Sale of the Week

This Jaguar F-Type Project 7's rarity didn't translate to added value

by Eddy Eckart
3 June 2023 3 min read
Collecting Cars

A European marque famous for its racing prowess launches a special, limited-edition run of its flagship sports car to celebrate their history. Journalists wax on about the car’s personality. Destined to be instant collector’s items, the cars sell out immediately. Eight years on, amidst a strong market and other factory specials from the era selling at a premium, this car is now… less valuable than when it debuted? That’s the current state of affairs for the Jaguar F-Type Project 7, as witnessed by this example, which just sold on Collecting Cars for £105,000 (about $131,000) before fees.

The Project 7’s story begins with a bit of history. In the early postwar era, before Ford and Porsche left their own indelible marks on Le Mans, Jaguar built its reputation at the storied 24-hour race. Five overall wins in the 1950s for the Coventry brand yielded a performance identity that carried on for decades. Victories in 1988 and 1990 with the ferocious, purple Silk-Cut-liveried XJR-9 LM and XJR-12 LM carried that performance torch into a new era.

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Come 2013, however, Jaguar’s identity as a performance luxury brand was no longer as clear as it once was, though the introduction of the F-Type certainly helped. In an effort to remind buyers of its rich past and celebrate those seven wins at Le Mans, the F-Type Project 7 concept debuted at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Blending new F-Type charisma with old D-Type styling cues, the Project 7’s coming out went off about as you’d expect. Would-be buyers lined up immediately, and what was initially just a marketing exercise turned into a limited run of 250 cars.

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Period reviews lauded the Project 7 for its amplified character and 575-hp V-8 (a 25-horse increase over the base V-8) while at the same time highlighting that it could be a bit of a handful to drive quickly. Alongside the added power, tweaks to the springs, dampers, and sway bars enhanced the car’s capabilities. The Project 7 lost nearly 190 lbs from the standard V-8-powered convertible, thanks in part to a skimpy manual roof that is more for passing showers than regular closed-top driving. A 4.5-inch shorter windscreen, fairing behind the driver, and number roundels on the doors helped associate the Project 7 with Jaguar’s history.

With bountiful personality and low production numbers, not to mention a still-strong collector market, the decline in the Project 7’s value may come as a surprise. Changing hands at nearly $131,000 before fees, this clean 2015 example is well-appointed, has been regularly serviced, and appears to be in good condition, though at 3387 miles it has been driven more than most others we’ve seen come to auction. Given that pricing for these cars began at $165,995 when new, this sale represents a significant discount.

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It’s not alone, either: In the last two years, four of the six Project 7s sold on Bring a Trailer have transacted for under their original sticker price, with others in European auctions befalling similar outcomes.

Contrast that with another low-windshield, limited edition inspired by the past: the 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster. 356 were made, and when new they had a starting price of $204,950. Now, these Speedsters boast a Price Guide #2 condition value of $379,000 and consistently fetch well north of their original sticker.

What gives? Is the Project 7’s heritage play to the middle of the last century a bit too much of a reach for today’s buyers? It’s possible, but past trajectories of other cars offer market-based clues to the Project 7’s valuation behavior.

It could be that the market is still deciding how to contextualize the Project 7 and what it means relative to other collector Jags and limited-edition models. This isn’t unique: Ferrari’s 550 Barchetta Pininfarina has seen more value upside than the Project 7, but the market hasn’t yet figured out where it fits in the Ferrari pantheon, as witnessed by its significant price fluctuation.

It may also simply be a matter of time and perspective. The BMW 507’s trek to blue-chip status shows that rare cars occasionally take time to be recognized, and though the Project 7’s future may not be that lofty, brighter days may be ahead for it as well. Jaguar has announced that the F-Type will be discontinued after 2024, leaving the marque without a sports car. With an increasingly electrified and SUV-filled lineup, enthusiasts may well look back at the F-Type and its performance iterations, particularly the Project 7, as the characterful swan song of Jaguar’s performance past. Till then, in the realm of limited-run modern sports cars, they remain comparatively affordable.

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  • Gary Bechtold says:

    It’s too soon for this vehicle. It’s a less practical version of a not terribly practical car. It isn’t that much more special and it isn’t any better looking. Later on when Jag’s are all electric toaster cars like this will find it’s secondary market.

  • paul s murray says:

    It might be that this car has something of an identity crisis. You have to go back to the early 2000s to find Jaguar competing in racing, Jaguar’s (Ford) Formula 1 effort and in the Trans Am series. If F types were mixing up on the track it might be a different story. As it stands painting gumballs on the doors doesn’t directly relate to a performance pedigree. But maybe Jaguar is now making the smart choice with being in Formula-e. While many can’t imagine a performance car that lacks ‘ track mode ‘ rumble it’s surprising what you become accustomed too over time. The only other thing is that the F is one of only a handful of cars that I can think of that is better looking as a coupe than a convertible. Still I wouldn’t really mind being forced to showing up in Monaco driving one .

  • kevin thomas says:

    The stripe, and especially the roundels, make it a “no” for me. Upon further reflection, add the wing and the headrest fairing to that list. I’ll take a regular F-type, thanks.

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