1978 Jaguar XJ-C Coupe Sleeper

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This Jaguar XJ-C has had extensive modifications under the shell designed to leave modern cars wondering what the hell just happened.

The Jaguar XJ-C was never meant to be a performance car. However, it’s a rear-wheel drive, V12-powered coupe and in the right hands, it can become a potent sleeper. Harry Metcalfe of Harry’s Garage knows a thing or two about these cars, and he knows what the right hands can do with them. He took his XJ-C to XJ Restorations in the UK to have the work done and now he’s released this video to show us the end result.

Jaguar XJ-C Sleeper

The only outward appearance that Metcalfe’s XJ-C has been modified is a slight drop in the suspension. New shocks all-round have fixed the problem of the soft suspension bottoming out when the car is driven enthusiastically. It’s also helped the overall handling, an area ’70s Jags tend to be lacking in. The kit they have installed includes adjustable gas-charged dampers and stiffer steering rack bushings.

Unlocking power from the V12 didn’t take as much work as you may think. It has a new exhaust, but the real key change is a new differential that changes the gearing dramatically. With the shorter gearing matched with a rare manual gearbox, the new exhaust positively sings.

Metcalfe tells us the car still has its problems, most of which he expects on a classic luxury car he bought for just four grand. The chassis upgrades help and you can tell from his joy in driving it that the car now has a real spirit that invites him to get fully involved.

Ultimately though, the V12 now shines through and sounds fantastic. That on its own would have been a job well done.

Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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