We’ve always found it exceptionally difficult to resist the allure of a classic Jaguar, particularly a classic Jaguar built along restomod lines, which is why we at Retropower jumped at the opportunity to put our ‘spin’ on a Mk2 when it arose in the autumn of 2019.
Why the Mk2? Well aside from it being the car the instigator and funder of the project desired, we all agreed that its timeless lines gave us massive scope to bring about sweeping (yet in-keeping) bodywork alterations, performances enhancements and chassis revisions. In short, both we and the eventual recipient of the completed car recognised that the Mk2 Jaguar had immense potential from a restomod perspective, and as such we embraced both the car and the concept with gusto.
Just over a year on from the conception of Project Utah (a name selected as a nod to Jaguar’s original, in-house prototype designation for the Mk2), and our Mk2 base has been transformed. Stu’s unparalleled panel-beating and general metal whispering abilities were brought to bear on the Mk2’s iconic lines, and the dozens of subtle yet wholly in-keeping changes are the result.
Perhaps the most noticeable (not to mention divisive) deviation from the norm are the rear wheel spats, both painstakingly shaped by Stu over the course of several weeks and secured via a pair of clips of our own design. These ensure that the spats can be removed easily and swiftly – though we must admit to being very taken with them in situ, largely as they completely transform the overall appearance of the big Jag.
Utah’s metalwork phase was complete come the end of August 2020, whereupon it was wheeled to the bodywork treatment area for coats of zinc (an anti-corrosion treatment), epoxy, sprayable polyester, Raptor (another rust inhibitor), and finally, paint – hence the coat of Aston Martin California Sage the shell now sports.
Since being painted and wheeled into our Assembly Hall Project Utah has undergone something of a transformation. The last 12 months have seen the project make key strides towards completion, and as such its engine – a naturally aspirated variant of the iconic Toyota 2JZ inline six cylinder – has been bolted into position, then shod with a trio of Jenvey’s stunning DCOE-aping Heritage throttle bodies.
Project Utah has since been dyno tested and found to make a none-too-shabby 252bhp, a figure wholly in-keeping with the understated appearance and ethos of the car as a whole.
Running gear fitted and fettled we’ve turned out attention to Utah’s interior, an environment now dominated by lashings of hydro-dipped aluminium, much of it carefully fabricated from scratch by Stu in the metalwork phase of the build. Other interior additions include plenty of high quality, tobacco coloured leather, not to mention the usual billet custom tweaks our interiors have come to be known for.
Now completed and in the hands of its new owner, Project Utah stands apart as one of the most challenging, and at the same time rewarding, ‘builds’ to have passed through the Retropower ‘works.’ We believe we have achieved all we set out to with this project, namely a reworking of a timeless classic but with one eye firmly fixed on the fundamentals – the things that have made the Mk2 Jaguar such an automotive icon – easily one of the most beloved of all Browns Lane creations. We hope that you concur.