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The JPR WILDCAT, being a close representation of the original Series 1 Jaguar can give years of pleasure to those wishing for something cheaper to buy and run. Unfortunately, the real ‘E’ types suffer from serious rust problems and in this context the WILDCAT offers many advantages with it’s thick fibreglass bodywork and heavy tube chassis. Sadly, WILDCATS are no longer being made due to a period where there were insufficient orders to make continued manufacture viable. Ownership of one of the WILDCATS is however possible by joining our Club and replying to a suitable For Sale advert or checking on the web - www. jprwildcat.co.uk. More recently several cars come up on e-bay.
WILDCATS were built in the Supershell building adjacent to the Goodwood race track by founder Jon Randall between about 1984 and 1997. During this time approximately 147 kits and complete cars were supplied. Several have been exported to the States, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Holland.
The cars were available in 2 seater (roadster) form, +2 (suitable for carrying 2 small children) and in latter years the Le Mans coupe versions, each kit benefiting from the bodywork being attached to the chassis and the bonnet, boot and doors being hung. In addition, bonnets could be ordered with flared wheel arches to accommodate wider wheels and tyres and the Le Mans coupe could be had with a pair of spotlights let into the bonnet front as with the original Lindner/Nocker race car. It was left to the constructor to chose and provide his/her own engine/gearbox, heater, seats, instruments, wheels and tyres. On ordering the kit from the factory, the type of engine/box and rear suspension would be specified and the car could then be built with the appropriate suspension and engine bracketry. Most of the smaller parts such as armrests and mirrors could readily be sourced from breakers yards. This makes ‘our’ cars all the more interesting because of their individuality.
The WILDCAT bodies were identical in shape to the real ‘E’ types with one exception and that was the widened rear end. The reason for this departure was to allow for the fitting of a standard Cortina axle, a Sierra independent unit or a Jaguar rear assembly as well as the fitting of a set of wide wheels/tyres. Such a rear end gave the car a much more aggressive look and contributed to the high cornering power of WILDCATS, just as the similarly widened racing Jaguar ‘E’ types.
It is interesting to note the various types of engines that have been fitted to WILDCATS over the years such as the basic Ford Cortina 1.6. or 2.0 litre engine that would come with the donor car, to 2.3, 2.8 and 3 litre V6 units from the same manufacturer. The 2 litre Fiat twin cam engine is also a favourite together with its five speed gearbox, as are the range of Datsun straight 6’s from 240 and 260Z’s to 280 ZX’s. Several cars use the all aluminium Rover V8 in 3.5 or 3.9 capacities with its five speed box and more recently we have WILDCATS fitted with BMW straight 6 and all alloy Cadillac V8 engines respectively. Since the WILDCAT is notably lighter than a real ‘E’ type it is not recommended that a very heavy Jaguar engine is fitted because the balance of the car would be greatly affected. Recent correspondence with an American member who is an Apache helicopter pilot gave details of his WILDCAT fitted with a Mustang 5.2 litre engine that delivers 310 b.h.p. and sufficient torque for 0-100 m.p.h. in 12 secs. This car had the engine positioned particularly well back and employed the rather heavy Jaguar independent rear suspension as well as a large fuel tank to obtain a better balance to the whole car.
At the front, standard Cortina suspension is fitted to the brackets already welded to the chassis and for the less powerful cars the Cortina brakes are most efficient. Faster cars can use the cheap-to-buy vented discs as used on the ‘hot’ RS Escorts or 2.8 Capri’s together with four piston calipers from the Austin Princess. If brand new uprated brakes are required the High Spec brake company in Dartford are worth talking to since they carry a very large selection at fair prices. The handbrake is fitted, taken piecemeal from the Cortina but the original steering column had to be lengthened to suit by the factory. Most cars use 6” wide alloy wheels of the Minilite style in 14” or 15” sizes though there are quite a few owners who prefer the heavier wire wheels, usually taken from an MGB. Recently it has been found that the range and quality of 14” tyres is becoming limited and harder to buy and it would be preferable to use 15” wheels. 65 to 70 profile tyres are more in keeping with the period of these 60’s sports cars and typical tyre sections to aim for would be 195 mm front, and 205 mm rear.
The WILDCAT uses a standard series 1 Jaguar windscreen and the kit was offered with a choice of dashboard tops - you could have a single or a double binnacle top. Jon Randall also sold soft-tops but these were not as sleek as those fitted to Jaguars and it is probably better to visit one’s local trimmer for a hand-crafted and more realistic soft-top outline. Bumpers/over-riders and headlight surrounds were offered as less-than-perfect fibreglass copies of the originals but if the constructor wanted a more authentic look to his car he could buy, unfortunately at considerable expense, the metal original parts from Jaguar dealers, breakers yards or from Jaguar Spares days. The front quarter bumpers fit directly to the WILDCAT bodywork but the rear bumpers need to be reshaped by cutting out a ‘boomerang’ shaped piece from the inner tight bend of the bumper to conform to the more square corner outline of the WILDCAT bodywork with its widened rear end.
With regard to the WILDCAT’s electrics, the original Cortina loom could be used but since most of them taken from the donor car would be already 35 years old or more, a new loom would be preferable. These are readily available with wiring instructions from kit car specialists such as Premier Wiring Systems for about £140 including vital fitments such as relays. Failing this, N.F. Auto Developments sell a well thought-out 12 relay circuit board for £89 that can form the basis for home wiring. From this unit, wires are taken to each electrical item on the car. Jaguar’s Triplex glass headlight covers being very expensive can be substituted with home-fabricated covers made from D.I.Y. double glazing or Perspex material and ‘curved’ with the heat of the kitchen oven laid on a curved former . Tail lights supplied with the kit of parts were not like the originals, being a simple rectangular shape that was designed to be fitted beneath the bumpers. Though expensive, genuine Jaguar tail-lights can be fitted but fibreglass and filler needs to be used to mould the lights into the bodywork. Cheap MGB front side/indicator lights make a good substitute for the expensive Jaguar item.
Any suitably sized heater can be fitted and examples from Spitfire, Mini and VW Polo have been employed. It is necessary to buy relatively narrow seats due to the limited width of the available cockpit space and many suitable ones can be found for sale through kit car parts suppliers such as Europa or Locost. Then again, members have fitted secondhand Spitfire seats. Exhausts need to be fabricated from scratch to suit the particular engine fitted but it is worth making sure that any home built exhaust system is fitted as close to the underside of the car as possible to gain maximum ground clearance and a metal steel strip would ideally be welded between the exhaust pipe and bottom front edge of the silencer to act as a skid.. A heat shield is a worth-while addition where the exhaust passes below a clutch slave cylinder or similar item vulnerable to heat.
Authenticity for the WILDCAT bonnet can be notably enhanced by drilling and filing out the slots on the bonnet louvers, but though this is a pretty tedious job the end result makes it more than worthwhile and, practically allows a worthwhile free through-flow of cooling air.
Heat from the engine and gearbox can penetrate into the cockpit at times, which, though fine in the winter can become uncomfortable in the summer. One way to reduce this heat is to add a barrier using domestic radiator wall-backing reflector material glued to the fibreglass panelling under the floor and propshaft tunnel carpets. This is available cheaply from any DIY shop.
Many of the suspension and steering rack bushes from the Cortina donor car will, with time, have become soft allowing unwanted play and a direct effect on the handling of the car. It is recommended that polyurethane bushes are fitted as replacements. Such items are available from Superflex for example.
The Club annually enjoys outings abroad using the value-for-money motoring travel agents Continental Car Tours and one fixture that has become a regular over the years is the outing to Laon in France for the Festival in May/June.
The end product of any WILDCAT build will depend to a great extent on the amount of money spent, the skill of the constructor and the care and attention to detail but it is strongly advised to have a professional two pack paint spray finish after all the hard work that will have gone into building the car. Examples of the WILDCAT are offered for sale at prices ranging from about £5,000 up to £12,000 depending on specification and standard of finish. The cars are readily accepted by insurance companies on their cheap limited mileage policies.
JPR Cars - the current situation
JPR Cars have been based at Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit in West Sussex ever since they started trading during the 1980's.
The re-development of this historic circuit has taken place over the past few years and JPR Cars workshop stood where the new pits complex was to be constructed. This resulted in the demolition of JPR Cars traditional premises.
At this point Jon Randall (JPR Cars) has not re-located to new premises and, although he still has the moulds and jigs, he is currently not building any new cars or producing any kits.
If this situation should change then I will update this web site to reflect this.
Want more info? Then mail me at email@example.com
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