Hillclimb sprints, retro parties and Le Mans racers will star at Shelsley Walsh as the International XK Club celebrates Jaguar’s iconic engine

The International XK Club will hold a ‘Jaguar Festival’ to celebrate 70 years of the marque’s XK engine. It hopes the event will attract over 700 cars.

The XK70 celebration will take place at the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb over the weekend of June 9-10, and will feature competitive hillclimb sprints, displays, special guests and a party to mark the anniversary.

First introduced in 1948 with the debut of the XK120 at the Earls Court Motor Show, the long-serving XK engine featured in almost all Jaguars produced over the next 40 years.

During its lifetime the XK unit appeared in Mk2 saloons, the and the XJ6 saloon, with over 30,000 produced overall and around 60% of those exported.

Notably, the XK engine was used in the subsequent XK140 and XK150 models, and for also taking Jaguar C-types and D-types to six wins in the Le Mans 24-hours.

XK70 Jaguar Festival to celebrate engine

It is hoped that over 700 XK-powered cars will gather at XK70, setting a world record. Attendees will also be able to enjoy a 1948 ‘Mess Tent’ party, forum, dinners and live music.

Confirmed guests include Peter Sargent. He and fellow British privateer, the late Peter Lumsden, shared two E-types during the 1960s: 898 BYR, a very early production roadster in which they finished fifth at Le Mans in 1962, and 49 FXN, the famous low-drag Lightweight.

The latter car ran at the French endurance race in 1964 and was modified by Finnish aerodynamics ace Dr Samir Klat; both he and the car will also attend XK70. Also expected is Peter Sutcliffe, who raced a D-type before acquiring a Lightweight E-type in 1963. Sutcliffe later went on to race a Ferrari 250GTO and a GT40 at Le Mans.

Philip Porter, who founded the UK-based International XK Club in 1997, said: ‘It is our intention to celebrate this landmark in suitable style.

‘We had 600 XKs at our XK60 event in 2008. Our aim is to exceed that and reach 700 for XK70. All XK120s, 140s and 150s are eligible, together with their derivatives the C-types and D-types, plus XK-engined cars and all Jaguar sports cars.

‘I know how successful XK60 was, and XK70 looks to be even better!’

For more information, visit the XK70 website here and the International XK Club website here.