Tristan Holmes' Jaguar XKR
by Alex Carroll
Have you ever looked at a Jaguar XKR and thought, "you know what, that is exactly what I am looking for?
That is exactly what Tristan Holmes thought. During our trip to VW Days, we caught up with him to grab some photos and ask him all about his journey with his XKR. Normally with this sort of thing, I'll send the owner a few questions for inspiration and then put my own take on the whole thing. This time however, Tris responded with the full story behind the car and who better to tell you all about it than the owner himself, so here is what he had to say.
After changing jobs I gained a substantial pay rise and my daily mileage took a huge drop, which got me thinking “what car can I buy that no one has modified yet?” In this day and age it is almost impossible to come up with an answer, but with many weeks of hard thinking and much deliberation; I finally settled on a Jaguar XK100.
Once I began researching them, I found lists as long as arm of terrifying faults and problems with them, but I still thought, “fuck it! Ima buy an XK.” So I looked up a local Jaguar dealer to see if I could test drive one and there was one literally at the end of my road (english things). On a sunny winter Sunday I went down with a friend in his 335D (as to not arouse suspicion of being under 50 years of age, at the time I still had my colour shift Skoda Fabia VRS) and as we pulled up, a gem of a midnight black Jaguar XKR was sitting right out front! I jumped into the plush ivory leather Recaros with the thick velour carpets and immediately I fell in love!
In high spirits I set off on a test drive, queue my spirits to be broken. It was a heap! Juddering brakes and more warning lights than @joshwaa_ lupo. Great. Eventually I convinced them to fix all the problems and even managed to get them to fit a quick silver straight through exhaust system because come on, it’s a supercharged V8!!!
Once all the problems had been fixed, I got the call. I drove the car off the forecourt and about 20miles into ownership, it broke down and went into limp mode. It was still a heap! Rusty rear arches and quarters, and fucking limp mode… apparently this is what it’s like to own a jag.
Shortly after I managed to fix up the little problems and get the car back to being useable. Now it was time to start researching and designing an air-ride kit for this beast. I spent ages looking for some coil overs that weren't £3000 and eventually found a Taiwanese company called ‘Phat Boy Brakes’ that made fully adjustable coil overs for it. A few emails back than forth to find out specs and dimensions, I came up with a plan to use OCD universal BAGS bellow bags in conjunction with the PB Brake coil overs. This meant quite a few unpaid hours at work machining plates up to adapt the coil over to fit the bags instead of springs.
One week in May 2017 I built all my bags up tested them to 150PSI and spent the next week fitting them, they were pretty dam perfect.
I spent the next couple of weeks driving around blissfully unaware of the impending doom that was about to occur. When attending a super car Sunday meet at Goodwood (as it was only down the road for me) I got as far as the Rolls-Royce roundabout when my rear right bag decided it didn’t want any air in it anymore. So there I was, suck in the middle of Supercar Sunday traffic three wheeling into Goodwood After a few cries and phone calls to my dad, he came down with my original bump stops, cable ties and some blocks of wood, which in the end formed my makeshift suspension to get me home.
After further inspection I realised that I had snapped the shock which is why it pissed all the air out. So unfortunately I was straight back on the Emails to PB... “can I have some new shocks pleaseeeeese?” The rear suspension setup V2 had to work as I had my car booked for Ricco rally and Districts a few weeks after. (Hey, that was our show!)
PB came good and my suspension worked perfectly! 2000miles around Europe no problems at all, then the next weekend a trip to ILB’s Districts in NI! Best part of 3000miles in less than 10 days on a completely untested never before done air suspension setup made in my garage!!! When I say it like that, it sounds ridiculous.
Fast forward to Ultimate Stance 2017 and the realisation that no one cares about a standard Jaguar on OEM 20inch BBS splits, also the realisation that I thought it looked boring - straight on eBay I went! “What wheels can I get than would look mental!? I know, some kind of three price 20inch wheels”... as it happened a set of battered Weds Kranze Bazreia on Polish eBay in completely the wrong sizes so obviously I pulled the trigger and hit Buy It Now and two weeks later they arrived.
After test fitting them on some blocks of wood as you do, using a wonky old tape measure I decided my new lip sizes and offsets praying to the car gods not to fuck me up. It took 5 months for them to be built, I decided the week before they were due, to get my ‘long ignored’ rust fixed, front, rear and arches resprayed by Paint Dynamix in Selsey who did a very good job of all the parts.
It was time for the big reveal, I took the Jag to the spring show as its first outing, scared shitless that my tyres were going to fall of as my ‘wheels guy’ filled me with loads of hope that they ‘might’ be ok or that I was going to get 12points for silly stretch. I digress, I pulled up at spring show to find everyone, literally everyone looking at the jag! Mental, I’ve never been so buzzed/scared in my life! It obviously went well as I came away with a prize for Best Wheels.
You may be surprised to hear, I got bored of it very quickly, I needed some more VIP in my life so I decided to make some Q45 style head lights. I’ve got a few plans to make it even more crazy including a Veilside Kit and Lambo doors so watch this space.
Massive thanks to Tris for giving the chance to shoot the car and for pretty much doing my job for me on the write-up side of things, if you've not seen this car in person you're missing out - it truly is ridiculous! Check out the gallery for all the images.
Oh, and those all important wheel specs -
Fronts 20x11J, ET -26 with 245/30
Rears 20x11.5j ET -23 with 255/30
Words: Alex Carroll & Tris Holmes
Photos: Alex Carroll
Location: Saint-Quentin, France