The Unicorn – Our Jaguar XJR-15

I wrote this article back in 2012. Sadly I did have to finally part with the XJR-15 in 2014 when we moved from the old to the new world. The XJR-15 now belongs to a good friend who has done a spectacular job restoring it to better than new.


Earlier this year I came close to parting with the Jaguar XJR-15.  I am now glad I did not.  Of all the cars I have owned to date, it is by far the most unique and rare.  To be honest, I can’t remember when the XJR-15 first caught my attention but it was roughly about five years ago.  Once it had entered my conscious, it then took another three years of looking to finally find the right one.  Given that only 50 in total were produced and probably only 20 of those were fitted with the 5 speed synchromesh gear box, finding any XJR-15 for sale was difficult, and finding one that ticked all the right boxes an exercise in patience.

During my extended search for an XJR-15, I only saw three cars.  The one I bought plus two others.  The first one I saw and drove briefly was a complete basket case.  It was a car that would have been cheap to buy but very expensive to then own.  In general I try to avoid restoration projects, and this would have been a major one.  The second car was in significantly better shape and even had a bit of history with it.  It was a car that had travelled around the world and been a part of several major private collections.  The downside was that it had never been driven, information on maintenance was non-existent, and it lacked any official documentation which would have resulted plenty of headaches plus a large tax bill.  The one I purchased was the most expensive of the three but both the condition and history warranted the price.

When I first acquired the XJR-15, I knew of one other owner in the UK.  This gentleman was both a delight to talk to and very helpful answering a lot of my early basic questions about the car.  Since that time, I have made contact with five other XJR-15 owners and there is now even talk of trying to get all our cars together early next year.  Most of these owners have acquired their XJR-15’s in the last year and are deeply engulfed right now with getting them road ready again.  Hence the target of an early 2013 gathering.

With more XJR-15s coming back out into circulation again, my impression is that this very unique road racer is finally beginning to get its due.  In the tiny XJR-15 market, prices also seem to have jumped quite a bit as well.  In just the last month, I have had 3 large events send invitations for the XJR-15.  As a result, it is getting a lot of use these days and is in great running condition.  Two years ago when I told someone which model Jaguar I owned, I would get either a blank look or a polite nod with a comment about how elegant and comfortable car the XJR series is. Clearly the person had the four door sedan in mind.  Elegant and comfortable are not the first two words I would ever use to describe an XJR-15.  Instead, raw, mad, loud, focused, exquisitely engineered come to mind.  On a real positive note, today there seems to be a much wider knowledge of both the car and its place in Jaguar history as Jaguar’s first V12 supercar.

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December 2017

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