This TWR-tuned Jaguar XJ-S Lynx Eventer is all “Grace, Space, Pace”
Wagons are cool. V-12 engines are cool. Why more people haven’t put the two together is a mystery, but thank goodness for cars like the Lamborghini Espada, Ferrari GTC4Lusso, and Jaguar XJ-S Eventer. The XJ-S Eventer is one of the sweetest fast wagons we can think of, and technically Jaguar didn’t even build it. It’s also extremely rare, with fewer than 70 cars completed.
One of those elusive, spacious 12-cylinder cats is coming up for auction at the end of March. That alone is enough to get our attention, but on top of that it’s the only one to get period upgrades at Tom Walkinshaw Racing, aka TWR. These were the folks who campaigned the XJ-S in the European Touring Car Championship, won Le Mans with Jaguar prototypes in 1988 and ’90, and developed both the Jaguar XJ 220 and XJR-15 road cars. TWR also built its own high-performance XJ-S called the XJR-S. In other words, they were the people to go to if you wanted to make your Jag faster.
The full story of the Jaguar XJ-S shooting brake (British-speak for wagon) starts with a company called Lynx, which started as a tuning/repair shop specializing in Jags in 1968. By the ’70s, Lynx started building faithful replicas of famous racing Jaguars like the C-Type, D-Type, XKSS, and E-Type Lightweight. They’re well-done recreations without compromise, and Lynx replicas are collectible cars today in their own right, especially since a real XKSS or D-Type is eight-figure unobtanium.
In the ’80s, Jaguar didn’t yet offer a full convertible version of the XJ-S, and Lynx seized the opportunity to do its own soft top XJ-S. Once Jaguar geared up to sell its own XJ-S convertible, though, Lynx switched gears and started doing an XJ-S shooting brake conversion called the Eventer. Starting with an XJ-S coupe, Lynx cut off the roof and replaced it with a gracefully sloped hatchback rear featuring a huge rear window. Lynx also relocated the fuel tank and revised the rear seating arrangement. This gave more room for the rear passengers and allowed the seats to fold flat for extra cargo space.
This Eventer is an ’86 model, ordered new by the son of Sir Montague Burton, founder of one of Britain’s biggest clothing store chains. First, it went to the Jaguar tuning wizards at Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). TWR enlarged the V-12 to 6.1 liters and added forged pistons, high-lift cams, machined combustion chambers, larger air intakes, high-flow air filters, and special spark plugs. Claimed output is 380 horsepower, pretty impressive stuff considering the standard 1986 XJ-S came with 262. TWR also added its “Quickshift” gearbox kit, TWR suspension, and 16-inch Speedline alloy wheels. After TWR was done putting the Jag on steroids, it went to Lynx and, in 1987, became the 35th Eventer shooting brake to be completed.
According to Bonhams, the auction house selling the car at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale on March 29, it is a three-owner car from new that got a professional restoration in 2011 and an engine rebuild finished in 2012. The restoration involved replacing all the interior wood (and there’s a lot of it) with burr walnut and redoing the upholstery. For some sad, sad reason, they also decided to remove the period car phone. On the plus side, the Eventer has a full service history from new, always a good thing when you’re talking about an old 12-cylinder British automobile.
Lynx Eventers do pop up at auction occasionally, with the most recent sale being a one-off customized by Paolo Gucci and fresh from restoration that sold for £84,380 (about $115,000 at the time) back in 2016. A standard 1988 Eventer also sold for £39,100 (about $59,300) at the end of 2015.
The one up for grabs in Goodwood carries a presale estimate of £55,000–£65,000, or about $71,500–$84,500. Given that it has both the bundle of TWR performance goodies and the extra cargo room from the Lynx shooting brake conversion, this XJ-S fully embodies that old Jaguar tagline: “Grace, Space, Pace.”