Long Wheelbase Jag + LS3 + Stick Shift = Perfection
Wild Cat

We recently had the chance to spend some time with one of the coolest Jaguars in the world, and in addition to having Mr. Larry Chen point his lenses at the V8-powered, manually-shifted XJ8 L, we also talked to its owner and builder to get a better idea of how this project originated and what makes it so special.

So without further ado, here’s Karl T. Muth to tell us more about his stunning Jag…


I’ve always liked this shape and generation of Jaguar XJ and I really think the newer cars have lost the nostalgia and Britishness that made these cars great. I wanted the last generation of steel car for the project, which is this generation (X308).


I found a car that was almost exactly what I wanted as a starting point for the project, except it had a sunroof (the car has since been swapped to a non-sunroof roof). I paid $1,201 for the XJ on eBay and picked it up from an elderly man who was the first owner and very apologetic that the fore-aft power adjust on the driver’s seat did not work.


The car had 72,000 miles and poor compression on cylinder #3; it was ripe for an engine rebuild, so I didn’t feel bad about my plan to get rid of the Jaguar’s 4-liter stock engine.

LS Power

I bought the car intending to do a swap and I was originally going to use a GM Performance LS3 376/525 crate motor, offering a reliable 525 horsepower out of the box.


I ended up modifying this engine with various Lingenfelter parts. Everything above (and including) the head gasket is ZR1, meaning the heads are LS9 items re-machined (three-angle valve job) for normally-aspirated performance (the LS9 is supercharged).


The engine also runs Lingenfelter’s GT 1-1 camshaft, titanium intake valves, sodium-filled exhaust valves, and lots of other upgraded hardware, reaching 575 horsepower on the bench normally-aspirated.


In the process of the swap, the car became significantly lighter (the Jaguar motor and ZF transmission were heavier than the LS3 and Tremec 6-speed), and the weight distribution also improved.


The LS sits nearly three inches back from where the Jaguar engine sat (block center to block center) and substantially lower.


Also, pushrod engines carry their weight far lower in the block (versus overhead cam designs), so the weight in the engine bay is located more advantageously. In a big sedan like this, every bit of weight savings and weight redistribution helps.


The engine is mated to a T-56 Magnum transmission with the shorter ‘road race’ gearing and an exposed shift gate.

Leather & Walnut

The engine’s vital signs are monitored through a Racepak digital unit set into the walnut dash.


I also replaced the front seats with Audi items and the entire interior was re-trimmed by Alea Leather, with diamond-quilted Alcantara centers.


However, the parts I love most about the car are the little touches.


The carbon fiber bullet mirrors from a Japanese-market Mazda MX-5 race car; the Aston Martin-style flush door handles; the motorcycle-style fuel filler cap and so forth.


The main use of the car is picking up clients at the airport, taking colleagues to meetings, and so on. It’s the first thing in my garage with four doors in a while.


Everyone who rides in it enjoys it immensely; even people who are not car enthusiasts know it’s something special.

For more on Karl’s build, and to get a glimpse of the car in action make sure check out this Smoking Tire video where Matt Farah and Karl take the beast for a spin through the canyons. It’s worth the watch for the sound alone.

Karl T. Muth

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Cutting Room Floor


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I was going to say "pfft another LS swap" then I realised.... this is pure gold! Totally love the engine cover and the "XJR 6.2 LITRE" and the shifter detail!


Wheels are not so good...
It should give us a sense of elegance that's what I think.


Damn that's cool. I've wanted to fool around with an XJ for years (even though dad worked for Jaguar years ago and would be horrified to see an LS in there:p). Super cool car and a great feature and photos.
Nice work guys


This is officially the coolest thing ever.


I love everything about that car EXCEPT the white lettering on the tires...I can't


This thing is so cooooool


This car sounded like the tits on the One Take. I personally wouldn't have used those wheels, but I do think they work with the car. Gated shifter for the win!


like the car, hate the wheels


a car that was featured on tst that's also featured on speedhunters? kinda unheard of tbh. pretty cool car.


awesomefearwave It was also on Petrolicious too. Seems like Karl like writing his own articles as well, ha!


I absolutely love the car!
I normally really like fifteen52 wheels, not sure if I 100% like these on this application though.
Some CR 2P wheels would look right at home!


awesomefearwave another one was the clarion bmw 2002


Finally a long feature on this car. I've seen it everywhere but not in-depth like this.
I love the execution and detail. The engine bay is exeptional and doesn't look like a motor swap at all. Just looks perfect.

I know everyone loves that gated shifter but i don't like how it's not flush. Obviously there are packaging concerns but I'd go with a leather boot. It's the only thing that doesn't look OEM.


Love everything about this, but I'm with the others the wheels are terrible. Like Kmart terrible. Don't car if they were on Hoonicorn.


Beastly! Just needs some cleaner wheels and tires, I'm sure performance wise they are perfect but they don't really look the part. Then again, this is not your average Jag! Kudos to the owner.


What's that engine cover? It looks awesome!


Watched the one take with Matt about a week ago. Really sweet Jag.


@Clay It's from a Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) in Australia.


Love it! But I will echo that the wheels don't suit. They aren't bad wheels, they just don't work on a Jag at all, especially built in this way(lux colour/interior/neat engine swap). And the white lettering on the tires also seems a bit off for this kind of car.


for the same kind of money, a stock S mercedes would be 150% better than this gold colored slammed ricer wheeled hacked engined car.


@Adam B how is the swap "hacked?" It looks OEM in there.


So much want! Perfection right there


KarlMuth You're welcome Karl, great work!


Great work, I like everything except for the interior perhaps. Not a big fan of quilting and would've preferred to see the original gauges. But the biggest no-no is the steering wheel. It's absolutely hideous.


it's perfect..wheels look amazing on it..soon much win


Individual and beautifully detailed spin on a LWB Jaguar (that's jag-you-are by the way not jarg-wah...) but i'm owed 15mins of my day by somebody after watching that dreary vid. Oh, and Statham would have a Brooklands Green blown 'John Steed' two door before he sneezed on an LS1. Fact.


Vee12V  Wow, you're really dishing it up aren't you? Not a fan of the steering wheel either, but I reserve judgement until I see it in the flesh. Also, a machined gated shifter = hall pass.
What's the Wilwood component in the engine bay?


That's rather good isn't it?

I'm all in favour of the wheels, too. It's the contrast between the elegance of the body and the ruggedness (but not too rugged) of the wheels that makes the look, imo… that, and the superb build quality throughout. 

With "elegant" wheels there would be no bite to it, it would just have been a nice clean Jag sleeper. And if he wanted to build a sleeper he would have built a sleeper, right?


SachaAlbarda Vee12V It's an adjustable brake master assembly.



That is amazing.  So amazing.  I want to own this (admittedly in a different color) today.  So good.


matthewyaa Nah they fit the bill perfectly.  You're just wrong.


Now that's badass! Love the color, wheel choice and most def the LS3/9 power plant combo.


best, jaguar, ever!


Really nice. But change the wheels.


KarlMuth SachaAlbarda Vee12V  No it's not.
It's p.i.m.p.


I love the color, I love the wheels, I love the engine, I love it all. well, I don't love the interior, but I don't hate it either. But the thing I noticed first? The door handles. such a small thing, but so classy, and more reliable than shaved handles.


Bad f***ing ass!


shut the Fuck up with that!!! Im a puriest and im impressed with this..... You estupid!!! Lmao


Spaghetti It's funny, to me those touches make the car. The white lettering is almost needed to draw attention to the fact that those are semislick tires, not any boring all-seasons. Similarly I like the wheels because they don't quite suit the car and they give a hint that this thing might be fast.


That is awesome! Wicked build!!


While you have the right to call this perfection I reserve the right to have an opinion about this vehicle being perfection only in the owners eyes and if going crazy with a large amount of money is the end goal. I like how it is a Jag and the interior is great, as the video on it from The Smoking Tyre (or whomever did a video feature on it) highlights. Wheel choice and shaved handles are owners choice. However if I had a lesser budget but had a similar role - picking clients up from airports etc, being a good host blah blah blah - which is pretty cool for a car guy/girl - then I'd probably go with an old Merc or pre-Lexus oldschool Toyota (Crown, Cressida, or even a Century) with a 3sge or 1uz-fe. Yakuza/JDM cool. I have to say though that LS swaps into Jaguar is cool and not a new thing, I recall seeing an old XJS which came with a v12 as standard with a GM 8 replacing it.


John Key NZ That's nice. 
Clearly though, this isn't old mates (the owner/builders) 1st rodeo.
While it might not be your perfect combo for a modified large sedan, IT IS a perfectly well executed, tasteful, and thoughtful build, and comments like your own do nothing to detract from that.
Though they do allude to the possibility that you may (for whatever reason) be a little less experienced car builder than the owner of this Jag.


What a colossal waste of time and money when all you need to do is buy a used 2000 XJR and install a slightly smaller pulley on the blower and you can just smoke the tires at will...


Its kinda of obvious that money wasnt an issue so waisting money isnt a relative term for this guy. And this build was an obivious test to himself for creativity in design and engineering, soooooooo......... Your solution/input has no relevance.


incredible car - although I kinda prefer the newer Jag's (the XFR especially) - as far as the loss of the "British look", I respect that opinion, I've just lost sight of cars looking like any country of origin - I'm more interesting in proper proportions, which many modern cars seem to ruin


That would defeat the point. Why would you go big power if any mechanical failure would total the car? Jag parts are expensive. This drivetrain is bulletproof.
The interior makes it pretty clear he had a vision for each corner of the car, and wasn't trying to leave things untouched. It was purchased as a clean slate, and he made it what he wanted.
Your idea is great if you want to change as little as possible, but thats not what this car is about


Sounds like you don't really understand what you're looking at. The wheels and shift gate are the only "loud" touches on it


Yeah I think he had to make a tough call between making a custom section of bezel that might look weird or making it so it didn't take up too much space. Love the look, but unfortunately the install has to work around existing interior. I bet it would sit almost flush in a newer corvette


Love the HSV engine cover.


I love this car, the video of Karl and Matt Farah is worth watchin several times, I think it's funny and goes to show that (some peoples kids) need to keep their mouths shut, who cares if you think this project was a waste of money, Karl is a car connoisseur with the necessary means to live up to that definition, thanks for sharing Karl.


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throughout all of this and the youtube video.....I have yet to find out the year of this car....unless I missed that somewhere.......would love to get ahold of the owner and get some info as I have questions about my upcoming build.....do they make a custom insert for that "racepak" he has mounted in dash, where did he order his kit from, where he got the door handles from,etc...if anybody has answers,please let me know


hi you haf swap for xkr 2007 ls3 ?