1991 JAGUAR XJR-15
TOO EARLY TO TELL
MORE THAN FIRST THOUGHT
“NEVER EVER GIVE UP”
Email details to: uniquecars@ bauertrader .com.au
When we’re pushed in life, we learn who we really are.
While Jordan Roddy may look back on his achievements with his XJR-15 with modesty as we speak less than a week from Motorclassica, he’s been doing something truly amazing. It’s certainly something he’ll look back on in years to come as one of his personal triumphs.
With his head shoved inside the wheel arch of his boyhood dream car, there’s a different tone in his voice from when we first met. He’s tired, but incredibly focused on what has to be done next and how that relates to the next task. Part of his face says, “I’m over this.” But a little joke and the crack of a smile help reassure him that he’s pushing himself for all the right reasons.
Crunch time. Since last issue, Rob Stevens at So Kool Paint Works has spent more time in the booth on this Jag than any other car he’s worked on. “The paint was done quicker than usual, but the compromise is with me, not the job. We’ve had the doors come late and push everything back. We’ve had
to re-do the spoiler because it wasn’t perfect.”
Jordy didn’t get much sleep in the week leading up to Motorclassica. “It’s about putting together all the tiny details,” he says.
“Even though the seats are done, the major body panels and doors are done, they have to be attached, sit right, and not be scratched in the process. I also have to make sure I’ve got everybody helping me in the same mindset – if there’s something we can’t do, we have to find something else to do while we wait. There’s absolutely no time to be wasted.”
Blankets and old t-shirts protect every possible inch of that precious blue paintwork, while panel-gapping the rear body shell,the doors and the sills below them. “I’ve also had to get the interior put together, again while we waited for the doors. All the electrics have been laid and tested, and all the other little details have to happen at the same time like getting the headsets working, making sure the dials work, doing the pop-up headlights – making sure they don’t line up poorly with the bonnet and scuff it.”
“I’ve had my mates Patrick Parisienne and Phillip Emerson up until all-hours helping me, and with Mum and Dad’s support, I’ve got everything I need to make it.
The last time I saw Jordy was the Tuesday afternoon before his final chance to bump-in to the Royal Exhibition Building. The tow truck was booked, and that would be another problem in itself – one wrong move loading the low-slung beast could spell disaster. Fingers were crossed.
Up at 5am, at the Exhibition building by 6, it was an early start, but nothing compared to Jordy.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting him to have had a finish but he’s a determined young man. What have
“You have to learn as much about your car as possible if you want to save money and do as much work yourself as you can. Whether it’s a supercar or not.
Be realistic, smart with your money and have a plan before you start. ”
There’s barely room for two adults in the cockpit of a Jaguar XJR-15.
Jordy is about six-foot tall and even though the seats sit right on the floor of the car, his head touches the roof. Hence the padded Alcantara roll cage to soften the blow of lateral G.
The Lifeline extinguisher system robs more space from the passenger footwell. Practical?
No, but who cares?
Geoff Lawson, Jaguar’s Design Director, was heavily involved with the XJR-15, insisting that the design had to be seen to be a Jaguar. The exterior retained the aluminium body panels of the XJ220 concept, but the scissor doors were dropped for the production model.
most of us accomplished by 30 years of age? Maybe we started our first home loan or got a promotion or maybe signed terms on a new car.
That’s great – but it dawned on me how bizarre Jordy’s story really is. He’s thrown everything he has at this project and to get this far, the odds are stacked such that he could land in a big bucket of disappointment.
Restoring a supercar is intricately complex. By their very nature, the ability to be repaired, replaced or even preserved were never priority design criteria.
Then there’s carbon fibre.
Unless you’re skilled with heating, re-joining and re-moulding plastic in your shed at home, you’re in no-man’s land. Supercars are meant for three things – looking ridiculously cool, sounding awesome and going fast! End of story.
They’re not meant to be re-production items, and that’s why Jordy’s not only become an engineer in the truest sense of the word, he’s had to develop the nose of an investigative journalist just to source the odd original XJR-15 part from the nether reaches of the globe.
No repro Taiwanese stuff from eBay here.
Sitting alone with just a camera for company in a rainy Carlton Gardens, watching the Royal Exhibition Building get ready to show its stuff and inspire the next generation of little tackers with hi-po imaginations and chocolatecovered fingers… a figure glimmers in the yellow of street lights and a diesel engine chugs up Nicholson Street.
Jordan Roddy’s Jaguar XJR-15 supercar sits low and proud on the back of the flatbed, with Jordy following in his white MkII. He made it! Jaguar’s last true “race car for the road” arrives, looking suitably subtle yet aggressive in its blue war paint.
Thinking back to our first encounter, I could almost hear the howl of its six-litre V12 engine straining to be unleashed from its shackles.
“It’s such a relief. I’ve never worked this hard in my life to be quite honest,” Jordy says, trying to string together a summary of how he feels, besides exhausted.
“Sitting here, in it, is really emotional. All the hard work has paid off. We popped some champagne last night and I sat down for about an hour I was so tired. From Japan to here, it’s been a rollercoaster.”
But he loves what he does so much, we can’t wait to see what’s next for Jordan Roddy Engineering.
Illustrious company surrounded the XJR-15 in the supercar display at Motorclassica, but despite the F40, McLaren F1, Zonda, Countach, 959, Ford GT, Enzo, Carrera GT, XJ220 and M1 trying to steal the spotlight, Jordy’s leftfield Jag was surrounded by people and cameras.