Jaguar pays tribute to XK120 with one-off rally F-type
Seventy years ago, the first Jaguar XK120 rolled off the line to become a rally legend.
Jaguar has taken two of its new special edition F-Types and made rally cars out of them. Like Jaguar's first ever rally winner, the XK120, the new one-off rally F-type has no roof. And it was built to fit all FIA regulations, even though it will never compete in a rally.
Seventy years ago, in 1948, the first Jaguar XK120 rolled off the line in Coventry, UK. From there, it became Jaguar's rally icon, winning numerous events including the Alpine Rally three times in a row from 1950 to 1952 and the RAC Rally in 1951 and 1953. Ian and Pat Appleyard were the successful driver and co-driver during all events in their NUB 120.
What started as a 160 bhp strong open two-seater named after its top speed of 120 mph, is now honoured with a remarkable successor, which has sadly dropped two cylinders but gained a lot more power with its four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine which delivers a solid amount of 296 bhp to the rear wheels.
The engine, as well as the eight-speed automatic gearbox, comes from the 2020 F-type special edition road car. Not so the limited-slip differential – that was taken from the V6 version.
From brakes to seats and harnesses, everything was optimised for rallying. Even an intercom has been fitted. The car has also got improved underbody protection and gained 40 mm more floor clearance thanks to sitting on new and softer springs. Electronic driver aids have been dropped and 16 inch wheels with gravel tires complete the metamorphosis.
Ah, and do not forget the lamp pod! There can never be too many additional headlights.
Dan Prosser, writer for Autocar, was passenger when rally driver Jade Paveley ploughed along in the new gravel beast. In his article, he stated that "the combination of body control and bump compliance, particularly given the rough and rocky surface beneath us, was astonishing."
So, there is every indication that Jaguar has put together two proper rally cars.
It is therefore very sad that they will never be competing at any rally, because Jaguar is not interested in going all the rocky and expensive way to acquiring official FIA homologation.
But according to Topgear.com there will be a chance to see the rally F-types in action "at selected events over the next few months".