LOW BUDGET CIGAR CABINET - Jaguar XJ40 Sovereign 1989

Sami Vilamaa was eating kebab, when his friends urged him to buy this Jaguar on an impulse. What can you do in a situation like that, other than buy yourself a Jaguar Sovereign? Not long after that fateful meal Sami was catching trophies left and right, in Finland and abroad.

Jaguars are not very popular tuning projects, especially in Finland. Maybe that's because they are often riddled with electrical issues and the suspension setups are not very tuner friendly. The engine bay houses a four-liter, six-cyliner inline engine that produces 223 horsepower. Sami Vilamaa from Kouvola bought this car, when he and his friends were just speaking and tossing ideas around whilst eating Turkish cuisine. They found this awesome Sovereign online, and Sami called the seller on a whim.
The car was more or less in drivable condition, which was good enough. Sami's friends can be quite persuasive, and so he bought the car pretty much the second he saw it. It was sunday, and the car was not in register, so Sami had to take the next day off work, so he could go to the nearest inspection center first thing in the morning and get transfer plates. That way he could drive the car home. This 200km trip home was the only time Sami drove the car himself, as it would turn out.
After Sami go the car home safely, he hoisted it up so that he could inspect it thoroughly. The first thing in his mind, when looking at the stock suspension, was ”what the hell? Why?” It was clear that the stock suspension was not suitable for modifications, and it's functionality and adequataness were highly debatable. The car had been paid and the decision to build a Jag with an air suspension had been made, however. This was just an obtacle called bad engineering, and there's always a way around that. To the drawing board!
Sami measured the space in the wheel well, and calculated that 10x17” ET15 would be the optimal wheel size in the rear, where as the front would house 8.5x17”. He called his friend and asked for a wheel set in those dimensions. His friend had either OZ Breytons or Fittipaldis. As you can see, Sami chose the Breytons, and a damn good choice that was.
The rear suspension caused headaches, since both the strut and the spring are very short, and they are bundled together. The first attempt to improve this was done with Chapman-struts, but they proved to be too frail for a car this massive. Sami then decided to relocate the strut into the other side of the support arm altogether. The space for this was very cramped, since it's directly under the gas tank now, and thus needed some ingenious solutions. The bags are located in stock spring locations, however. The front suspension is done with modified Saab 900 struts. For this to work properly, the front sway bar was relocated forwards by 10mm.
After a ton of grinding and welding the suspension was ready, and the car was ready for the road. At this point Sami had lost his driver's license due to a small speeding mishap, so the maiden voyage of Jaguar was executed by Sami's friend. The destination of this trip was Tallinn, Estonia, where the car won the ”Best Bagged” award and an enermous pile of beer. Next weekend the car won People's Choice award in CDLC Big Meet in Jämijärvi, Finland. After a few weeks of sitting on the backseat of his own car, Sami put the car on sale. The car sold pretty quickly, and Sami got his license back a day after that. He never got to drive the car he built, then. But is it always necessary? Sitting on the backseat of a car like this is an experience in itself. Smoking cigars like a world class businessman while your good friend drives you where you need to go? Sounds like good times to me.



Jaguar XJ40 Sovereign 1989


Stock 4.0 I6


Automatic transmission (ZF 4HP24) and limited slip differential


Self made air suspension, Universal Air bags and modified Saab 900 shock absorbers in the front, Slam Specialties bags with generic struts in the rear (relocated), suspension control with electronic valves, ViAir 444c compressor, self made air pressure display


Stock brakes with Jaguar hydraulic brake servo booster system


OZ Breyton 8.5x17” in the front and 10x17” in the rear


Nankang 215/45/17” in the front and 235/40/17” in the rear


Lots of angle grinder and welding machine


Storm Trooper gear knob, wooden steering wheel


Original ”6-speaker system”, which is located in the engine bay


223hp and 400Nm


A new project


Lowtoys, ebay.co.uk, friends