Carlex Jaguar XJ Coupe restomod is neither British nor understated

It leaves us both shaken and stirred

Carlex XJC 01
Carlex XJC 01
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The Jaguar XJ Coupé was already an unconventional Jag. The dramatically long two-door was built on a Series II sedan chassis and kept most of the styling in tact, just losing two doors and gaining a whole lot of subtle elegance. However, the customizers at Carlex Design have created an XJC that takes things to the next level (and maybe a few levels beyond that).

Based in Poland, Carlex has a history of cranking out modified vehicles for well-off clientele. Past projects have included a race-inspired Land Rover Defender, a yachting-inspired Mercedes G63, an aggressively styled Hyundai Santa Fe, and a gargoyle-esque Ford Ranger. The Jaguar XJ Coupé is clearly a favorite, though.

The newest XJC takes the British classic and gives it racier look. De-bumpered and widened with blister flares, it evokes a touring car racer from back in the day. Actually, it's more accurate to say this is what a modern restomod inspired by a fictional 1970s race car would look like, as the real XJ Coupé race cars didn't quite look like this.

That's because the wheels are gigantic, big enough to bathe a medium-sized dog in. No in-period race car would have had saucers that large. And while the side view maintains faithful to the classic, its face betrays its era. Circle to the front end and LED headlights and afterburner-style high beams complete the Jag's four-eyed gaze. The original's elegant grille has been replaced with a toothy maw that would look more at home on a SEMA Jeep. Underhood the Carlex sports a V8 (of unspecified origin) delivering 400 horsepower. The company says its brakes are new, and that suspension and air conditioning are suitable for everyday use.

The interior has been upholstered in what Carlex calls hand-aged leather. The deep brown color gives it the feel of a mahogany-walled boardroom. Aside from the fluting everywhere, the interior is fairly clean, and less busy than the original XJC's. If we had to pick we'd go with the unflared body of Carlex's old XJC design, but replace its Kardashian-designed dash with this one.

Carlex didn't disclose price or production run, but only that a few examples would be built each year. Or, you can try to find one of Jaguar's original XJ Coupés, which were only produced between 1975 and 1978, with a run of fewer than 10,000 units over the four-year span. Given its obscurity it's kind of a strange car to restomod, but perhaps we in the U.S. — where less than 200 exist, according to one fan site — are just less familiar with them.

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