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Jaguars return to independence in the 1980s

Jaguars return to independence in the 1980s, and how it made the company much more desirable to Ford. With 2024 marking 40 years since Jaguar managed to prise itself away from the might of BL, we examine the background to that short-lived period of independence.

134
350bhp Jaguar XJC red herring 4.0 XJR6 power and we’re the first to drive it

In a break from the usual Touring format, this one focuses more upon the car than the place. Peter Simpson visits Tom Lenthall’s workshop to drive a newly enlivened XJ Coupé.

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We tell the story of the Jaguar E-type Series 3

Jaguar scored a hit with its first home-grown engine, the XK of 1948. But when it came to its second go, it aimed high. And the Jaguar E-type Series 3 was the first beneficiary of the new V12 unit.

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1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC vs. 1957 Aston Martin DB MKIII

007 very nearly got an E-type for the Goldfinger film — but he also came close to a Jaguar in the novel upon which it was based. Which of these original Goldfinger cars makes for the best classic experience today?

147
2007 Jaguar XJ Sovereign 2.7 Diesel X358

Can a pre-production former press car turn into a future classic, especially one with the much-maligned 2.7-litre diesel engine? We find one.

611
1963 Jaguar E-type ‘Semi-Lightweight’

This Semi-Lightweight E-type has shrugged off 60 years of racing scraps and scrapes while retaining unbroken provenance – today we follow Protheroe, Vestey, Mansell and Unser into the driver’s seat.

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2014 Jaguar XK Dynamic R X150

A decade since the end of XK production was announced, we revisit the model’s swansong, the XK Dynamic R.

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Jaguar XJ13 makes its public debut, Silverstone, July 1973

By 1973 Jaguar’s motorsport glories were long behind it. It had been 16 years since one of its cars had last won the 24 Hours of Le Mans while even its final entry in the race it had once ruled was way back in 1964. And with parent company British Leyland lacking the resources to go racing, there seemed little chance of Jaguar returning to the track. Yet despite all of this, the company still had a presence at the 1973 British Grand Prix, albeit with a dated never-before-seen prototype.

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Modern six-speed automatic gearbox transforms the Jaguar Mk2’s performance and refinement

We sample a Mk2 with a dramatic shift in personality thanks to a modern gearbox transplant.

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1952 Jaguar XK120 Racer

This Jaguar XK120 was raced in the 1952 International Race of Champions at Silverstone by Prince Bira and after a life in the USA the recently restored car has returned to the UK.

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1988 Jaguar XJR-9LM

The Silken Touch Thirty-five years after this very XJR-9 scored Jaguar’s first Le Mans win since the D-type days, we relive the memories – then drive it on track.

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Le Mans 1988

There was great excitement in the 1970s and 1980s when Jaguar re-entered international motorsport. It started with support of Bob Tullius’s Group 44 outfit in the States followed by Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR team originally in the European Touring Car Championship with the XJ-S and later Group C endurance racing. But thanks to its five victories in the Fifties, for Jaguar the most important race had always been the 24 Hours of Le Mans. By 1987 and with TWR starting to become genuinely competitive in the World Sports Car Championship we knew there was a real possibility of us winning for the first time since 1957.

226
Jaguar’s final Le Mans finish for over 20 years, 1963

Despite ruling Le Mans throughout the Fifties with five overall victories plus three second, two third and four fourth places, Jaguar’s dominance of the famous 24 Hours race came to an end in the early Sixties with a disappointing ninth place. When motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, introduced a new GT class for endurance racing from 1962 onwards, many privateers chose the new E-Type. The homologated version initially showed great promise with two examples finishing a strong fourth and fifth at 24 Heures du Mans in 1962 with the outfits of Briggs Cunningham and Peter Sargent.

199
1997 Jaguar XJR Manual X300

We encounter a fascinating XJR which represents what the original designers could have if given a free reign.

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