We’re guessing the only time you might have possibly sat in a Jaguar coupe is when you were five and your grandad had one, and he took you out for an ice cream. Few and far between, they’re certainly not as common as your dad’s Monaro or your uncle’s 300ZX, and like our case in point, they’re mostly associated with grandpas and people of an elder generation. However, as one of Jaguar’s bestselling cars, they did get the design right for that bygone era. With a long, almost boat-like look comparable to the timeless E-Type, they definitely made a classic. Powered by a Jaguar-designed 4.0-litre V8, the car produced 216kW from factory — a modest figure that would be quite easy to increase. Given we’d be starting with a base-model XK8, we figure there’d be no need to keep the thing luxury if we wanted to modify it. Sure it’s a Jaguar, but that also means it weighs a lot, and coming in at roughly 1700kg, it’d require some pruning. We’d rip out the big wooden dash and fit a lightweight carbon-fibre replacement with a black suede covering, and — providing a lightweight, sportier alternative to the plush, chunky original seats — would be a set of leather Recaro Sportsters, hopefully getting us down to around a more satisfactory 1500kg. The engine is where this build would get a tad tricky. Replacing the original 4.0-litre Jaguar motor with a newer engine (that’d be easier to work on) would probably be the most sensible option, as the old V8 would be pretty costly to tangle with. Rather than an engine to modify, it’s more of a case of an engine to fix
and rebuild. In this instance, we love a challenge, and thus we would keep the V8, and run somewhat simple bolt-ons to increase the power by an amount suitably substantial for this quick-cruiser build. Without replacing too much under the hood, we’d focus on putting in a turbo system — in the back. It’d be a rearmounted STS turbo conversion set-up modified for the Jaguar V8, with the car running a low-boost system with twin 38mm Turbosmart Ultra-Gates to regulate the boost on the turbos. These would be located with a pair of Garrett T3/T04E turbos just behind the rear bumper, with a 52mm Turbosmart blow-off valve to tie in the set-up. The bodywork is where the car could get a bit weird, however. The XK8TT would need an upgrade to modernize the exterior in keeping with changes made to the engine bay and interior. Sourcing and modifying a Varis Ridox Toyota Supra full lower lip would fill in the gaps around the lower panels. Without making it look completely like a Supra, in doing so the body would gain a bit of necessary staunch factor. And by slamming it on a set of custom KW coilovers, the XK8 would be sitting a lot closer to the ground, separated from it only by the Messer Turbo-Fans, a controversial wheel that while a bit ridiculous, is a new take on a classic look for this somewhat iconic Jaguar. What better way to rejuvenate a soon-to-be classic for the modern era than with gains in both power and style?