As far as vintage race cars go, this has got to be one of the coolest. It's a Jaguar XJ-S coupe built to compete in Trans-Am in 1978, powered by a 580-horsepower V12 engine connected to a dogleg manual gearbox. It's for sale, and we think you should buy it.
Welcome to You Must Buy, our daily look at the cars you really should be buying instead of that boring commuter sedan.
Reigning 1977 Trans-Am champion Bob Tullius was an American privateer who won his title behind the wheel of a Porsche 911. Wanting to drive something with a British nameplate for the 1978 season, he had Jaguar deliver him a brand-new XJ-S body shell, which, at Woodham Mortimer in the UK, had been dipped in acid to make as light as possible. From there, Tullius's shop, Group 44, built it into the car you see here, equipping it with stock suspension (per Trans-Am's rules at the time), and a 525-horsepower carbureted version of Jaguar's single overhead-cam V12 engine. The suspension was modified to fit those massive wheels and tires, and by the time the 1978 season started, the engine had been upgraded to 580 horsepower thanks to reworked camshafts and heads.
After a slow start to the season, Tullius began to take win after win, at one point scoring seven straight victories in a row. By round eight of the 1978 championship at Road America, he had secured the driver's title. It would just take two more races to secure the manufacturer's title for Jaguar. It's safe to say this thing is as fast as it looks.
This XJ-S is the first of just two built, and according to Woodham Mortimer, it underwent a restoration a few years back. It's ready to race, and eligible for numerous vintage racing competitions around the world. with an asking price of $190,151 at current exchange rates.