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The "Wingfield/Walter Hill" XJ13

Good to see this car has resurfaced once again.

JD Classics

Following a protracted legal case, JD Classics went into administration in September 2018. Thereafter followed a torrent of further litigation. Mr Hood faced a £64 million claim by the administrators for financial irregularities, including the over inflation of the car dealership’s turnover and assets. Mr Hood was made bankrupt before the trial of Mr Tuke’s claim. JD Classics went into liquidation and was later bought by American-based investment firm HPS in a deal that meant all 60 staff kept their jobs at its facility in Maldon, Essex. The classic car company was renamed Woodham Mortimer, after a village close to Maldon but now trades under the name of JD Classics once more.

Court records show that,

"in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, classic cars proved to be a wise investment. Mr Tuke, having sold his successful prosthetics business to Johnson & Johnson for £60 million, invested around £20 million in classic cars between 2009 and 2010. Mr Tuke made his purchases from JD Classics Limited, a major British dealership in the collector car market, run and solely owned by Mr Hood. The Commercial Court held Mr Hood liable in both deceit and dishonest assistance in respect of several transactions with Mr Tuke, spanning many years."

The Facts

The car itself does have an interesting history.

It was built originally by Bryan Wingfield and later spent its early years with the late collector Walter Hill in the US and wore the blue colours of an Ecurie Ecosse car for a while. Photos of the car in the MIRA windtunnel when owned by Wingfield are published online. Jaguar were initially supportive of Bryan and assisted in the development of his replica, including helping him gain access to the windtunnel. I personally saw copies of letters in the JDHT’s archive of exchanges between Bryan and the late George Buck amongst others. George was an ex-Jaguar employee who carried out considerable work on the prototype engine design and development. A pile of parts left over at the end of the XJ13 project were “spirited away” by Wingfield. I understand a Jaguar warehouseman sadly lost his job because of it.

Relations between Bryan and Jaguar later soured and he was forbidden to make any financial gain from  the sale of the car. A "swap" was carried out instead, exchanging one of Walter Hill's GT40s for the XJ13 replica.

The car was notoriously wrong in many respects including a rather snub nose. Derek Hood of JD Classics bought it at auction for around £100k (confirmed to me by the auction house). Hood asked to borrow my buck around ten years ago but I refused. A former Jaguar Director (who should perhaps remain nameless!) later allowed him to borrow Jaguar’s rebuilt XJ13 to digitally scan it.

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

The car was subsequently scanned and returned to Jaguar Heritage a few days later. Volunteers working there told me they were forbidden to assist with loading in any way and no paperwork changed hands - for a £10m plus car! A buck was made from the data by JD Classics which I saw at the time during a visit.

Interestingly, the “original” XJ13 was found to be 1.9” wider on its RHS rear when compared to its LHS. To overcome this they took half the data and made a mirror-image in CAD. The data was also manipulated so that the modelled body would fit Wingfield’s existing (incorrect) chassis dimensions. Bryan was a respected and skilled engineer/craftsman with an expertise in the Ford GT40. As a result, his chassis bears resemblances to the GT40 and included a number of features not found in the XJ13. Claims that he was influenced by the XJ13 chassis designer Derrick Whyte of Jaguar are likely to be false - it was simply that Bryan's expertise lay in the GT40.

After the former JD Classic’s legal woes, the data and buck were offered around the Trade. I was personally offered them by more than one member of the Administrators (!) but had no use for them as they did not represent the ‘66 pre-crash car I had worked so hard to re-create so I declined their offers.

JD Classics have undoubted skills and the car is likely a very well put-together device. The engine is undoubtably based around one of the surviving blocks, bellhousing and a pair of genuine prototype heads as these pictures demonstrate. It certainly doesn't replicate the original 1966 (pre-crash) XJ13 or, indeed, the current rebuilt car in any meaningful way but is an interesting car in its own right.

10 pairs of prototype heads (one pair needed for each V12) were originally cast bt the West Yorkshire Foundry for these prototype engines. Two pairs were found to be porous and unsuitable for use after machining by Coventry Climax on Jaguar's behalf. The fate of these eight engines are shown below ("XJ6", perhaps confusingly, is the project name used by Jaguar):

XJ6/1 The first quad-cam V12 built but only the second to leave the test-bed and be installed in a car (XJ4/1).  Damaged in 1967 and retained as a spare by Jaguar. 

XJ6/2 The second quad-cam V12 built and the first to be installed in a car (XJ5/5) Survived as a complete engine and sold by Jaguar in the mid 1970s. Currently powering Building The Legend's 1966 XJ13 re-creation (engine to same build spec as XJ6/1).

XJ6/3 Only ever ran on the test bed in a variety of configurations. Has not survived.

XJ6/4 Built using cast iron block and ran on test bed. Has not survived.

XJ6/5 Internally modified to run as a V8. Ran on test bed for a short while in 1965. Surviving engine now with Building The Legend Limited.

XJ6/6 No records exist. It is believed this engine was never actually assembled.

XJ6/7 Built to trial a die-cast "open-deck" engine block.  Installed in XJ4/1 (XJ13) to replace its original engine when damaged in 1967. Remains in the car to this day.

XJ6/8 Built to competition spec with ultimate development of cylinder heads but never left the test bed. Cannibalised whilst in storage in 1969. Cylinder heads placed on XJ6/2 which remain with it until today powering the Building The Legend XJ13 re-creation. The engine block along with a motley collection of new and used parts found its way into an XJ13 replica built by Bryan Wingfield. The replica later found its way into the collection of the late Walter Hill. This car was subsequently rebodied by JD Classics but re-creates the post-crash non-original car and has GT40 replica underpinnings.

 

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Front suspension (not Lightweight E-Type as original but standard road-car E-Type with its differently-spaced brake caliper). Some details of steel (not aluminium as original) chassis/monocoque.

© Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

1966 original started out with custom Dunlop brake calipers which were later substituted for Girling. These may be Girling? 

© Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

"GT40-inspired" rear suspension of Wingfield car. Very different layout to both '66 original and post-crash rebuilt car

© Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Wingfield car © Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Motorcycle throttle-bodies? © Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Wingfield car © Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Aluminium-wrapped steel monocoque (XJ13 has an aluminium chassis) with steel frames front & rear  

© Neville Swales

Building The Legend, XJ13, tera, Jaguar, JD Classics, Walter Hill, Bryan Wingfield

Single 12-cyl distributor and ignition amplifier of Wingfield car © Neville Swales

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