In 2010, Jaguar was making tentative steps towards revamping its traditionally old-fashioned aesthetic with cars like the X351 XJ and the first-generation XF. And then, at the Paris Motor Show, it took a giant leap forward with the X-375 prototype.
This wasn’t a Jag that looked to the past - it had its sights firmly set on the future. Way in the future. We’re not just talking about the dramatic looks - under all that was an unusual powerplant comprising four motors and diesel-fed gas turbines to recharge them. A pipe and slippers kind of Jaguar this was not.
Nor was the C-X75 purely around to draw attention to the company’s show stand. Jaguar was serious about putting it into limited production and made a few developmental prototypes. These ditched the gas turbines for a 1.6-litre twin-charged engine dropped the motor count from four to two, but the ‘75 was still set to be a supercar like another.
The suits got cold feet thanks to the economic climate at the time, so the C-X75 never went further. Except, it kind of did. It was chosen to appear in Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, to be driven by baddie Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista).
Suddenly, Jaguar needed to build a small batch of C-X75s, for which it received assistance from Williams Advanced Engineering, the F1 team offshoot that has played a key role in the prototypes. The rolling props looked much the same as the real C-X75, but under the skin they were unrelated.
The composite bodywork (complete with dihedral doors and a vast rear clamshell) hides a robust tubular steel space frame chassis. The suspension was lifted from a Porsche 911 GT3 rally car because these things needed to be clattering down sets of stairs in Vatican City with Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 giving chase.
Mounted in the middle was a 542bhp supercharged Jaguar V8, with the torque limited in some gears to stop the car from being quite so snappy, and to prevent the eating of driveshafts. The stunt cars were designed to be as easy to drift as possible, and just in case that V8 didn’t get the job done, there was a hydraulic handbrake.
Sound like fun? It’s currently possible to buy one of the six Spectre C-X75s. Chassis number 007 (see what they did there?) was sold to the current owner by Jaguar Land Rover after production wrapped, and is said to have been serviced by JLR Classic Works not so long ago.
There is a catch, though. Several hundred thousand catches, in fact. It’s currently listed for sale on Pistonheads for £864,000. It’s hard to say if it is indeed worth that much - another came up for auction in Abu Dhabi with an upper estimate of $1.2 million (£900,000), but it didn’t sell. Another C-X75 Spectre car cropped up at a dealer in Nottingham prior to that, but the price wasn’t publicly disclosed.