Jaguar’s rally-ready F-Type is a wicked homage to the XK120

When Jaguar design director Ian Callum thought about how to celebrate 70 years since the introduction of the XK120 in 1948, he and his team didn’t just slap together yet another track-only, high-performance special edition. No, Callum opted instead to pay respect to the XK120’s success off pavement. The result? An F-Type rally car.

Jaguar built just two examples of the 296-horsepower F-Type convertible rally car, harking back to the XK120 roadster’s success in the early 1950s at the RAC, Tulip, and Alpine rally races. The registration on the rally-winning XK was “NUB 120.”

“We decided to use a convertible because NUB 120 was a convertible,” Callum said. “The best engine would be the four-cylinder—it’s a perfect weight balance for the car. And it would be rear-wheel-drive, of course, not four-wheel-drive.”

Jaguar F-type rally car hang time
Jaguar F-type convertible rally car rear

Jaguar F-type, Rally Car and  Jaguar XK 120

From there Jaguar welded in a roll cage, stripped out the interior, added a fire extinguisher, racing-style seats with five-point harnesses, and upgraded the car’s suspension and brakes, along with fitting gravel-specific wheels and tires. And, of course, the quad rally lights mounted on the hood let you know this is indeed meant for dark gravel and dirt roads.

“This is a celebration of Jaguar’s history in open-top sports cars,” says Jaguar studio designer Wayne Burgess. From the XK 120 came the beautiful C-Type and world-beating D-Type, while the E-Type, XJ-S, XJ220, and XK8 would fill Jaguar’s sports car niche before the F-Type arrived for 2014.

Clearly Jaguar had a bit of fun with this one, as the end of the video shows the test driver sliding around like a madman. He gets a few wheels in the air on several occasions, and at one point launches into a full-on airborne flight before landing back down on the gravel and powering on with the joy run.

Jaguar will sell the two rally F-Types exclusively in the UK for £62,335 each, or about $80,100.

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