Now here is something a little different. At first glance, it appears to be a poor, neglected and abused Jaguar E-Type; as you get closer, some of its details start to look a little off–sort of like a mix between a Series I and Series II XKE but maybe from an alternate universe. Another few steps closer makes it clear that this particular car is made of fiberglass and not metal: Some sort of a Jaguar E-Type kit car, then. But up close, the strange choice of a donor car becomes apparent.
A quick peek up this fiberglass cat’s skirt reveals a straight member. A live axle on a Jaguar? Even on a replica? The next clue is found on the tires.
The tires actually read “Made for Volvo”. That’s right, this kitten is riding on four Volvo-factory spare tires and rims. That certainly explains the source of the solid rear axle.
The builder was obviously very resourceful, as it looks like he fitted the whole 140/240 series rear suspension with axle, arms and springs. That fuel tank is more than likely a Volvo piece as well.
Moving topside, the Volvo steering wheel is very prominent. Its squareness clashes a bit with the Jaguar- inspired curves. The wheel and column are from the 240 series, so it’s likely that it was the main donor. Looks like the metal supports of the dash and possibly even the floor and transmission tunnel could also be Volvo.
Seat belts? Volvo again. Having built a kit car myself, I salute this builder for making such good use of his donor car. I veered from my donor car over and over again, and each time it added to the cost and complexity of the build. Maybe he should have passed on re-using the carpet, however. His construction method is very clear in this shot: a beefy steel box frame bonded with a fiberglass body.
Sadly, the engine bay was empty, but it wouldn’t be too much of a gamble to suspect a Volvo four-cylinder engine once lived here. The brake booster and steering box are again sourced from a Volvo 240 series. In a rare and obvious deviation, the Volvo front struts weren’t used due to the height restrictions imposed by the E-Type-inspired lines.
So what kit is this? There weren’t any markings on it to give us a definitive ID, but I think I was able to deduce the answer. Most kits, understandably, seek to replicate the Series I model, but this example seems to have a wider rear with the tail lights mounted lower like a Series II. Probably the ultimate E-Type replication is the Eagle (as featured on Top Gear), which uses an actual E-Type donor and is much better built than the original. Obviously, this one is not an Eagle.
Another well known replica is called the Triple C Challenger. Based on a donor Jaguar XJ, the Challenger is a bit more faithful in its replication, and the rear end in particular is different than the featured basket-case example.
The JPR Wildcat seems to be a much better fit. The standard donor was the British Ford Cortina, but from what I’ve heard they were quite willing to work with alternatives for their clients. Engines were all over the map, from the humble-but-willing Cortina 1.6-liter crossflow four to V6s and even V8s. I saw a Ford Pinto-based one on eBay a few years back, so at least a few made their way across the ocean. The big, beefy square-tube frame looks to be a decent match as well. The body looks the same, or at least very close, so I strongly suspect what we have here is a neglected JPC Wildcat.
There is even an active owners’ club for these Wildcats, and according to their informati0n JPR was based out of the historic Goodwood Motor Racing track from 1984 to 1997. There were 147 of these kits built before track redevelopment led to the displacement of the JPR works building. The molds still exist, but no more kits are being made.
The Wildcat looked to be in rough shape, and I suspect those missing doors and trunk lid would not be easy to source. Probably the best bet would be finding a friendly Wildcat owner who’d let you take a mold from his bits. Apparently, a lot of the exterior trim can be sourced from a real E-Type, making it reasonably easy to find but not likely budget-friendly. Even though the future might seem a bit bleak for this car, I still have to wonder if it was ever used on the street, or is simply an unfinished build that lived under a tarp for years (or decades?) before ending up here.