Obscene mid-mounted V12 is the star of Ecurie Ecosse's magnificent XJ13 tribute
Scottish race team Ecurie Ecosse has announced it's building 25 street-legal supercars based on an interesting thought: what if they'd discovered the iconic V12 Jaguar XJ13 and developed it up into an endurance racer back in 1969, to take on the mighty Ford GT40?
Ford won Le Mans four times in a row, from 1966 and 1969, with that famous GT40. Fifty years later it's been celebrating since 2016 with a new GT supercar, and a movie coming out later this year commemorating Ford's hard-fought victory over Ferrari. But it wasn't just the Ferraris the GT40 put out of commission when it took over – it also buried one of the most fascinating Jaguars in history.
The XJ13 was an endurance racing monster built in 1966. Its key visual signature was a colossal five-liter DOHC V12 engine – effectively two modified six-cylinder XK engines stuck together on a single crankshaft. The engine was mid-mounted behind the driver in the most obscene manner, with rows of highly businesslike intake trumpets pointing skyward. Long, low, sleek and curvaceous over the wheel arches, it was an insanely hot machine.
Only one was built, and it never raced. Jaguar didn't see the point in making it a priority once the killer seven-liter GT40 was out there, but there's been no shortage of Jaguar fans wondering what might have been ever since, and replicas like that made by Tempero Coach and Motor Co of New Zealand below have stoked the flames.
Now, Scottish race team Ecurie Ecosse (which was racing Jags back in the 60s) asks us to imagine an alternative reality in which their lads bumped into the XJ13 in the back of a warehouse, pulled off the covers, and spent two years developing it up, no expense spared, into race-shape to take out against the GT40 in 1969. They didn't, but what if they did?
What they ended up with might well have been something like what they're now preparing to sell: the LM69.
This fully street-legal machine keeps the quad-cam, naturally aspirated V12 engine, and although it's been significantly improved from the original, the Ecurie Ecosse team has taken the decision to "feature only design details and technology that entered motorsport no later than 1969."
This does not extend to the bodywork, which has been done up in lightweight composites to keep it lighter than the original, shaped slightly differently and fitted with "experimental aerodynamic devices." It reminds us not a little of the recently-released De Tomaso P72. Don't stress, though, the engine isn't surrendering center stage, and it's every bit as lewd and lascivious as it was in 1966.
Twenty-five will be built – that's how many you'd have had to make in '66 to homologate the LM69 with the FIA as an endurance racer – and the official launch, with all the specs you're after, won't be til this September, when it will roll out at Hampton Court Palace in London for the International Concours of Elegance. In the mean time, satisfy yourself with some photos in the gallery.
Source: Ecurie Ecosse