- Post is under moderationCRAZY JAGUARS /
It’s not often you see a #Jaguar with a supercharged #V8 sticking out of the bonnet. Well here’s two of them!
In the average wedding car, you’d be lounging in the back in the swells of loved-up marital bliss. But these big cats would definitely have you calling shotgun… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Ben Hosking.
“What is a wedding? Well, Webster’s Dictionary describes a wedding as: the process of removing weeds from one’s garden.” So said Homer Simpson in the iconic 1994 episode ‘Secrets of a Successful Marriage’. Inspiring stuff.
Weddings, it goes without saying, are hard. Months of preparation, agonising over seating plans and the family politics of who you can and can’t invite without causing awkward tension and a cessation of future Christmas cards, grappling with suppliers who double the cost of everything simply because you’ve prefixed each item with ‘wedding’ (seriously, ‘wedding napkins’ are just napkins that happen to be at a wedding)… it’s enough to age you ten years in one. The honeymoon comes as a blessed relief simply because it’s a chance not to spend every evening doing bloody wedmin.
For people like us, of course, there’s an extra level of stress and jeopardy: what do you go for in terms of wedding transportation? For the average couple it’s easy enough to just get on the blower to Rent-a-Roller and rock up in a Silver Shadow, job done – but if you spend every day with engine oil under your fingernails and squinting through arc-eye, you need something a bit more eye-catching.
Something with a story. And that’s where Fat Cat Classics come in – at least, for residents of New South Wales, Australia. This is your one-stop shop for a badass wedding convoy; they’ve got a fleet of three matching Jaguars jam-packed full of shock-and-awe mischief and rumbling horsepower. You see them here bunched together in the workshop of Sydney’s Forza Performance, but this is an aggressive trio that loves nothing more than a blast on the open road, vying for tarmac-troubling supremacy as they each deploy sodding great gobs of torque. Sure, they’ll get the blushing bride to the church on time, but they’ll frighten the life out of her on the way there. Which, naturally, should set a precedent for the rest of the marriage.
You’ll spot that there are three cars in the package, each resplendent in shimmering silver paint and lipstick red interiors. There’s a 1963 Mark X, a 1971 XJ12, and a more modern S-Type – we’ll swerve the latter for the sake of keeping this spotlight squarely focused on the Retro Cars heartland, and take you on a journey in the former pair, each one eager to ruck up your suit and do unseemly things to your cummerbund.
…but before we do, let’s take a little look at their respective personas. You see, these cars have names, and names always carry weight; the Mark X is named Elizabeth, and you may call the XJ12 Marilyn. As you’ve no doubt deduced, this refers to the classic celebrity rivalry of the late 1950s and early ’60s, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. While history ultimately seems to have handed Monroe the trophy, it was Taylor who was winning the race for column inches, and her bank balance was pretty healthy too – she was earning $1m a movie while Marilyn was taking home $100k. It’s the classic tale of the eager up-and- comer in the shadow of established royalty, with both parties actually being enormously jealous of one another’s assets. And so the rivalry rages in the Fat Cat garage.
Elizabeth is imposing enough to immediately position herself as top cat here. The perky billet 8/71 supercharger poking through the savaged bonnet acts as a psiren song, an irresistible lure toward the danger within.
“The engine swap was easily the hardest part of the build,” says Fat Cat’s Sean Carolan. “We had to re-engineer the whole front end.” Indeed, with the Jag’s original motor swapped out for a meaty small block Chevy V8 – 6.3-litres, no less – you can imagine just what sort of upheaval was required. The floorpans were reconfigured, transmission tunnel reworked, and firewall modified to make room for the vast new powertrain. An XJ12 independent rear end sits out back to help deploy the growling fury of it all, ensuring that the engineering project wasn’t just confined to the car’s leading edge, and there’s a feel of solidity and dependability throughout the chassis. And that’s just as well really, as the last thing you want is your wedding car breaking down. “We made the decision to keep the power at a moderate level, to ensure that there were no annoying breakdowns or overheating when getting the bridal party to the chapel,” Sean explains. “As such, Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we changed our minds!”
The natural balance to be reached here is that, no matter how powerful or extreme a wedding car may be, it must always be luxuriously appointed. No bride wants her five-grand dress being creased by a set of aggressive Takata harnesses or snagged on an exposed door innard. So Elizabeth’s interior has been artfully trimmed in fi nest scarlet leather – a hide plucked from the Aston Martin menu, no less. The carpets and headlining wear a similarly bright shade, with the overall vista being one of classic, timeless elegance. Well, until you peer over the chauffeur’s shoulder and spot that gargantuan blower poking out of the front, that is.
What of Marilyn, then? Is she a shrinking violet, in the thrall of the ruler of the roost? No, not a bit of it. Let’s not forget that Marilyn Monroe was a bit of a firecracker, and seldom happy to stand in another’s shadow. The logic of the respective names does falter somewhat when we look at linear chronology (Taylor was some years younger than Monroe, whereas the Marilyn Jaguar is the younger car here), but their positions make sense. The Mark X is the bigger, brasher, more imposing car, but the XJ12 snaps at its heels like a snarling puppy. The 1971 Series 1 was in fact born of a ten-day whirlwind of workshop activity in the run-up to Sean’s own marriage to his partner-in- crime Leigh. “We built Marilyn on a very tight timeline,” he says. “It was created from a rolling shell in just ten days, it was very intense – we were still working on it at 2am on the day of the ceremony. I was one tired groom!” Hey, it’s all about priorities, isn’t it? And if your wedding car is your business, you can’t show up in a half-finished motor. Particularly when your other car is so flawless.
You can see that the aesthetic is neatly carried over to the ’71; both cars wear the same 20in Vertini wheels and the same shade of silver paint, along with that shockingly red interior treatment with its old-school wood accents. They also share an absolute disregard for any semblance of subtlety when it comes to poking shiny slabs of mechanical equipment through the bonnet, and the XJ12 is also no slouch. Sean’s looking at the thick end of 420hp at the rear wheels, which should ensure that the bride’s mother arrives at the church sideways, screaming in terror and choking on acrid tyresmoke. In deference to her big sister, Marilyn wears just the one carb instead of two and a smaller blower, but the numbers still aren’t to be sniffed at. It’s more about hierarchy than compromise.
“If I had my time over again, I think I would have put a bigger supercharger on Marilyn,” says Sean thoughtfully, scratching his chin as he considers the implications. “In fact, I think I would have built both with injected setups instead of the carbs…” You can see the way his mind’s working, can’t you? These cars aren’t just built as static showpieces; they’re workhorses of course, but evolving ones. Work also happens to be pleasure here, and you can’t stop a man like this from playing with his toys. There are always treasons, stratagems, and spoils afoot. You can be pretty sure that if and when you were to see these cars again, they’d be subtly different – or perhaps, as befits their nature, not so subtle…
The act of planning a wedding is never going to run smoothly, but if you’re aiming to get married in the vicinity of this fleet of raucous Jags, that can at least be one major box ticked off the list. And if you need help with the rest of the planning, just remember the wisdomous advice that Homer Simpson had to offer on the subject: “That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!”
Oh wait, no, not that. Er… “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” There you go. The Simpsons always offer a solution.
SPECIFICATION #1971 / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1 (MARILYN) / #Jaguar-XJ12 / #Jaguar-XJ-Series-1 / #Jaguar-XJ / #Jaguar-XJ12-Series-1-Marilyn /
ENGINE: 400ci (6.6-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 #V8 , 4-bolt mains, 4in stroke Scat crank, Scat H-beam rods, Probe forged 8.9:1 pistons, Clevite bearings, ARP head and mains studs, ported alloy heads, Isky springs and retainers, Cam Tech custom solid cam, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster doublerow timing chain, Melling oil pump, 750cfm Barry Grant carb, 4/71 #GM supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley fuel pump, custom 4-into-1 headers, twin 3in mild steel exhaust, X-pipe, 420rwhp
TRANSMISSION: T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, Jaguar XJ12 LSD, custom tailshaft
SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
BRAKES: Series 3 front brakes, stock rears
WHEELS & TYRES: 8.5x20in Vertini wheels
INTERIOR: Momo steering wheel, Recaro front seats, red leather trim, Hurst shifter, red carpets, red headlining, satnav, Pioneer stereo, Autometer gauges
EXTERIOR: Stock restored XJ12, bonnet cutout
SPECIFICATION #1963 / #Jaguar-Mark-X (ELIZABETH) / JAGUAR MARK X / #Jaguar-MkX / #Jaguar-Mk10 / #Jaguar-MkX-Elizabeth /
ENGINE: 383ci (6.3-litre) small block #Chevy-V8 / #GM-V8 / #GM , Scat 3.750” crank, 4-bolt mains, #Scat H-beam rods, Probe blower 8.8:1 pistons, moly rings, #Clevite bearings, #ARP head and mains studs, ported cast heads, #Cam-Tech hydraulic roller cam, Crower lifters, Trend pushrods, Yella Terra 1.5:1 rockers, Rollmaster double row timing chain, Melling oil pump, HE sump, #B&M oil cooler, Edelbrock water pump, XR6 thermo fan and radiator, 120A alternator, custom billet pulleys, 2x 750cfm #Demon carbs, TBS 8/71 supercharger (6psi), MSD Pro Billet dizzy, MSD coil and leads, MSD 6AL, Holley Black fuel pump, block hugger pipes, twin 3” exhaust, custom X-pipe, 450rwhp
TRANSMISSION: #GM-T400 auto, 3000rpm stall, #Jaguar XJ12 diff , LSD, custom 2-piece tailshaft
SUSPENSION: Pedders shocks and springs
BRAKES: Factory #Jaguar twin-piston calipers
WHEELS: 8.5x20in (front) and 10x20in (rear) Vertini wheels
INTERIOR: Custom Aston Martin red leather trim, Hurst shifter, Autometer gauges, red carpets, red headlining, Pioneer head unit, power amp and speakers
EXTERIOR: Stock restored Mark X, bonnet cutout
“Elizabeth currently makes 450rwhp on 6psi, although more power could easily be found if we ever decided to change our minds”
How many wedding cars do you know of where the engine sticks through the bonnet! Christ, it’s enough to make you want to get married!
At the time of its launch the XJ12 was claimed to be “the fastest full four-seater in the world”. With a #Chevy-V8 it’s now even faster! #Jaguar-S-Type isn’t really retro Cars fodder, but it completes the Jag trio nicely.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE CORRUPTOR #1999 #Holden-Commodore-VS / #Holden-VS / #Holden-VS-ute / #Holden / #Holden-Commodore
Lock up your daughters, KRUPTN’s in town / #Holden
Plasterer 27-year-old Clint Stevens is a man who has always had a mission. As you can see, it’s an epic one, the kind of stop-start build that reads like a Grisham novel. Says Clint, “I love the shape of the VS ute and I was also inspired by #KRUPTA .” He built the 1999 VS ute to be a tough street car. In his ownership for 15 years, it’s been a long ride, but what matters is the end product. Spoiler: It’s absolutely wicked.
“I bought the ute as a stock V6 manual in 2005. It had a set of wheels, a nudge bar and a few dents and scratches here and there. I was on my red P-plates back then and my old man wouldn’t let me have a V8, so I settled for this with the dream of one day getting an eight between the rails. I loved the ute KRUPTA and wanted to have something just as tough.”
After having the ute for a few months, Clint was looking at getting it painted, so he went to his mate Patto’s work and had a chat with his bosses Mick and Matt at #W&G (now #RYLESS Smash Repairs). It was soon booked in with a few new bits and bobs. Clint liked the standard colour, so it was just a matter of getting everything fixed and prep. One day Mick put forward the idea of putting a pearl over the top, with Clint over the moon about how it ended up coming out. The re-trim came next, but nothing “over the top”, as this remained Clint’s daily.
“My good mate Patto informed me his uncle had a fresh 5L sitting in the shed, so with no hesitation I went around and bought it and put it aside for a rainy day. The V6 copped a bit of a hard time and the clutch finally let go. This was the rainy day I’d been waiting for, so I went on the hunt for a gearbox. I sourced a T700 and in went the 5L.”
The boys at Goulburn Battery Factory wired a few things up and soon it was cruising better than ever. It was off to Canberra for a Stage II shift kit and minispool. “Broke apprentice wages don’t go far when building a car, so I was keen just to enjoy it.”
Fast-forward a few years and the hunt for a blower was on. This led to a trip to Sydney for tuning the Haltech, but when Clint learned he couldn’t run his current box with it, he sourced a new gearbox set-up. “A few other potholes and the car was running, but I was not happy with the money that was spent and the workmanship on the car. I put up with it for 12 months before my mate Brad from Brad’s Auto Repairs talked me into a cam change, which turned into getting stroked to 355 while there was no engine in.”
Clint thought he may as well do the bay while he was at it, so Patto was on the job again with a few late nights in the shed. Life commitments got in the way, but after a year everything was back together again, including many changes inside and a new exhaust courtesy of Chev at Liverpool Exhaust.
“After talking to a few people I decided to go a 1L surge tank that feeds into twin 044 pumps. My mate Cooky helped make up a tray to mount everything on, while my mate Glen helped out with a few other bits and pieces. After the abortion of a wiring job from the last workshop, I took the ute to Gentech in Canberra for them to sort it out. It made 485hp on its run-in tune.
“In Goulburn, the cops don’t like anything other than stock, so with it not being engineered there was a lot of night and country road driving. Just when I thought everything was going well, the convertor blew to bits the night before I was taking it to a show.” Unfortunately, metal had gone through the box, which is when the two-speed Powerglide went in. “What a change that made. It was a whole new car to drive.”
But everything did need to squeeze under the bonnet if it was going to be engineered, so Clint’s made Glen’s dad Gary Bell took a standard VS bonnet and made a reverse cowl for it. Finally, engineered, it’s now out and about doing exactly what those plates preach, and that’s just the way we like it.
Thanks: “Kylees (W&G Smash Repairs, 0248214521), Brad’s Auto Repairs (0413645072), Steve at United Motor Trimmers (0248211987), Rob at Comp Coat, Cam at Walled Up White Walls (0403285004), Gentech, Joe at Central Coast Performance Transmissions, mates who have helped, Kain for the cheap parts, Brad for work for the engine bay and other bits, Jason Cook for the fuel system and other bits, Payne Trevanron and Matt Cole for bodywork other than W&G, Glen and Garry Bell for everything they have done to get the car to where it is now, my dad, mum and girlfriend Daniell for being understanding with the build, Chris Degan for the cooler the engine work, Jamie Patton pipework.
TECH DATA NITTY-GRITTY #Holden-Commodore-VS-ute
ENGINE: #Holden-304 stroked to #Holden-355 eight-cylinder
PERFORMANCE: 485hp (run in, E85)
ENGINE HARDWARE: 304 block, #Scat crank and I-beam conrods, #SRP pistons and #Hastings rings, #Camtech camshaft, Crane pushrods and lifters, port and polished cylinder heads, #Gold-Crane 1.65 rockers and stainless valves, Crane valvesprings, #ASR sump, JP high-volume oil pump, 44lb 440cc #Bosch injectors, two #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, PWR intercooler and radiator, #CAPA side-mount supercharger, twin Ford AU themos, Haltech engine management system, Turbosmart boost controller, Hurricane exhaust system, Torquepower intake manifold.
DRIVETRAIN: Two-speed Powerglide, billet servos, fully manualised, TCE 3500-3800rpm stall convertor, PWR cooler with fan, spool.
SUSPENSION/BRAKES: King Springs Suplerlows, Pedders shocks, Pedders swaybar rear, VT twin-piston calipers front with slotted rotors, slotted rotors rear.
WHEELS/TYRES: 20in VE GTS Clubsport wheels, various tyres.
BODYWORK: Tungsten with blue pearl respray (PPG), VS SS front bar, hard cover infill panel on rear, reverse cowl bonnet 75mm.
INTERIOR: Bock Scheel seats front and rear, full re-trim in tan leather with custom flames on rooflining, #SplitFire gauges, #B&M Pro Ratchet shifter, #SplitFire gauges, Speco steering wheel, flames on door pods, #HSV symbol behind seats, Alpine head unit, front speakers.
“In Goulburn, the cops don’t like anything other than stock”
“I love the shape of the VS ute and I was also inspired by KRUPTA”
It’s all engineered now, too, thanks to the reverse cowl above.
Clint’s main advice to himself next time around would be not to do things twice. Coming soon here will be billets and a set of tubs.
There’s a lot of detail you might miss at first, including the flamed roof-lining.
“Just when I thought Everything was going well, the convertor blew to bits”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.