By on November 1, 2010

My friend, driving instructor, and fellow racer Brian Makse occasionally plays at being a Canadian auto journalist. Being a Canadian autojourno is very possibly the bestest job available, because even the third-tier guys get free cars and first-class flights to Europe. Right now Brian has a new Jaguar XJR in his garage. Unlike Mr. Makse, I owned a Jaguar when the company was British-owned and fiercely independent, not merely a pawn in various Asian financial shell games.

In an effort to write a better article than Makse’s upcoming Jag XKR review, I’ve decided to talk about a car that is so much cooler than the TataJag that a double shot of vodka placed on its bonnet would immediately freeze. I’m referring to a British automobile of such impeccable pedigree that even Bristol owners nod in its general direction with grudging respect. Ladies and gentlemen… the Lynx Eventer.

What, exactly, is a “shooting brake”? Obviously, it is a sporting vehicle which holds sporting firearms and equipment, driven by a sporting sort of fellow. Alternately, if I understand the lower left-hand picture in the above brochure correctly, it is meant to be operated by a man who owns both a private plane and an International House of Pancakes.

The fabrication of bespoke shooting brakes is a wonderful English tradition which encompasses Astons, Bristols, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, and many other gentlemen’s motorcars. The mighty XJ-S was capable of putting virtually all of that old iron in the shade upon its debut, when it could be bothered to start and run for any length of time, so it made perfect sense that someone would eventually make a shooting brake variant.

Still, it took more than five years from the debut of the XJ-S for Lynx Engineering to produce the first Eventer. In many ways, this was the car Jaguar should have built from the start. It lacked the controversial “flying buttresses” of the XJ-S, it was far more accommodating for rear-seat passengers (with 3.5 inches more rear legroom and more headroom as well), and it was reportedly even lighter than the original Coventry cat. I’ve been unable to find reliable pricing information but I would not expect that a new Eventer cost much less than two new XJ-S coupes. The conversion could be done on factory-new automobiles or customer cars.

For those of you who read French, a brief discussion on the wheelbase extension is here. “Mesurée sur l’Eventer 41, la différence avec l’origine est flagrante.” Indeed. It’s more than a simple cut-and-shut job, and the resulting passenger area looks quite comfortable and stylish.

A total of sixty-seven Eventers were built. The very last one, pictured below, is based on the TWR XJR-S six-liter. That makes for a rapid vehicle, even by modern standards. It would also be possible for an independently-minded Eventer owner to do one of John Radovich’s kits. It’s possible to put a ZZ 502 big-block crate engine in the car, yielding over five hundred horsepower in naturally-aspirated form. Such a car would weigh 3800 pounds. It would be more than a match for any mixed-breed XKR Ratan Tata can produce, at least in a straight line.

I regret that I cannot tell you how the Eventer drives; very few have made it to these shores. I can tell you how a stock XJ-S drives, and how it will try to make your wife a widow, and that will be the subject of my next Capsule Review…

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43 Comments on “A Very Special Event(er) Indeed...”


  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Sad that the promo pictures don’t depict the man removing a fine English double gun from the vehicle rather than a wimpy end table.

  • avatar

    this was the car Jaguar should have built from the start
    Damn straight. But then I’m pretty much in unconditional love with shooting brakes.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    It’s possible to put a ZZ 502 big-block crate engine in the car, yielding over five hundred horsepower in naturally-aspirated form.

    Been there, done that with an old XJ6.  A better solution (and surprisingly just as affordable) is to go with the LSx series of small blocks with a “fit and fire” fuel injection system.  Doing so avoids the heavy front nose.
    Those were good looking cars, though, and with today’s available power would sure have a lot of panache…

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      No, no, no, no, no, no, no!!  That’s nothing more than a fast way to take a cultured semi-bespoke automobile, and immediately turn it into a knuckle-dragging, redneck yahoo.  I knew a guy once who did that sort of abomination on an XK-150 (289 Ford).  He was also good at hitting a spittoon at 15 meters.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Syke, my uncle had a 1959 XK-150 in the late ’60s. My aunt could drive it, since it had the same Borg-Warner auto as my ’63 rambler, but she wouldn’t: all three times she drove it, she called my uncle to pick her up and call a tow truck. My uncle never drove it without having cab fare on him. He would have kept it if he could put a reliable 289 in it. As it was, he sold it for twice what he paid for it, making that his happiest day of ownrship. Not as impressive as hitting a spittoon at 15 meters though.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    TWR – Tom Walkinshaw Racing. He worked on everything from BMW CSL to Jag XJ-S, with Mazda and Rover thrown in between.

  • avatar
    majo8

    That is a great looking car.
     
    I want one — in black.

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    I have always lusted after shooting brakes, although the closest I’ve come is a Volvo 1800ES. I wonder what an A3 Sportback would look like with the two rear doors removed?

  • avatar

    very nice looking. when did they make these?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Absolutely, disgustingly, abhoringly hideous.
    In otherwords, it’s a truly authentic British design. I would buy one.
     
    Makes me think of what would come out of the poor thing if you turned it into a minivan.

  • avatar
    cmdjing

    What pray tell is the aesthetic difference between a “shooting brake” and a station wagon besides possibly a longer hood?
    That ridiculously long rear overhang is, well, ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar

      A Shooting Brake only has two doors.
      Station wagons have four (or more.)
       

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Chuck,
       
      While I seldom disagree with you, here in America, there have been a veritable boat-load of 2-door “wagons”.
       
      Ford Falcon, Chevy Chevelle, Ford Parklane, Bently Continental, Jeep Willys, Rambler American. I can continue for a while longer if you require more examples. Al were sold as “2-door wagons” by their respective manufacturers.
       
      Net net, “wagon” vs. “brake/break” is a nomenclature argument. As the publishers of the OED will tell you “dictionaries are descriptive not proscriptive”.
       
      Just a thought…
       
      (‘Cept in France of course, but I digress…)
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      I think the difference between a “shooting brake” and a “two door wagon” is similar to the difference between an “SUV” and a “4 wheel drive wagon”; it’s got more to do with what the owner would like other people to think he uses it for.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      It’s not simply a question of number of doors, but on purpose and feeling. A Shooting Brake is what we nowadays would categorize as a lifestyle vehicle, and those comes in all sizes and shapes. A Shooting Brake is generally luxurious or sporty, mostly two doors, sometimes with three or even four doors. The three door variants had two doors on one side, and one on the other, Suburban-style.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Sitting@home and Ingvar,
       
      I’m just offering that ‘shooting brake/break’ is no more definable in absolute terms than ‘luxury sports car’ is.
       
      Ergo, the criterion for defining one as one, and another as another, have yet to be agreed upon.
       
      “if were are going to debate, let us first define our terms.”  – Voltaire

      (FWIW- Ingvar, I do understand that some things just are what they are from a je ne se quoi perspective. I just believe that can be quantified, though it may take a lot of time/money/variables….)

    • 0 avatar
      Thinx

      A station-wagon is driven by the toad-beneath-the-harrow who is verbally, mentally and sometimes physically abused by his adulterous wife.
       
      The shooting-brake is driven by the syphilitic knob that said wife (see above) is being adulterous with.
       
      Your mileage may vary.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    “Brake” or “Break”? Which shall we choose, as semantics are everything…
     
    Rergardless, how dare you Mr. Baruth  impugn for a moment the “Asian financial shell games”?  Do you not realize that Sino-dominance by hook or by crook is now PC?
     
    The real question is how will Mr. Schmitt react to this frontal assault on all that is right with the world?
     
     

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I think you are wrong on wheelbase extension. I may be wrong, but I have a hard time seeing Lynx doing any sort of meddling with the wheelbase. To my mind, all the work was done with the roof and rear end. I’d like to see some verification on that, and some more on top of that, because I think that those statements simply are wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I agree with you that it seems unlikely, but if you go to the site mentioned you can see where the floorpan is cut, sectioned, and rewelded on both sides. I also don’t think you can come up with a major increase in rear seat room just by moving the seats, although I could be wrong.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Nice design I don’t think many of these came to the states, the Jag dealers probably did not want to warrantee the conversion. Looks like the same wheelbase to me. I see plenty of these XJ-S coupes at really reasonable prices 3-8K but like most Jags the repairs put a hurting on your British leather wallet.

  • avatar

    And not only do we offer (one of) the bestest jobs around, lest we forget the cash money jobs in Fort McMurray, we can also claim to have started the socialist health care trend currently sweeping North America. See, we’re not so bad after all.
    Now I just need to figure out how can I swing access to press fleets from Fort Mac…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Never heard of it, never seen it, but that rear overhang may be a record-holder.

    • 0 avatar
      fastback

      surely you jest:

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/pictures/1970_Plymouth_Custom_Suburban.jpg&imgrefurl=http://bussutrustningar.se/images/1970-plymouth-fury.html&usg=__5IM3lFDuRi6AMvopNT3rq59il80=&h=377&w=549&sz=61&hl=en&start=91&sig2=Zv5iFQwHFugMWHEMD7InlQ&zoom=1&tbnid=l6BsVY_yfOgJ7M:&tbnh=154&tbnw=205&ei=QiHQTLXTCYX6lwf0otjcBQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3D1974%2BPlymouth%2BFury%2BStation%2BWagon%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1234%26bih%3D482%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=109&oei=AyHQTN2JB8Gclge69ITtBQ&esq=9&page=9&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:91&tx=69&ty=91

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Beautiful car,
     
    So Jack how far into the 911′s tire budget are you? keep these stories coming… and what the hell…maybe you can shod all your Porsches and buy a Les Paul while you are at it…

  • avatar
    mpresley

    A goofy looking mod, that much is certain.  Why people think they can make something classic something better is something I’ll never understand.  My colleague has an old V-12 XJS drop top.  Impossible to keep going as new, but simply stunning.  A Jaguar station wagon is simply an argument against the legalization of mind-altering drugs.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Remember, in context this car recalls the XKE 2+2.  If the XJS is a natural evolution of the XKE, the Eventer is an evolution of the 2+2.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Those rear side windows are nuts! I love it.

    One of the most memorable moments of a recent vacation was watching a young woman try to start her old XJ-S. Took a long time, and when it finally lit up, it ran rich (had that heavy exhaust smell). I’m glad I didn’t own the car, but the cool factor was high.

  • avatar

    Thanks, Jack – This is a great piece. No doubt it has all of those little character “quirks” which made pre-Ford Jags so endearing, but the world deserves more cars like this. I’d never seen the shooting brake version of the XJS and can only say that it’s a shame Jag never did one.

  • avatar
    david42

    I don’t know about other sources, but the link to the French site does NOT claim that the wheelbase is extended.  Instead, it talks about how the rear bulkhead was moved backwards in the later versions of the car.  That’s what allows the rear seats to be positioned further back, yielding a space that can be enjoyed without amputation.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Awesome.  Simply awesome.  I just copied the picture and sent it to my GF…..told her that’s what I wanted for Christmas, and would always want it until I get one…..I love station wagons….but these Jaguar shooting brakes are the creme de la creme.  Gorgeous enough to make you put up with the horrid electronics and other foibles and peccadilloes of British cars….

    The government bureaucrats who are forcing us into Cruz’s and Fiesta’s will never understand how much we hate them until they spend time considering vehicles like these.  I went through a period a few years ago where I got jaded about cars and scoffed at the idea that vehicles like this can truly inspire lust.  And then I saw the picture that headed this article.
    Thanks for making my day, JB….I can now sit and imagine what it would be like to pilot one of these beauties…

  • avatar
    Snavehtrebor

    Beautiful version of a great niche vehicle. I thought Porsche should have pursued something similar when they developed the Panamera- take the front end from the 4 door, use a more aero-friendly version of the Cayenne’s rear, limit to 2 doors, et voila, the 928 Shooting Brake successor.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      @Snavehtrebor,
       
      If you have any pics of a shooting-brake conversion of a 928 (done during the 928′s 17ish yearish production run) do please share.
       
      The only SB conversions of a 928 I have seen have been very recent. No, I’m not counting the 4D 928s that were proto’d. I’m solely interested in an aftermarket/tuner brake that was not created for LeMons.
       
      If you have any data, please share.

    • 0 avatar
      Snavehtrebor

      PS, my mistake: my intention was “A successor to the 928, in the form of a shooting brake”, by which I meant a fast, comfortable, roomy GT that could hold your ol’ lady and several cases of beer, or possibly your shorthaired pointers Hans & Franz, and only one case of beer.
      My larger point was that I still don’t get who rides in the backseat of a Panamera, and the Cayenne, however competent it may be, is a truck, and I wish Porsche was a little more unpredictable.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      @Snavehtrebor,

      Have you been in the back of a Pana? I have (6′ 180#) and find them rather roomy (as it goes). No, it isn’t an S-Class, but it isn’t meant to be.

      We can kick the Cayenne around for days – I’m rather ambivalent as it is fast as all hell, but larger than I believe a Pooch should be… But it IS fast, and that is the Porker reason for being. Conundrums and all that.

      Regardless, I find the backseats of a 928 plenty big to take a coupla 110# chicas back to my place. With plenty of room in the hatch for multiple cases of liquor (sorry don’t drink beer).

      Certainly non-optimal for a 100+ mile road trip in that config, but has worked for me dozens of times for 30-ish miles.

  • avatar

    @porschespeed: Suggested definition for “Shooting Brake”: a station wagon for recreational purposes that do not necessarily involve brats or in-laws.
    “Brake” vs. “Break”: Peugeot & Citroen used to call their (4-door) station wagons “Break”.

    • 0 avatar
      fastback

      IIRC, Renault also called their station wagons ‘breaks’.
      I distinctly remember happening in Argentina w/ the R12′s.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      herb,
       
      While I’m hardly old enough to remember them as new cars. the mid-1930′s RRs were labeled as “brakes” not “breaks”.  That is where I got my auto nomenclature education. In the 1970s.
       
      And yes, the RR 20/25 Shooting Brakes of the mid-1930s had four doors.
       
      So the trick is really what defines a “shooting-brake”. Is it merely that it is a snobby way of saying “station wagon”  for the beyond-upper crust?  Is it that a  “luxury” car coachbuilt into a wagon becomes a “shooting-brake” by virtue of origin DNA?
       
      No sarcasm involved, please offer a definition….

    • 0 avatar
      thetaII

      Indeed they did.  Classic example:
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Citroen_ds_break_h_sst.jpg


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