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Where to Mount the Leaper?

Where Should I Mount the Leaper and How to Prevent it From Being Stolen?

Steve Chatman

If you keep lobbing them up like that, someone's going to hit them. You'll probably not read any topic on this list that evokes the range of emotions, however inappropriate, that this small issue can. To some, it can't be a Jag without the leaping cat hood ornament. To others, this dealer or aftermarket modification is an abomination. Last, to some lower-life types, it's a bobble to take even if the car is damaged in the process.

Anyway read and enjoy. It's the list at its best and worst. FWIW I left out the really rude ones. Go check the archives if you want the unedited version. When the smoke settles, it's your car so do what you want. But you might consider Dennis Smith's experience.

Dennis Smith

I purchased a leaper with the intent of mounting it on the hood of my 1980 XJ6. I just couldn't bring myself to bore the holes in the hood. I had my next door neighbor mount the leaper on a handsome mahogany block and it now sits on my desk.

First, the innocent question.
Larry Karpman

Finally got the right size hood ornament for my 85 XJ-6. Any installation tips. The front treaded piece is longer and lower than the rear, and has a small round chrome collar around it. Would appreciate install info from one who's done it.


Tim Patton

I just bought a leaping cat (small) hood ornament for my 1982 XJ6. Can someone tell me exactly how far back to drill the holes?


Here come the replies to this and other questions about size, color, and location. Some questions asked for self, some for bosses, some even for mothers. After reading the replies, the discussion, and the rationalizations, I think you'll agree that there is something very Fruedian about the leaper. What you won't find is a simple answer to a simple question.

Jim Isbell

About 4" to the rear of the rear license plate.


Jim is pulling your leg...

The real purists correctly and precisely place it closer to 4 7/32 inches rear of the license plate.

Mike Frank

The way I heard it, you measure back 4 7/32 inches from the eyebrows.

Larry Lee

Measuring straight up and back from the tip of your nose, 5 inches is just about right for the first hole. That's about 1 inch behind the average hair line. The other hole can be located from the first one. Seriously, there is no exactly right measurement for this because Jaguar did NOT install such mascots.

Getting the picture?
Baard Th Hesvik


On my restless crusade aginst Jaguar vandals I once again have to warn you of the horrible wrath that is in store for the ones who drill holes in their XJ bonnet. It is sacrilege and will be punished beyond your imagination (the walls around me tremble, the floors are shaking!)

or Baard at another time.

If you ask me, which you (or your mother for that matter) won't once you've set your heart on having the ornament mounted, I think the car looks "cleaner" without it.

Mike Cogswell

FWIW, I agree with Baard on the ornament. I think they look somewhat silly on the XJ-6 and XJ-40, especially since the ornaments commonly used include a base that is intended to match up with the chrome strip down the bonnet centerline that existed on the models actually shipped with "leapers". They look even sillier on the XJ-S, where I've seen them mounted behind the cat head emblem or in lieu of it. Ugh! Might as well mount one on the bonnet of my E-Type.

Jim Kirk

I have another question about the leaping jag emblem. What color is the emblem supposed to be, silver or gold. Mine appears to be gold, it is tarnished with a little silver showing through. I figure this is a gold plated emblem? If I could found out the correct version for my particular car, I would go about restoring the emblem. Also what is the best way to restore the emblem. Thanks in advance for the info.

Michael Neal

Definitely not gold. These are technically illegal in the U.S. because they tend to spear pedestrians in collisions. The vast majority of leapers that I have seen are chrome and of the smaller make. The large phallic symbol leapers are a bit ungainly and plain ugly in my opinion.

Roger Peng

My '91 VDP came as a gold package, and thus has a gold leaper; however, the plating was not of high quality, as it has lost some of its luster.

As for the large leapers, I assume you're talking about the ones on the '95 Jags. Yup, I think Ford got really carried away with those; I'd much prefer my Jaguar to be understated and elegant.

But the feeling is not universal.
Jim Isbell

I like the leaper, the big one. I have one on my XJ6 and it gives it character. Sort of a large phallic symbol with which to threatened the pedestrians. They respect it.

It also makes a great sight to aim at other cars with.

And finally, it is the best indicator of rear tire wear I have ever seen. Twice it has notified me that one of the rear tires was wearing unevenly. When the nose of the Jaguar begins making lazy circles as you come to a stop, one of the rear tires is worn excessively and unevenly.

But I really like it aesthetically as well. Maybe because the other cars I have owned in the past were Mercedes, Rolls Royce, and Continental, all of which have very distinctive nose gear.

Peter Morris


I agree. Even though I'd been admiring these cars for years before I actually acquired one, I'd never even noticed the absence of the leaper. My car has one, which (gasp!) I really like. Only after this discussion began have I started to notice that some of the S2 and S3 cars I see on the road do not have the leaper. Car still looks good, but, well maybe it's the phallic symbol stuff, dunno, but I like my leaper. Call me a cretin, hell, call me anything, but I don't think it hurts the looks of the car at all.

Jim Beckmeyer

A XJ6 without a leaper is like a woman without a penis.


I bought the LARGE leaper from the Jaguar Dealer. It was so beautiful, not to mention very heavy (solid metal), that I could not bare NOT to put it on my bonnet. Also, the PO had a leaper installed which was removed and the bonnet repainted. SO, I had the holes their already under the plastic work, that it was easily mounted in the old holes.

That large leaper is very heavy (I thought the bonnet might dent itself!), and its teeth are also very sharp, which is a nice to

As far as leapers are concerned:

There are 3 available from any Jag dealer: a small one - around $75 (US), a big one - around $120, and a big one that is spring loaded - around $275. JC Whitney also has one (big one I think) for US $29.95 plus shipping.

These are dealer add-on accessories that they would be more than happy to install for a small price, or you can do it yourself.

IMHO, the small leaper is less ostentatious than the big leaper.

But chastisement is never far away.
Charles Daly

re: leapers

Great to hear there are three sizes. I have a small one on each wing and a medium on the front of the bonnet. I'm about to order a large for the boot, but am confused...should it face forwards, (into the wind) or rear-ward, so those following would know it was a jag?

Greg Price

You don't want to use two for the boot, and get them coming and going?

Frank Perrick

I was going to post that I had the big cat on the hood of my XJS from jc. whitney but I didn't want to get laughed at but since the car is gone I don't care. The big leaper, as I call it, Is pretty cool in my opinion. Mine was the 24k gold. It even has little teeth ,and on some days I'd swear a little tongue sticking out at me. To answer your question I think it's junk. Just the car cover being pulled over it has worn the gold off the head and the whole thing is hollow with jagged points underneath from the molding process. looks good when passing by at 90 or so :-)

Now for something completely different.


When I bought my 1980 XJ6 in the mid '80's I had the dealer install a leapin' cat hood ornament. Several attempts by neighbouring kids only managed to loosen it, and this was a high falutin' neighbourhood (I guess kids will be kids, as in little f*ckers). About five years ago someone finally managed to rip it off, literally, leaving a bit of a twisted bonnet to contend with, and I was living out in the sticks at the time - no neighbours for miles.

I won't bother replacing the ornament, partly because it wasn't original, partly because it always seems to attract a vandalistic (?) element, partly because I don't have a replacement and I ain't gonna buy one, and partly because it always looked a little awkward on the front of the car - sort of detracted from the car's sweeping lines. This last reason is the same reason I won't be fixing mud flaps to the wheel wells - - just my personal taste.

After reading of another bonnet being damaged as some fool tore off a leaper hood ornament, I issued a challenge. Mostly in jest, but there is that appeal of the leaper.

Steve Chatman

Subject: Leaper Dilemma -- Group Challenge

Recognizing that this will, in fact, not be a dilemma for many on the list, perhaps all will consider the challenge regardless. I have read of too many cases of significant damage being caused by some punk looking for a shiny trinket. Given that many do modify or want to modify their Jag by attaching a leaper to the bonnet, is there a way to do so but avoid the damage?

My first notion was something on the order of a bug zapper that would fry anyone who touched it, but my wife the law student tells me that this could present a challenge to our resources. So, to start the process, here is an idea. What about a removable cat? Attach it when you want but pop it off when the situation demands. I like this one, but my inability to find a good replacement when the cat is removed has kept me from it? Maybe a badge? Which one? And, what would be a good way to attach the cat so that it would be secure at speed but removed with little effort from the outside? Or, how about cheap plastic shiny coated cats at about $1 a pop that are easily removed? Anyway, I look forward to reading constructive remarks. Just kidding, flame away if you want.

Lawrence Buja

Have no fear, I'll rise to the challenge!!!

What immediately came to mind was something akin to the solution which Jaguar uses to avoid radio antenna damage when the car is parked: a retractable leaper.

When the radio is on, the leaper is erect^H^H^H^H^Hextended, yes, extended, and when the radio is off, it withdraws back into the safety of the bonnet.

In fact, you could use the same circuit as is used to raise/lower the antenna mast. You could have a lot of fun with this thing...

Greg Price

I too shall rise to the challenge of keeping our leapers out of the hands of thugs (though my 85 VdP doesn't have one, darn it).

Living in the "take the law into your own hands" American Southwest (ever seen a John Wayne movie? It's still like that here) my first inclination is to replace the leaper with the cranium of the punk who attempted to rip it off, however upon further reflection, I recognize that option as completely absurd - the aerodynamics of the vehicle would be hopelessly compromised.

How about an indelible ink sprayer, such as the type they put in the money bags when a bank is robbed? New Motto: Snatch a Leaper, Be Pink for a Month!


The problems occur when you merely seriously injure the thief, thereby exposing yourself to lawsuit. The trick is to KILL the bastard, so that yours is the ONLY side of the story told. Wire with plenty of amps.

More seriously, a typical electric fence circuit should do, since it won't injure livestock, but will probably deter most petty thieves. What about a removable cat? Really bad idea, it won't last a week. Or, how about cheap plastic shiny coated cats at about $1 a pop that are easily removed? This might work. If you make them really ugly, nobody will want to steal them.

John Littler

I was told a story (probably apocryphal !!) the morning after mine was damaged, that apparently in London there was a bit of a fad for knocking off Jag and Mercedes emblems (so what's changed ..) and it got to the point where a number of Jag owners did exactly what you first thought... wired the emblem to the battery to make it "live" - this apparently worked very well until some young punk grabbed one got a well deserved shock, jumped backwards out of surprise and got killed by a passing lorry! (I personally think it's about the right punishment but anyway). What about a removable cat? Attach it when you want but pop it off when the situation demands. I like this one, but my inability to find a good replacement when the cat is removed has kept me from it?

One of the guys at work suggested replacing the nuts that hold it down with rubber o rings - something tight enough to stop it vibrating off, but without preventing it being pulled off easily - the main cost of repairing mine is the gouged paint - $100 for a new emblem's not SO bad.

Baard Th Hesvik

Following the thread (although I should be doing productive work when in the office... :-(

For those of you who so desperately want to expose yourself to the damage made to your cars by putting a leaping cat on the bonnet, I have a suggestion which very well could prove feasible.

Is stead of bolting the thing down, John Littler's friend suggested that it was merely slid into place and held by O-rings. I wouldn't count on the thing not come flying through the windshield (your roads may be less bumpy than ours, but nonetheless..)

The idea may be explored though; what about making a simple mechanism under the bonnet. A mechanism for locking the leaper, by means of inserting a pin into (through) holes in the "bolts". The actual locking could be assisted by an additional power lock unit. This unit should however work opposite of the ones on the doors, thus unlocking the leaper when locking the doors. That way, when leaving the car, you could snap off the leaper and put it in your pocket. Of course, I doubt that this routine would last for any length of time, so after a week or two one could always detach the cables on the locking device, leaving it permanently locked, and you're back to square one. Only this time, the punk would damage the whole mechanism, which would piss you off even more.

You know what I think is the easiest way out of this dilemma.....;-)

Dave Brown

Slightly different than wiring the leaper to the battery (but with same end!) would be t d. What could be more apropos?

Talk about having some fun!!!

John Hines

You could spring mount the leaper in 2 ways, one way would be like some radio antennas where the leaper would not come off, but flex around when the punk tries to take it ( chipping the paint ) or a spring under the hood where the leaper is loaded into the spring ( like cocking a shotgun ) and held in place by a notch in one of the shafts. When the punk tries to take it, it will LEAP at them, poking an eye out or knocking out a tooth :-= , although a bumpy road could send your leaper hurling out in front of you hitting another car ( almost James Bond like ) :-)

P.S. I do like the electrical solution, maybe display a disclaimer that the owner of the vehicle is not responsible for the consequences for your thieving or vandalizing actions.

Stefan Knappe Designs an Alarm System

I'm sure some of you did have the nasty experience (like I had sometime) coming back to their beloved cat finding that some idiot has tried to break off the leaping cat mascot on your engine hood, denting and scratching the hood trying so.

I know, this is not an original equipment, and those who don't like it please be generous and don't flame.

On my car it has been installed by the previous owner, and though I wouldn't have it installed voluntarily, I like it.

I have set up an alarm system to prevent loss and damage.

This is the way I built my leaper alarm system. It is rather simple though working well.

You need the following parts

  • two bolts which fit into the leaper's base instead the orginal screws, length 5 cm. approx
  • four nuts which fit this bolt
  • two springs (I used springs which usually hold brake shoes to the anchor plate on drum brakes)
  • three washers which fit this bolt
  • a sheet of strong plastic or fibre (to insulate contact from ground)
  • a length of copper (or anything which makes good electrical contact,) which you cut and bend to gain some kind of installation like shown
  1. unscrew leaper
  2. insert new bolts into base of mascot
  3. insert leaper into existing holes on hood
  4. cut plastic/fibre sheet and copper to length and drill hole through both, fix them together with a screw and attach a length of wire at this place, held by the screw.
  5. bend copper finger roughly in a way it will fit on the front bolt
  6. using some emery paper, remove a little spot of paint where the finger will touch the inside of the hood if the leaper is moved
  7. rear bolt: slide spring over bolt (spring should be a little longer than bolt to build up some pressure), screw on nut down the bolt, put washer on nut, then the second nut. Screw down the outer nut until enough pressure is gained to hold the leaper tight. Screw the inner nut against the washer until tight fit.
  8. repeat as above, but insert the fibre part between two washers, finger pointing to the front.
  9. after installation, bend the copper finger in a way that it touches the engine hood (thus making ground contact) if the mascot is moved by about 5 mm.

Please keep in mind that I'm no artist and the drawings are scanned manual stuff which is not perfect. However, it should be easy to follow the hints, and, assuming each mascot installation is a little different, some additional effort may be necessary. I managed the whole installation in about two hours at a cost of DM 10.- .

Did anyone notice an answer to where to mount the leaper? OK, OK.
Brian Sherwood

On my '85, the front edge of the ornament base is 3 and 3/16 inches aft of the grill edge.

Jan Wikstroem

Helpful people say "Put it where you think it looks good, since it isn't standard anyway." Mine are S2, so the (standard) placement may not do you much good. Let me know if you're interested anyway, and I'll run a tape over it.

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