Nicko McBrain is best known as the drummer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate the powerful elegance of a Jaguar XKR-S.

While you or I might already describe the XKR-S are being a little ‘brash’ for a Jaguar, most of us haven’t spent the past 40 years producing some of the loudest and heaviest metal ever played. So when McBrain ordered the in-your-face XKR-S he asked Jaguar USA to help make it less of a shrinking violet..

McBrain has been a life-long Jaguar enthusiast, with his first car being a Series 3 Jaguar XJ in 1987, which he still owns.

During a private viewing of the XKR-S and RR Evoque last year, he liked the Evoque’s red/black interior so much that he asked to have it fitted in a XKR-S – and so began the comprehensive customisation of his ‘bespoke’ Jaguar XKR-S that saw him work with Wayne Burgess, Studio Director of Jaguar Design.

In an interview with Jaguar after taking delivery of his car, here’s what he had to say about the experience:

How Did the Project Come About?

Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved Jags with a passion. I remember my father taking me to see the big ol’ Mark 10 when it came out in ’61. That was his favorite car, and since then, I’ve always preferred Jaguar sedans rather than sports cars. In fact, I still have my Series III that I bought in 1986 along with my ’89 Series III that I keep in Florida and use as my daily driver. I bought my wife an XK in 2009, and when she finally let me drive it, I absolutely loved it; so when the XKR-S came out, that was it, I decided I had to have one.

When Did You First Get to Drive the XKR-S?

Jaguar invited me to the Gaydon test track in the UK to do a few laps, and really, that’s how my car came about. They drove me to the track in a new Range Rover Evoque with a terrific black and red leather interior. When we pulled up alongside this French Racing Blue XKR-S, the door was open. When I opened my door to the Range Rover Evoque, I said, ‘This is the interior I want in my car.”

How Did You Go About Specing Out Your Dream Interior?

The Jaguar team initially thought I was doing the rock star bit of demanding the complete Range Rover Evoque interior installed into an XKR-S. Really, I just wanted the red and black color scheme since the original Iron Maiden name was red on a black background. Then the team said, “If we do that, why don’t we Maiden-ize’ the whole car?”

I went over and saw my mate Wayne Burgess and his team in the Jaguar design department at Whitley and the brainstorming started there. Jaguar has an in-house team, the Engineered To Order (ETO) division, who were interested in helping us out.

ETO is responsible for extending the Jaguar and Land Rover brands with a series of ‘special edition’ models, such as the Jaguar XJL Ultimate, as well as a range of options allowing owners to more uniquely tailor their cars. My car is truly one of a kind and I had a lot of fun working with the team to make this dream car a reality.

What Features Did You Decide On?

The first major feature we worked on was the paint; I chose a new metallic version of French Racing Blue. Jaguar calls it Ultra Blue and it’s not currently available on the market, but they agreed to let me use it for my car. I live in Florida and when the sun hits the paint, it just explodes, the color is truly amazing.

Next, we wanted to really customize the car so where it says ‘Supercharged’ on the carbon fiber hood louvers, we’ve used the famous Iron Maiden ‘metal lord’ font. We used the same script for the door tread plates, which now read ‘Nicko McBrain XKR-S’. In the piano black veneer above the glove box we’ve added ‘Made In Aluminum;’ get it?

Tell Us About the Unique Growler on Your XKR-S?

Eddie is the band’s mascot and if you squint your eyes, he looks a lot like a Jaguar ‘growler’. So, we created a hybrid version which the team hand-stitched into the seat head restraints. We’ve also used it for the big badge on the front grille and for the wheel centers.

How did the Finished Product Turn Out?

The car is simply a piece of art. It truly is the reality of the dream I had when I first saw the XKR-S, but I had no idea that I could make it my own. Jaguar accomplished it and I know it’s hard to believe, but this is the first NEW car I’ve ever bought; and let me tell you, it was sure worth the wait!

I only picked up my car last week at my local dealer, Jaguar Alpine, who do a great job here in Florida, but I’ve already put a few ripping miles on it. My mate at the dealership told me to keep the miles down as eventually it’ll be worth a fortune. I told him, “Hold on a minute, I just paid a fortune for it,” and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon!


Written By

Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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