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XJR-15 Restoration

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  #41  
Old 06-24-2012, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveO View Post
Yes, it was Rod's, finally complete and freshly re-painted...
Excellent. Look forward to seeing it out and about.
 
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  #42  
Old 06-26-2012, 01:25 PM
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Any chance you could share the chassis number?
 
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  #43  
Old 06-30-2012, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by F1GTRUeno View Post
Any chance you could share the chassis number?
Not sure, but here it is in action!

 
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  #44  
Old 06-30-2012, 09:06 PM
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Awesome!
 
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  #45  
Old 07-22-2012, 08:23 AM
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With a very busy work schedule, I had not been up to see the '15 for several months. That changed a couple of week's back when I took a day off to complete the 600 mile round trip to see the car at Don Law's marvellous workshops near Stoke on Trent.
Although good progress has been made on the restoration and engineering modifications, progress has been held up by the long lead time on the PFS fuel-cell. This is now 'in' so the car is ready for the final stage of assembly. As you can see from the pics, the car is basically back together, so I am hoping the car should be fired up for the first time in the next couple of weeks - an event I intend to be present at! With the seats out, you can see the beautiful detailing on the C/F chassis (the first C/F road car) and also just how cramped that cockpit is!
Dyno-testing and road testing will commence next, before the MOT. Looks like it will now be ready for the Autumn (Fall).
 
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  #46  
Old 01-12-2013, 02:44 PM
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It's been a while since I last posted but a lot has happened in the intervening months.
The engineering work was completed in Sept, when I took my first test drive on some damp Autumnal roads. Justin Law, the 4 times GFoS winner, was my guide for the day and first took me out as a passenger, to show me the ropes. Needless to say, he was able to extract the full level of performance from the car and leave me suitably impressed (or terrified, depending on your point of view). Then it was my turn. Sliding down into the cockpit (after first removing the steering wheel) and strapping in certainly adds to the sense of trepidation. The starting procedure is just like the group C cars - about an inch of throttle, flip the Ignition, Injector and Pump switches, then push the start button to get the V12 to catch then roar into life. The noise (there is no silencer) is simply epic. I was a bit nervous with the 6-speed dog box, but first is fairly easy to engage (although quite 'tall'). The three-plate clutch of course needs a bit of work and with no slipping allowed, you get off the line with a start. After that, you need to remember to make hard, positive changes going up (no clutch) - which is very satisfying - and just watch it on the way down. I tried double de-clutching coming down and got each gear most of the time. Without that, there is the occasional crunch, but this doesn't do any harm. Main thing to learn is getting it off the line cleanly. I had a couple of stalls as the clutch is quite fierce - but probably not as fierce as I thought it would be. Handling is excellent. Springs on mine are a bit too hard but the car really grips and is very light indeed. It only takes a smidgen on the wheel to change direction; gearbox requires only small movements, pedals nicely arranged although a bit cramped for my size 11s. No servo on the brakes which at first makes them feel 'dead' but after a while, you are reminded of just how wonderfully progressive non-servo brakes are. On a damp road, I felt very confident with the overall package. Best feature - which I save to last - is the engine. Torque from low down is phenomenal. We had the car dyno'd and it is fully blueprinted, delivering exactly 450BHP. There is a really direct feel between the pedal and engine output which makes it easy to drive in any gear with phenomenal acceleration always on tap.

For what it is - a Group C car for the road - I think it is impossible to match the driving experience. It's pure adrenaline.

After umming and aahing, in the end I could not resist going for a full paint job. The racing car decals look OK in the pictures but close up are not all that great. So I am going for the scheme on the original Silverstone launch car (see attached). The white basecoat is down, just being marked up for the topcoat and murals. I will post a picture when it's done, if people are interested.

In the meantime, I cannot wait for the summer!
 
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  #47  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:41 AM
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Looks like your XJR-15 is coming along very smartly. Look forward to seeing it on the road this spring. Per your comment:

"For what it is - a Group C car for the road - I think it is impossible to match the driving experience. It's pure adrenaline."

It really is a completely unique supercar. They will never be able to build another like it. When looking through it closely, it is easy to understand how the original sale price was GBP 500,000.
 
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  #48  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:43 PM
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TWR sold all 50 before they were built, on the back of 2 wins at Le Mans and the revolutionary technology in the car, even at the (for the time) astonishing price of £500k.
 
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  #49  
Old 01-15-2013, 06:31 PM
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When I was a boy, I was totally absorbed with space craft and fighter jets. My ambition was to be a fighter pilot. Of course, with age and experience, we all understand how life often holds a different path for us from the one we dreamed of in our youth. In my case my dream of conquering the sky’s was eroded by real life and out of the disappointment grew a passion for fast cars. A few years ago the XJR-15 appeared on my radar and then it was simply ‘game on’ I had to have one. I had never actually seen one and clearly hadn’t driven one. The first task was to learn everything I could. Many late nights were spent scouring the internet for information and cars. During the research phase, I spent quite some time discussing the acquisition with Don Law, who was extremely helpful. In order to proceed to the next level, I needed to get price perspective. What a difficult task this was with so few cars for sale. What was a race car worth, what should I pay for a road car, even if I could find one. I missed one or two cars as I had no idea what I should be paying, and with so few cars, it was difficult to arrive at a logical conclusion. There were so many factors to assess, was it possible to have a race car registered for the road and even if I succeeded, would it be manageable let alone practical to drive. Should I be patient and just wait for a road car to materialise or take my chances with a race car. Most of the negative material on the internet was based on the race car, so would the road car have the same issues. With my desktop research starting to generate more questions than answers, I decided to just buy a car and take it from there. The number 4 race car owned and raced by Bob Wollek was due to be auctioned by RM auctions. I called RM and said that I did not want to bid, but if the car didn’t sell I would be interested in negotiating a price. The car failed to sell and they called. I had a long chat with them but they insisted that the owner wanted substantially in excess of $200k. During the course of my discussion with them they mentioned that the Nr 1 car might be available. They said that this car would be more expensive given that it was the Nr 1. My feeling was that something was amiss. If the Wollek car was struggling at $176k, why would they be trying to get me to pay substantially more for it, so I decided to dig a bit deeper into the market. It wasn’t long before I came across the Nr 1 car at Celebrity Cars in Las Vegas. I used my contacts in the US to do some background checks on the dealer and worked with the dealer on various confirmations with regard to the cars history and condition. Strangely, it transpired that my lawyer in the US had a client that owned the Nr 11 car driven by Derek Warwick, what a coincidence. In any event, all was well and I agreed a price for the Nr 1 car and arranged for it to be shipped to the UK. After what seemed like an age, the car arrived and with great excitement, I went to see it at the garage I appointed to carry out the necessary work to get the car to comply with the legal requirements for registration on the road. During the shipping process I made sure that nobody started the car. Once here, I had all of the fluids changed as well as ensuring that great care was taken before firing up the big V12. Once the car was ready, the garage gave me a call to come and do the honours for the ceremonial start up. The car was in a stripped down condition sitting on axle stands, but that did not detract from the excitement as far as I was concerned. I placed my backside on the very wide sill, placed my left hand on the left side of the single carbon fibre racing seat and awkwardly brought my legs up and put them under the steering column (steering wheel removed) and manoeuvred by backside into the seat. I have since improved my entry into the car, but it is far from elegant. The carbon fibre race set was a tight fit for my frame, but still not a bad given that it was crafted for someone else. I followed the mechanics instructions and cranked the engine over until the oil pressure gauge began to move. I then flipped on the fuel pumps and the ignition switches. Lifting the red cover on the toggle for the starter, I cranked the engine again, but this time it burst into life......what a noise, it was deafening. Inside the cockpit the roar from the exhaust was exceed by the noise of the gearbox. Dipping the clutch removed a lot of the high frequencies and a blip on the accelerator produced the most fantastic cacophony of sound....music to the ears of any self respecting petrol head. All too soon the experience was over and after a discussion about the work to be done, I was soon on my way home with a grin a mile wide.
First Drive
It did not take long to complete the work to get the car Mot’d and the first step to road registration was complete. My hopes of a quick registration were dashed as month after month passed and nothing seemed to progress. The paperwork bounced back and forth between the garage and DVLA (the registration body in the UK). Finally the car was given a date for final inspection and I knew we had cracked it. I cannot be precise, but I think my car was the first of the race cars to be approved for road use, so the inspection date was important. I arranged with the garage to send the car to the Chelsea Legends Show in London by transporter prior to the inspection. I went to the garage to watch the loading of the car onto the transporter and much to my surprise they had put a set of trade plates on the car and it was fuelled for my first test drive. This was quite a moment. Getting into the car was a little better than the first time, but still difficult. The mechanic adjusted the new full race harness tightly. I felt as though I had been bolted to the chassis. Sitting in the cockpit my mind began to race. The driving position was the driving position, there was no adjustment and I couldn’t move. The steering wheel felt very close, requiring my elbows to be cocked in order to put any degree of lock on. Prior to firing up the engine, I ran the gear leaver through the slots in order to gauge where they might be whilst I listened to the final instructions of the mechanic. During my research I had e-mailed with William Hewland of Hewland Engineering who design and build dog boxes for racing cars. Could I remember what he had told me when needed, I asked myself. Sitting in the car ready to go, but on my own as the car only has one seat. Looking through the front screen all I could see was the road some way ahead and the sky. Positioning the car was going to be pure instinct. I sat quietly for a few minutes just going through all of the details, not least, moving my feet and carrying out a few dummy gear changes. I took a deep breath and fired up the V12. I slotted first gear and lifted the clutch whilst squeezing the accelerator with a wide margin of respect, I disengaged the hand break and the car was moving. Getting out of the courtyard and onto the main road was effortless, save for visibility, then things started to happen very quickly. Having edged out onto the main road, I immediately had to deal with the pressure of a junction. Cars were zipping by at speed. As I sat at the junction I knew I had to nail the pull away. I was already in first gear from my initial movement and the moment a gap appeared in the fast flowing traffic, I just went for it. With a modest amount of steering lock, a squeeze on the accelerator and a slip of the clutch and I was into the traffic and away. Now for the real pressure, changing into second gear. William Hewland had impressed upon me the need for speed in the shift. I allowed the car in front to pull away from me to create a gap. Not knowing quite what to expect, I gave the accelerator a hefty measure of right foot and the car launched itself, I loaded the gear leave with pressure with a pull towards second and then I removed my foot from the gas and yanked the rear leaver towards second violently and then straight back on the throttle......I was in second and I was away. Almost immediately I had to back off as I was right up behind the car in front of me in what seemed to be an instant. My immediate thought was, boy this thing is fast. Having manoeuvred the XJR 15 through some town traffic, all in second gear, I was soon clear of traffic and onto a country lane I knew well. I accelerated away in second, no problem pulling away a low speed. Feeling a little more confident I repeated the change up process to get into third, unfortunately I did not hit the spot and became immediately and acutely aware that getting to grips with the dog box was going to take time, respect and patience were the thoughts that came to mind. After another couple of botched attempts I managed the change up into third and the cars was beginning to perform. As I accelerated around a sweeping left hand bend which morphed into short a downhill stretch followed by a sweeping right and an uphill climb, I was taken completely by surprise, The G force pulled my inside’s down into the compression at the bottom of the hill and before I knew where I was my inside’s had reversed direction as I crested the hill. My body was unable to adjust and adapt, it was bolted to the chassis of the XJR 15 and I seemed to be in control of my very own roller coaster. What a sensation, I had never experienced this on the road before. The closest I had come was driving a formula 1 car, a Tyrell. I thought this is some machine. As I negotiated various roundabouts and junctions on my out bound adventure, I had various degrees of success with the gear changes. Whenever I got it right if felt like a triumph. What was clear is that I needed time behind the wheel and with enough practice I was satisfied that I could do this. In fact as the drive progressed I found that changing from 3rd through to 6th was not that hard. Changing down the box required a different technique with the use of the clutch, but I have more work to do on that. I found that 3rd was a great gear, the car could accelerate from a slow roll way past any speed limit in the UK so I was able start to relax and start to enjoy the experience. It gets very busy in the cockpit and so demands proper attention and respect. It seemed like no time at all before I was turning the car around and heading back the garage. As I pulled into the courtyard of the garage, I felt a great sense of achievement and relief. I had managed my first drive in the much maligned XJR 15 and loved every second of it. Aside from the need to spend time learning to use the gear box efficiently and effectively, this is a magical beast and no mistake. In many ways the challenges presented in mastering the car delivers an equal if not a greater sense of pleasure and achievement when you get it right.
I am really looking forward to some fine weather and getting some serious miles on the clock.
Finally, you may be wondering what has the fighter pilot dream got to do with the XJR 15. Well, I think I have found the road going version of my boyhood dream. If you look at the car in profile, it has a bubble over the cockpit, and as the driver sits inside, the huge backend of the car is packed with power.... and as it would happen as I sat late one night searching the internet for information on my car and I found a picture of the Nr 1 XJR -15 lined up an a runway at Nellis Air Force Base ready to race an F-16 fighter jet. Fantastic or what!
 
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  #50  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:09 AM
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Long but interesting read. Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience with your Jag, wish I could have a go in one of those!
 
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