase, but for the ultimate Jaguar enthusiast, owning a piece of this legendary car’s history might just be worth it.

Q: Will driving a replica feel like the real deal?
A: While nothing can completely replicate the unique history of the original XJ13, driving a replica is probably the closest you’ll get to experiencing its power and beauty. Plus, you get to actually drive it, something the original was never able to do at Le Mans.

Jay Leno

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