NZ Performance Car - - Fantasy Factory - IL­LUS­TRA­TION: MARK CUR­RAN

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?

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