Who said Jaguar is a stodgy old British company? If you did, this factory-custom 1984 XJ6 Series 3 they just turned out should dispel that notion. And if that’s not enough, look who they made it for: Nicko McBrain. Yes, that Nicko McBrain, the drummer for Iron Maiden. That doesn’t sound all that stodgy, now does it?
Full disclosure here: I’m not much of an Iron Maiden fan. It’s not that I dislike them, it’s just that if I’m in the mood for some British heavy metal, my tastes run more toward Motorhead [Killed By Death currently playing]. I’ve always thought the guys in Iron Maiden seem like good blokes, and seeing the drummer’s taste in cars just confirms that.
The Jag in question was made to kick off the XJ’s 50th anniversary celebrations for 2018 and was rolled out at the Geneva International Motor Show. And, for a car customized for a metal drummer, it’s pretty tastefully done.
The bespoke commission was a collaboration between McBrain (great heavy metal name, that), the engineers and craftsmen from Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, and Jaguar Design Studio Director Wayne Burgess. From start to finish, the project encompassed more than 3,500 man hours of work and more than 4,000 parts refinished, replaced, or redesigned. By the time they were finished, the XJ had considerable modifications to the exterior, interior, drivetrain, and suspension.
Modifications & Treatments
Let’s run this down, shall we? For starters, there are unique front and rear bumpers that blend into the modded fenders. Also note the bespoke chrome brightwork and flush-fit US side markers – a nice touch (the car is full of them). Those fenders were flared and re-profiled, front and back, so the wheel arches can fit those beefy, custom-made 18-inch wire wheels fitted with 235/45 R18 Pirelli P Zero tires. The door sills are unique and the rear door pressings were modified. The suspension was upgraded with adjustable rear dampers.
The paint color is unique to this car, a mauve that comes across like a very dark purple/blue. See what I mean, rather restrain and understated for a heavy metal drummer? Jag also went the subtle route by using door handles from the Series 2 XJ, but they also added bullet rearview mirrors. The headlights are also modern LED deals with Halo daytime running lights. Jag even recessed the twin fuel fillers, a nice hot rod touch. Other modern niceties include the door sealing and additional sound deadening materials.
Of course the interior has been seriously gone through, but still just as restrained as the exterior. The leather seats are hand-trimmed in Pimento Red with black piping and embossed head rests, black hand-crafted carpet lines the floor, and Alcantara headlining finishes off the trimmings. The dashboard features Dark Grey stained Sycamore veneers – the preferred material for Nicko’s favorite snare drums – another nice touch.
There is a custom audio system with USB connectivity and machined aluminum amplifier-style control knobs (they look like Marshalls t’me). That audio system is an Alpine touchscreen-controlled piece that cranks out over 1,000 watts! Other sentiments of Nicko’s “day job” include drum kit inspired pedals, finished in chrome and black, and a three-spoke steering wheel featuring his unique mascot “Eddie Growler.”
Power comes from the classic Jag 4.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine rigged with three two-inch SU carburetors from an E-type, and machined quad-exhaust tail pipes.
Honestly, what’s not to like?
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.