Officially, Jaguar didn’t build a station wagon until 2005, when the Ian Callum-designed X-type estate (“Sportwagon” to U.S. buyers) first appeared in dealer showrooms. However, savvy shoppers — with sizable budgets — could have procured a long-roof Jaguar XJS shooting brake, marketed as the Lynx Eventer, as early as 1983. Over 16 production years, just 67 examples (and one prototype) were built, and on May 11, a 1984 Jaguar XJS V12 Lynx Eventer crosses the auction block in Monaco, part of Bonhams “Les Grandes Marques a Monaco” sale.
Founded by Guy Black, Chris Keith-Lucas, and Roger Ludgate in 1968, Lynx began as a repair and tuning shop specializing in Jaguar C-type and D-type racing cars. In 1972, Lynx began work on a D-type copy of its own, built from Jaguar’s production E-type, and the Lynx D-type debuted in 1975. The company would go on to build C-type, XKSS, and E-type Lightweight replicas as well, but in 1980 turned part of its attention to converting Jaguar’s E-type replacement, the XJS, from coupe to convertible.
These convertible conversions brought in steady work, but in the early 1980s it became apparent that Jaguar intended to launch an XJS cabriolet of its own to supplement the existing Targa-roof XJ-SC. Pondering what else could be done with the XJS, a car with which Lynx was now intimately familiar, the company decided upon a shooting brake version, which not only added (needed) cargo space, but improved leg room for rear-seat passengers thanks to the extensive conversion process.
The Lynx Eventer prototype was shown to the automotive press — without an interior — in 1982, and most present praised its styling, which endeavored to stay true to the original shape penned by Jaguar’s Malcolm Sayer, and later, Doug Thorpe. The lone dissenting voice came from Jaguar’s chairman, John Egan, who described the car as looking, “a bit like an up-market Reliant Scimitar.” The public was indifferent to his criticism, and when the Lynx Eventer began to appear in magazines of the day, the orders rolled in.
The original cost of the conversion in 1983 was £6,950, then roughly the equivalent of $10,500. That was nearly 30 percent of the $36,000 sticker price of a U.S.-specification Jaguar XJS (or enough money to buy a new Ford Mustang GT), but the cost reflected the complexity of the work required. In addition to removing and replacing the coupe’s flying buttress roof, the Eventer conversion involved pushing the back seat rearward, relocating the fuel tank, and stiffening the rear suspension due to the change in both front-to-rear weight bias and center of gravity, adding a rear liftgate — complete with a wiper and washer — and revising the rear seats to fold flat, creating a 6-foot-long cargo area.
Even with all the revisions, the Eventer managed to weigh less than the Jaguar XJS, enhancing performance (if by a narrow margin). Though initially designed around the V-12-powered XJS, as time went on, Lynx converted cars powered by the 3.6-liter inline six, the 4.0-liter V-6, and even the high-output XJR-S V-12. A total of 52 Eventers were assembled before the XJS received a restyling for the 1991 model year, with 15 built after the donor car’s facelift.
New cars may have been preferred for the conversion, but Lynx offered the same package to owners of used cars as well. Each car was built to a specific customer order, and the conversion took some 14 weeks — three-and-a-half months — from start to finish. The last Eventer left Lynx’s workshop in 2002, and by then, the cost of the conversion had risen to a staggering £49,500, or roughly the equivalent of $74,250.
Chassis SAJJNAEW3BC113109, the car to be sold in Monaco, was number 20 of the 67 cars built. Originally a right-hand-drive car, its first owner was David Barnes of Kent, England, who kept the car until at least 2006 and possibly as late as 2009 (sources differ). Under his care, the car was restored for the first time in 1999, and during a subsequent 2010 restoration by a later owner, its color was changed from Antelope Bronze to the black it wears today. During this last restoration, the car was converted from right-hand drive to left-hand drive, a process that required a period-correct XJS donor car. This complex change was executed by CKL Developments, a company headed by Chris Keith-Lucas, a co-founder and former managing director of Lynx.
Car number 20 was offered by Silverstone Auctions at its Race Retro sale in 2015, but failed to meet the reserve price and was not sold. In 2016, it crossed the auction block at Bonhams’ Chantilly sale, where it sold for a fee-inclusive €70,150 ($86,340). This time, Bonhams is predicting a selling price between €75,000-€95,000 ($92,000-$120,000) when the Eventer crosses the auction stage in Monaco.
For additional details on upcoming “Les Grandes Marques à Monaco” sale, visit Bonhams.com.