Jaguar Files Trademark For "XJ13" Nameplate
Is the British automaker bringing back one of its lost unicorns?by Kirby, on
Jaguar has trademarked a name that was long thought to be dead, bringing fans of the British automaker into a frenzy on the possibility of finally seeing the XJ13 name become a reality 50 years after the first and only example was completed.
According to Autocar, a Jaguar spokesman denied any intention the company has in remaking the XJ13, suggesting merely that the trademark filing is standard practice for the company. Those comments notwithstanding, there are enough reasons to believe that Jaguar’s cooking something up with the XJ13 that could lead to a limited production of the mid-60’s race car that was supposed to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For one, Jaguar Land Rover’s Heritage Division could have something to do with the car’s revival. The division is known for tackling historical and sentimental projects that are attributed to Jaguar and Land Rover. There’s a precedent for remaking the XJ13 with the XKSS, the road-going version of the D-Type that the JLR Heritage Division is bringing back to life as a nine-unit model to commemorate the nine models that were destroyed in a fire at the Browns Lane plant back in 1957. As a result, Jag was only able to build 16 of the 25 units it was supposed to create.
In a lot of ways, the XJ13’s history fits into the same category as the XKSS. Once thought of as a contender in Le Mans, the XJ13 has an even more tortured history than the XKSS because of indifference from the company’s management at that time and a crash in 1971 that wrecked the only XJ13 prototype ever built. In fact, Jaguar once admitted that the only official living example of the XJ13 ￼is not an exact reproduction of the original, claiming that the “wheel arches are more flared” and that some of the “electric and mechanical components have been changed.”
It would be fitting that on the 50th anniversary of the XJ13, the heritage division may finally produce the 25 units of the XJ13 that it once intended to do. Jaguar’s not copping out just yet, but don’t be surprised if we finally get to see the XJ13 come to life like it was supposed to five decades ago.
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Why it matters
If I had a dollar for every time a spokesperson denied something that ultimately came to fruition, I’d be a millionaire by now. I’m not calling the Jag spokesperson out and it is part of his job to douse rumors that the company doesn’t want to get talked about just yet.
But like I said, I think this is going to happen because this is too big of an opportunity for the company’s heritage division to showcase itself as upholding its own objectives. Remember, JLR recently made a a $10 million investment into its restoration center in a bid to improve the efficiency of the projects it intends to make. And seeing as JLR wants to be treated as a legitimate arm that upholds the history and tradition of both Jaguar and Land Rover, there’s no bigger project in Jaguar’s end that can elevate the division’s credibility than by tackling the homologation run of the XJ13.
Even Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, admitted the significance of the XJ13 at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this year. “We have such an incredible history at this circuit, and it’s just a shame that the XJ13 never had the opportunity to write its own chapter there in that period,” he told Autocar. “No celebration of Jaguar’s heritage would be complete without the XJ13.”
Considering all the evidence that’s really in front of us, it would be shocking if nothing comes out of Jaguar trademarking the XJ13 name.