Jaguar XK 120 (left) and the rally-ready Jaguar F-Type (right). Jaguar
Dirt is a special substance. It can be both soft and hard. Dirty and clean. And when you’re flying across a section of dirt road in a specially outfitted rally car, it can be damn near transcendental. What could make that sort of experience better? How about an open-top, rear-wheel drive Jaguar F-Type rally car? Oh yes, that’ll do.
Built as a showcase to celebrate Jaguar’s 70 years in sports car manufacturing, the British marque decided that to properly celebrate its own history, it would build two rally-prepped F-Type convertibles and both come with all the accouterments you’d expect from something that eats dirt and gravel for breakfast. The Jaguar team chose to rallify the F-Types as an homage to an original XK 120 that competed in a host of Alpine rallies in the 1950s, including winning two outright in the hands of Ian Appleyard.
Though we would’ve loved to have seen the 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 power these special F-Types in all their gasoline-swilling glory, Jaguar decided to use F-Types powered by the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Ingenium engines which are tuned to 300-ish horsepower.
As for the rest of the cars, much of the upgrades are hand-built and indeed built to FIA competition specification.
These modifications include purpose-built dampers, fully adjustable shocks, uprated brakes, rally-ready wheels and tires, a custom roll cage, limited slip differential, and a hydraulic handbrake to assist pivoting the car when railing it through the woods.
Jaguar also gave the two F-Types with sport seats and a set of hood lights that complete the each car’s transformation from weekend cruiser to rally legend.
As to why Jaguar decided to build a pair of rally cars, the brand’s director of design, Ian Callum, said, “The opportunity to design a rally car doesn’t come along very often so I was fascinated to see how we could take our modern day sports car to a similar character. These models are a fitting tribute to the XK 120 and all the great Jaguar sports cars since its reveal 70 years ago, including the latest F-Type Chequered Flag Limited Edition.”
Though these F-Types won’t be for sale, their design and the brand’s historical celebration will amount to a road car Jaguar will sell you. Called the F-Type Checkered Flag Edition, the car features a unique livery, interior modifications, and a handful of lovely checkered flag embossments throughout the car.
Unfortunately, this special-edition F-Type won’t be available outside of the U.K., but maybe, just maybe, someone with a lot of money, a little sense, and a love for that special substance will convince Jaguar to build a few more of those rally-spec’d cars and we’ll get a chance to drive one. Fingers crossed.