It isn’t widely known that in the late 1980s Paolo Gucci, the former design director of Gucci, worked with British coachbuilder Lynx to create a limited run of 20 Jaguar XJS shooting brakes.
The car you see here was the first prototype. It started life as a Lynx Eventer, the company’s shooting brake version of the XJS V12. Paolo Gucci lavished it with fine details throughout including blue lacquered burr elm woodwork, Italian calfskin upholstery, semi-precious lapis lazuli stones, and much more.
Fast Facts – The Jaguar XJS V12 By Paolo Gucci
- The Jaguar XJS was released in 1975 as the successor (of sorts) to the Jaguar E-Type. In 1982 the British coachbuilding and customization company Lynx developed their own shooting brake version of the XJS.
- The car was called the Lynx Eventer, it had a classic shooting brake design with two doors and the estate car rear end – a design originally conceived so that gentleman hunters could lay out their guns while on a hunt.
- Paolo Gucci, the former design director of Gucci was living in the UK in the 1980s with his English wife. He obviously liked the Lynx Eventer because he worked with the company to create his own “Gucci” version.
- The original plan was to build 20 and sell them for £100,000 apiece. The first prototype was completed and shown to the world at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show, but Gucci sent in the lawyers and shut the project down within 24 hours.
By all accounts Paolo Gucci was a larger than life figure, a charismatic Italian man with an eye for both style and quality. He was well-suited to his role as design director and vice-president of Gucci – roles that he filled for 20 years.
“After 20 years as design director and product co-ordinator of Gucci, I am now bringing my knowledge and talent to a wider spectrum of the consumer market.”
“Now, designing entirely under my own name, I intend adding my personality and style. I hope with my ‘Firenze’ tradition, my zest, enthusiasm and dedication to quality, to continue to present the finest design to discerning consumers.” – Paolo Gucci
In 1977 after the breakdown of his first marriage, Paolo Gucci married British socialite Jenny Garwood with whom he would have two children. He spent much of his time in the UK and this is likely where he first saw the Lynx Eventer after it was publicly released in 1982.
Within a few years he would be working on his own version of the Eventer, a “Paolo Gucci” version, that was planned to be produced in a series of 20 with a £100,000 price tag.
He was no longer officially working for Gucci at this time, and so when the car was unveiled at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show Gucci’s lawyers wasted no time getting the project shut down.
Within 24 hours all the Gucci branding on the car had been removed, and it was rebranded with the original Lynx logos. Sadly the planned production run never materialized, for perhaps obvious reasons, and Paolo moved onto other things.
The car was later sold to David Andrew Richards but it seems to have remained close to Paolo Gucci’s heart, as in later years he tried to buy it back.
The Lynx Eventer
Founded in 1968, Lynx was originally conceived as a repair and tuning shop that would specialize in the Jaguar C-Type and the Jaguar D-Type.
With the reputation established the company developed its own take on the D-Type, that would be built using more modern E-Type running gear. This car would be released in 1975 and named the Lynx D-Type.
These Lynx D-Types are now worth a hefty sum and are considered classics in their own right.
After the release of the Jaguar XJS in 1975 the team at Lynx filled a gap in the market by offering a convertible version – something Jaguar wasn’t offering at the time. Later when it became clear that Jaguar was going to release their own open top version Lynx unveiled the Eventer – a modern shooting brake.
The elegant styling of the Lynx Eventer has long been admired, some consider it to be better looking than the standard XJs on which it’s based, and the car proved immediately popular with all the right kinds of people. One of whom was a certain Mr Paolo Gucci whose story is told above.
Today the many surviving Lynx Eventers make popular daily drivable classics for those who can afford them. I doubt many are still used for hunting purposes but you really never know.
The Paolo Gucci Jaguar XJS Shown Here
The car you see here is the one and only Paolo Gucci XJS. As mentioned further up this car was the prototype of a planned 20 car production run, which each car being styled by former design director of Gucci, Paolo Gucci.
The slew of changes made to this car include blue lacquered burr elm woodwork with inlaid chevron cross banding, modified instruments, hand-dyed Italian calfskin upholstery, crocodile effect leather on the armrests, blue-stained ash door handles, and an Alcantara suede headlining.
The steering wheel features hand-stitched leather and it’s inlaid with semi-precious lapis lazuli stones, these stones are also inlaid in the gear knob. The car was completed with a one-off woven Jaguar motif in the carpeted boot.
After its tumultuous early life at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show where it drew the ire of the Gucci legal department, this car was sold into private hands. As mentioned further up, Paolo Gucci himself would later try to buy it back for his own personal use.
It’s now due to roll across the auction block with Bonhams on the 24th of June with a price guide of £70,000 – £100,000, or approximately $86,200 – $123,100 USD. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.