Spotlight: 1966 Jaguar XJ13

In the early 1960’s, 1963 to be exact, Jaguar had begun working on a new V12 engine. The plan was to develop a power plant that would take Jaguar to the legendary Le Mans race in France to compete with the likes of Ferrari, Ford and Porsche. By 1966 the Jaguar XJ13 had undergone extensive testing and was nearing it’s debut. It’s five liter V12 engine now produced 502 horsepower and revved upward of 7600 RPM. That same year, Jaguar’s test driver Norman Dewis set an MIRA track speed of 161 mph and a new lap record. However, the rules unfortunately changed for Le Mans in 1967 and the Jaguar XJ13 project was sidelined. The efforts of this weren’t for nothing. Jaguar used the lessons learned to produce the V12 engine used in cars from 1971 to 1996.

In 1971 the XJ13 was unveiled alongside the announcement of the E-Type. Shortly after, Norman Dewis jumped in the car once again for a filming session when tragedy struck. A rear wheel broke off on the high banks of the track at over 140 mph sending the car rolling. Miraculously, Dewis survived, escaping the wreckage which had came to rest on what was once considered ‘shiny side up’. The car was reconstructed and is still the only real Jaguar XJ13 in existence.


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