A LeMans XJ200 photographed for Sotheby's auctoion house in Tokyo, Japan

Photographing a Jaguar XJ220 LM for Sotheby’s

The great thing about this work is that no two days are ever the same. And, some are truly unique. This was one of those.

Japan is a funny old place when it comes to cars. You can be walking the backstreets of Tokyo or driving out in the middle of nowhere in the countryside and bump into an amazing automotive find. And there are a lot of true car connoisseurs in Japan. So, sometimes you get a call or an email from an auction house and life takes a truly unique turn as you head off to meet a collector and shoot their car.

Unique car, unique owner

The XJ220 is a special car. The LM (Le Mans) version is up there in rarified air. Of the few that survive, the No.52 car is one with amazing race heritage and great provenance. Each car has a character of its own. And each owner has a character of their own, too. We can never say much about the owners. There are so many photos which we can’t show. All of this is because these folks are often very private people.

Using a motorway service area to give us a circuit feel

A lot of our work is al about making best use of what we have to hand. Improvising. Using a little imagination to make one thing look a but like another. So it was with a shooting the XJ220. The owner has a garage. It’s ok but it’s not big. Similarly, his little showroom/gallery above the garage wasn’t really big enough or suitable for our needs.

If you own a Le Mans Jaguar, you usually have mechanics. And a trailer. Both of which this owner had. And we decided that the best thing to do was to head to the closest service area on the nearest motorway (Misato SA on the Joban Expressway) and get what we could there.

Misato has a big car park. And on Saturday afternoon the truck area of the car park always tends to be quieter. Evenings and weekday evenings in particular are when the place is chokka-blok.

Et voila, we had our ‘race circuit looking’ area.

The noise!!

Bonus being that we had a pit crew and they got the car running nicely so, after all the stills were shot, we had a bit of a blast around the car park. A treat for me and my eldest son, who helped me for the day. And something of a unicorn moment for all the people at the service area.

Here’s a couple of videos. Thought it’d be nice for you guys to share in the wonder of a Le Mans XJ at the motorway services!

Getting the XJ220 LM started and off of the trailer
The No.52 XJ220 LM driving at a motorway service area near Tokyo Japan
The No.52 XJ220 LM driving at a motorway service area near Tokyo Japan

A few stills from the shoot

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