The story of JPR Cars and the Wildcat by STEVE HOLE

An interesting kitcar company from the eighties founded by Jon Randall. He’d worked at Dutton Cars for three years in the early seventies before travelling the world, spending several years in Australia where he worked for a kit car company.

When he returned to the UK, in the early eighties, he set up JPR Cars (the company name coming from his initials – Jon Paul Randall) basing himself in the Supershell Building at Goodwood circuit, formerly occupied by Alan Langridge’s kit manufacturing operation, incidentally.

Randall was a fan of the E-type and so launched the Wildcat, not a replica of Jaguar’s legendary car but more than a passable interpretation. Body mould was taken from an original Jaguar although was 8in wider at the rear, to accommodate a Ford live axle. Initially based on Ford Cortina mechanicals, later options included the Jaguar XJ6 (inevitably), from 1991, Ford Sierra and a Mustang Pinto version for the American market. A chap called Terry Land assisted with the chassis development and worked for John for several years.

About 140 Wildcats were sold between 1985-1996

A couple of years after the original Wildcat came the 2+2 version that enabled carriage of small people on the rear bench or made passage easier for taller drivers as the car was lengthened by 9in (4½ in of which was in the doors the other 4½in in rear body section).

Approximately twenty of these were made.

In 1991, Jon became an agent for the Dutch Van Clee Citroën Mehari-inspired after the hitherto Belfast-based UK importer had gone under.

Also in 1991, Jon Randall was commissioned by an American customer to create a JPR version of the famous Lindner Nocker Lightweight E-type.

He later offered the result for commercial kit sale and made three standard-length cars and two 2+2s.

Jon’s GRP bodies were produced by Mako Fibreglass, run by Mike Rutherfoord – apart from Dutton and Pilgrim – he produced most of the kitcar bodies that were produced in Sussex – and when he couldn’t test his cars at Goodwood, he’d go along to Mike’s base at the old RAF Tangmere site, where I did a couple of JPR tests over the years. The surface of the concrete was a bit sketchy although moving forwards 37 years it got me used to the standard of our roads in 2023!

JPR became agent for the American company that brought their SL kit to Stoneleigh in 1992

A Wildcat devised for the American market complete with Mustang engine

In mid-1996, Jon brought the JPR shutters down for the last time. Partly due to Goodwood wanting their Supershell Building back. These days it’s become a real focal point for the reborn Goodwood, courtesy of the annual Revival and Members Meetings and it always makes me smile when I see it.

It is one of the landmarks of Goodwood sitting pretty on the outside of Woodcote Corner. These days it’s used as a corporate meeting venue. I wonder if they have managed to get rid of the distinctive and heady aroma of glassfibre.