Jaguar has chosen to celebrate 70 years of production in an unusual and exciting way, by turning two examples of its open-top F-Type sports car into purpose-built rally machines. Typically meant to tackle the curves of a countryside road, these two Jags have now been outfitted with everything they need to scream up and down a bumpy gravel surface. The cars were made as a tribute to the XK 120, which began a successful rally career for Jaguar back in 1948.
At a glance, some changes to the F-Type are obvious. It now has a hood-mounted light pod up front, a few inches of suspension lift, and knobby off-road tires at all corners. Jaguar has gone far beyond cosmetic changes, however, modifying the car to be in line with current FIA rally specifications. The Jag is propelled by a specially tuned version of its base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, putting out 295 horsepower to the rear wheels. Other modifications include a half roll cage setup, six-point harness seats, adjustable shock absorbers, and a hydraulic handbrake to flick the F-Type sideways on loose surfaces.
In Jaguar's release, design director Ian Callum had this to say about the car: "The opportunity to design a rally car doesn’t come along very often so I was fascinated to see how we could take our modern day sports car to a similar character. These models are a fitting tribute to the XK 120 and all the great Jaguar sports cars since its reveal 70 years ago."
For those skeptical of the rally F-Types' capabilities, Jaguar has also released a video to its YouTube channel showcasing the car, complete with some footage of it sliding through gravel and catching a respectable amount of air.