When English heavy-metal legends Iron Madien got big, drummer Nicko McBrain decided to reward himself with a Jaguar XJ6. Eventually, McBrain moved to the US and parked the old XJ6 under a tree at bassist Steve Harris' house in the UK. Harris then put the house up for sale and requested that McBrain come and get his old car. And that's where Wayne Burgess comes in.
Burgess is the production studio director at Jaguar who's responsible for turning the dreams of its Special Vehicle Operations division into a reality. He's also a heavy metal guitarist and a good friend of McBrain's. Speaking to Road & Track at the New York Auto Show, Burgess told us that he got a call from McBrain looking for help with restoring the car.
But when it came time to get the XJ6 from under the tree, things didn't go well.
"The front of the car looked in pretty good condition as you walked up to it, but the back half, which was under the tree, had become a squirrel mansion," Burgess told us. "And as we started to pull the car from out under the tree, it was like the Titanic. It literally started to split in two."
There was no hope for McBrain's car, so Burgess suggested an alternative.
"If we want to do this, we're going to have to get another vehicle," Burgess said. "And then it quickly turned into 'let's resto-mod it. Let's have a bit of fun.' And he was totally on-board."
Burgess cites Singer, the California company that became famous for its gorgeous "Reimagined" Porsche 911s, as an inspiration, and he worked with McBrain to come up with some personal touches. The wood trim is sycamore, like McBrain's snare drums, and the knobs are inspired by those used on Marshall amplifiers, since McBrain was close friends with the late Jim Marshall, whose guitar amps defined the sound of rock.
Some of McBrain's original XJ6 still lives on in this car too. The engine block and gearbox were able to be salvaged when the car was originally pulled from the tree.
The car was modernized with custom-made 18-inch wheels, loads of red leather, a modern infotainment system, and a 1100-watt sound system. Twin SU carburetors from an E-Type replace the engine's original fuel-injection system as well.
And this is only scratching the surface. Jaguar spent over 3500 hours creating this ultimate XJ6.
"I really want it, but I can't afford it," Burgess said with a laugh. "And everybody gets it. Nobody said 'oh no. This is automotive sacrilege.' No, resto-mods are cool."
And if you want something like this, Burgess and his team can make it for you. Only caveat? It literally costs "rock-star money" according to Burgess, but you have to imagine it was worth every penny for McBrain.