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…