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Gorgeous Jaguar XJ13 Le Mans Racing Prototype Reborn and Updated

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 12/08/2019 Mike Duff
a car parked in a grassy field: Created by Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse, the LM69 is another in the trend of "continuation" models from the U.K. © Ecurie Ecosse Created by Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse, the LM69 is another in the trend of "continuation" models from the U.K.
  • The LM69 is a sports car built by racing team Ecurie Ecosse that's meant to be a continuation of the Jaguar XJ13 race car from the 1960s.
  • It's powered by a V-12 engine and features some notable changes compared to the original race car.
  • Only 25 examples will be built in total, and the LM69 will likely cost close to $1,000,000.

The idea of a "continuation" version of a classic sports car is a trend that shows no signs of abating, with the U.K. at the center of this retro trend. We've seen factory approved models from both Aston Martin and Jaguar, as well as all-new recreations of everything from the original Ford GT to the spectacularly named Lister Knobbly. But this LM69 is different because it is a version of a sports car from the 1960s that never actually made it into production and which has been subtly reworked.

The LM69 is based on the XJ13, the mid-engined, V-12–powered race car that Jaguar built a single prototype version of in 1966 before the project was shuttered.

a motorcycle parked in a parking lot: Ecurie Ecosse LM69 © Ecurie Ecosse Ecurie Ecosse LM69 In reality, the one-off XJ13 was parked in a museum and later suffered an unfortunate crash while being driven by Jaguar's test driver Norman Dewis. (He talked about it in our interview earlier this year, recorded just before he died at the age of 98.) Subsequently rebuilt, that car remains part of the collection of the British Motor Museum.

The LM69 takes the basic design and updates it around the idea that the Ecurie Ecosse team, which won Le Mans twice in the 1950s with privateer D-Types, then developed the car for competition, building it to the FIA homologation regulations that existed in 1969. That's a complicated justification for a car that doesn't need any excuse to exist—it looks stunning.

a close up of a car: Ecurie Ecosse LM69 © Ecurie Ecosse Ecurie Ecosse LM69 The most obvious change over the original XJ13 is the switch to coupe bodywork, the fitment of upward-opening doors, aerodynamic spats on the front fenders, and an integrated wing element at the rear. It carries Ecurie Ecosse branding, but despite the fact that team was based in Scotland, it will be built at a small factory in the English Midlands.

The man behind the LM69 is Neville Swales, who already builds XJ13 replicas that have been described as being truer to the original prototype than the car that Jaguar rebuilt. As with the XJ13, the LM69 is powered by a DOHC V-12, with this purpose-built engine inspired by the design of the original engine but with “opportunities to improve gas flow, combustion and efficiency in light of current knowledge.” It will feature mechanical fuel injection as standard, with the option to upgrade this to electronic injection. Buyers will also be able to choose between a variety of different engine capacities ranging from 5.0 liters to 7.3 liters.

a car parked in a parking lot: Ecurie Ecosse LM69 © Ecurie Ecosse Ecurie Ecosse LM69 In Europe, it will be possible to register an LM69 as a new car with the engine running with catalytic converters. In the U.S., that would likely be more of a bureaucratic hurdle, although Swales tells C/D that he is about to ship an XJ13 race car to the U.S. and is currently building a street-legal XJ13 for a California buyer.

No more than 25 of the LM69 will be built, with the price not confirmed until the car is official unveiled in London next month, but expected close to seven figures when converted to dollars. There are many other automotive jewels that amount of money could be spent on, but would any of them look better?

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