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.

Project Utah’s engine is now all but complete and will soon be hoisted – gingerly, very, very gingerly – into position. The decision to select a Toyota 2JZ for this task was taken early on in the build, and for a number of different reasons. First up there’s the ample parts supply available, a legacy of the 2JZ having been at the sharp-end of the tuning scene for the best part of thirty years.

Another reason for selecting the 2JZ was its six-cylinder arrangement, the same layout as Jaguar’s famed XK6 and an engine we did briefly consider using, yet ultimately decided to eschew for reasons of reliability. In any case the addition of various billet and anodised ancillaries (not to mention Jenvey’s stunning DCOE-aping Heritage throttle bodies) has helped lend this nineties motor an unashamedly old school look, one we feel is wholly in-keeping with the car in which it will soon reside.

Make sure to keep up to speed with this rapidly progressing build via our social media platforms and YouTube channel, the latest episode of which can be viewed below. 

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