Unlikely race cars #2: Jaguar XJ6 "Club Sport".

Last week I we got a glimpse of the fun to be had on a hillclimb course when your steed is part SEAT Marbella and part Lancia Y10 Turbo. This week we look at something equally alien to the track, but no less fun and a whole lot bigger.
I grow tired of seeing Caterhams, Lotus Elises and beautifully optimised classics monotonously excelling as they’re threaded, inch-perfectly, from apex to apex. Such machines are so perfectly suited to this kind of driving that it seems almost like cheating. Surely it’s rather more fun if your car’s natural talent is rather more focussed on other areas?

Colin Chapman got it right. Simplify and add lightness. Of course, he did that by design. Every Lotus ever built has been conceived with the aim of eliminating any excess fat. Nothing in the storied history of Lotus has ever been more well nourished than strictly necessary.
Liposuction doesn’t offer the same health benefits as avoiding obesity in the first place. However, the effects can be similar, depending on how drastic the surgery is. The 1980s Jaguar XJ6 you see before you has been subjected to a very severe weight loss programme prior to its appearance at the recent Crystal Palace Hillclimb.
Peering in through the side glass, which I believe are still electrically operated, I can see that the half analogue, half digital gauge cluster, one of the more debatable successes of the early XJ40, is still intact, as is just about enough of the dashboard to keep it in place. Beyond that it’s easier to count the things which remain than to try and name everything that’s been torn out.
One thing I do know, having been present when an XJ6 was stripped for Banger Racing, is that the thick carpet and thick sound-deadening that Jaguar passengers take for granted, weighs a very considerable amount. As do the well stuffed and thick hide-wrapped cushions and electrically adjustable seats. Very little of any of this remains inside the cabin of Phil Woods’ car.
If you somehow do find somewhere comfy to perch as a passenger, you’ll be dismayed to learn that the sunroof has been welded shut in the interest of greater structural rigidity and a further reduction in weight. Fortunately, one area that hasn’t been slimmed down is the engine, listed as being the classic 4.0 litre straight-six of great history and pedigree. And there are a set of XK8 wheels wrapped in sticky Toyo Proxes rubber.
And what a great sound and sight it makes, as it roars belligerently up a course more tolerant of nimble, race-bred sportsters.
Oh, for a LeMons Hillclimb.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)

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  1. longrooffan Avatar

    Now that is sweet.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    For once, the monowiper pays off!

  3. Borkwagen Avatar

    Those 17″ revolver wheels always looked a bit odd on the XK8s they came on, but on an XJ, they’re quite nice. I use mine as winter wheels but they’re tasty enough to be regulars. http://pic.armedcats.net/l/la/labcoatguy/2016/01/24/snowjag1.jpg http://pic.armedcats.net/l/la/labcoatguy/2016/01/24/snowjag2.JPG

  4. Alff Avatar

    The XJ40 was a very nice design but they never got the front end quite right.

    1. Borkwagen Avatar

      Luckily the X300 and X308 fixed it.

      1. Simon BiTurbo Avatar
        Simon BiTurbo

        Odd, I think it’s the other way around (although I have two ’40s so I’m probably biased).
        For me, the XJ40 was the last forward-looking Jaguar until the XF.
        Everything else since then has been desperately trying to ape a design from a time when Jaguar was top of the world. Like someone trying to emulate the success of a celebrity by focusing on wearing what they were, rather than forging their own path.
        Saying that, the boot-line on the XJ40 is too low and the X308 XJR just looks utterly badass.

        1. Borkwagen Avatar

          I feel that yes, the XJ40 was a nice try at moving forward, but it did so by turning bland in the same way that the production XF did. The evolving shape of the XJ right through the X308 did, I think, a nice job staying fresh while still retaining its heritage, much as the 911 has done. The X350 just went visually corpulent, and the current one has completely lost the plot. An angry face alone does not make good styling.

      2. Alff Avatar


  5. Marto Avatar

    *Zips over to Bentley Spotting to look for the guy who did a big bucks version of this to the old block-of-flats Continental T*

    1. Marto Avatar

      Actually it was a factory job on a custom order. Project 116