You’d be wrong. Enter Bob Tullius – veteran American racing driver and Group 44 Inc Racing Team owner. They would turn what we often perceive as Jaguar’s long-nosed Grand Tourer into a high-octane, snarling, Corvette-munching animal. Equipped with a 465bhp 5.3-litre V12, a wider track, wider lighter wheels and sticky tyres, Tullius himself would go on to dominate half the races in the 1977 Trans-Am season. That’s Road America, Seattle International Raceway, Westwood, Hallet and Mosport, all commandeered by the upstart big Cat. The end result? Tullius being the 1977 Trans-Am Category 1 Champion, and a near miss for the manufacturer title for Jaguar.
It could well be one of the greatest outsider motorsport stories, and this XJ-S Trans-Am one of the great underdogs. Today, the car resides back in ol’ Blighty under the caring ownership of JD Classics. They acquired the car three years ago and have suitably refreshed it. It saw action at Silverstone Classic and Donington last year, as well as a demonstration appearance at FoS 2015.
What a beast this thing looks sat in the Formula 1 Paddock at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. We can’t wait to see and hear it in action during the Americana Demo today and over the course of the weekend.
Photography by Tom Shaxson