Lot 40
1978 Jaguar XJS 'Cannonball'



• Winner of the 1979 Cannonball Run
• Held the record for Cannonball Run for over 28 years
• Featured on Discovery Channel’s Fast N’ Loud

5.3-litre V-12 engine, GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive; wheelbase: 102”

This particular car is more than a patinaed 1978 Jaguar XJS. It is a time capsule, a one-of-a-kind piece of history and represents an opportunity that is unlikely to come again. For those who haven’t heard of Cannonball Run, it was a celebrated car race that ran from the east to the west coast of the United States. The fastest transcontinental record, which was held for over 28 years, was set by this very car by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough in 32 hours and 51 minutes. They traversed the country at an average speed of 86.7 miles per hour from Darien, Connecticut to Redondo Beach, California. The duo, and their 1978 Jaguar JS 2-Door Sedan, have deservedly garnered hero status for generations of Cannonball enthusiasts. A historic piece of machinery, this car passed out of all knowledge for decades. Multiple XJS owners speculated that they had found the actual Cannonball Run Winner, to no avail. Then, and this is where the story takes on a dimension so crazy Hollywood couldn’t make it up, Richard Rawlings, star of the Discovery Channel’s Fast N’ Loud, uncovered the original XJS in a junkyard. Confirmation was made by the engraved Cannonball Run plates on the dash and Rawlings made a deal. This very car and its drivers had been Rawlings’ idols from an early age. In fact, Rawlings himself, along with his co-driver Dennis Collins, were the team to finally best the world record in 31 hours and 59 minutes with a Ferrari 550 in 2007. For the uncovered treasure to end up in his hands was kismet and his producers agreed. The legendary XJS was featured on his TV show Fast N’ Loud. Other than a new set of tires, the iconic champion is in all-original condition.

As for the model itself, the Jaguar XJS premiered in 1975 with a 5.3-litre V-12 engine that went 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and had a top speed of 143 mph. By 1978, the automatic transmission had been upgraded to a GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400. The car was known for its “flying buttress” rear, which became the popular model’s most distinguishing feature. This example retains the original V-12 engine and chassis. Dressed in heavily patinaed black exterior with worn tan leather interior, the former victor has seen better days. When new, the car featured air-conditioning as well as power steering, power brakes, power locks and power windows. Today, very few of these amenities are functioning. Richard Rawlings is relinquishing ownership of the Jaguar only to allow someone the coveted chance to return this symbol of the open road to its former glory. With only 68,281 miles on the odometer, as well as reportedly matching numbers on the chassis, body and engine, this all-original slice of automotive history is a rare opportunity for any Jaguar or Cannonball enthusiast.

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