How the Jaguar XJ evolved from then to now
How the Jaguar XJ evolved from then to now
Jaguar helps us ring five decades of evolution
The new Electric Production Car Series (EPCS), an all-electric road car-based racing championship, has revealed the 10 rounds that will make up its debut season in 2018/19 – and a race at Silverstone in September 2019 is amongst the confirmed dates.
The EPCS will also conduct a special closed-door ‘pre-race’ trial event at France’s Pau Arnos on 26-27 October 2018, giving competitors a dry run at a race weekend in race-prepared all-electric passenger cars. (To make up for the fact it’s not open to the public, complementary tickets are on offer for the first round to those who register on the Electric GT website)
Then it’s into full-on racing in November, at the former F1 circuit of Jerez, before the series gets underway in earnest in 2019. The Silverstone round, at a date to be confirmed in September, will be the eighth round of the 10-round series.
Other big-name circuits to be visited by the EPCS include France’s Paul Ricard, the Netherland’s challenging Assen and the famous Nürburgring in Germany (albeit the Grand Prix course, not the full Nordschleife…).
Electric GT Holdings, Inc is running the series. Its CEO Mark Gemmell said that “without a doubt, we have secured some of the most exciting European tracks for our first season of the Electric Production Car Series and this gives us a great platform to further expand the championship.
“We have received a great deal of interest from circuits around the world excited by the possibilities that electric racing brings.”
With lots more news promised, Gemmell said he was “stoked about the future and we are all looking forward to bringing elbows-out electric racing action to fans around the world”.
There’s but one slight disclaimer: all the Electric GT series needs to do now, we’re told, is close the first institutional fundraising round and firm up the financing before its “definitive” launch this autumn.
But with the promise of 20 drivers racing identical Tesla Model S P100D, all with custom-developed Pirelli tyres and Alcon brakes, for a 60km day race and a 60km night race – streamed via YouTube, Periscope and Twitch, surely it won’t be long before the FIA-sanctioned zero-emissions series receives the final full green light?
Pre-Race: Pau, France– 26-27 Oct 2018
Race 1 & 2: Jerez, Spain– 3-4 Nov 2018
Race 3: Paul Ricard, France– tba Feb/Mar 2019
Race 4 & 5: TBA– May 2019
Race 6: Nürburgring, Germany– 29 Jun 2019
Race 7: Assen, Netherlands– 20-21 Jul 2019
Race 8: Silverstone, UK– tba Sept 2019
Race 9: TBA– Sept 2019
Race 10: Portimao, Portugal – 12-13 Oct 2019
It started life as a Toyota but then became very special indeed…
An epic failure when new, is the Aston Martin Cygnet now a misunderstood modern classic?
“Prepare a list of the 10 most beautiful Jaguars,” they told me. A bit of a poisoned chalice this one, because many will disagree with the choices. But, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge – I finished second in the school 100m race – so here are my choices, starting with something obvious beginning with the letter ‘E’.
Enzo Ferrari’s quote about the Jaguar E-Type has been repeated so many times, it must be true. As has Frank Sinatra’s “I want that car and I want it now” comment upon seeing the E-Type for the first time.
There are many unwritten rules in motoring writing, such as linking the Reliant Scimitar to Princess Anne, or mentioning the seven-year warranty within the opening paragraph of any Kia new car review. Similarly, one must also include the E-Type in any feature focused on the world’s most beautiful cars.
Of the car, LJK Setright said: “even two years after production had begun in 1961, [the E-Type] could still turn more heads than a platoon of poachers in a poultry farm. It fitted like a glove, went like the wind, looked like a million dollars, and sold for little more than a couple of thousand pounds”.
Malcolm Sayer didn’t set out to design the world’s most beautiful car, the styling was merely a byproduct of the aerodynamicist’s desire to go fast. Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum claims: “Malcolm Sayer shaped the E-Type with absolutely pure geometric lines. He wasn’t driven by aesthetics for the sake of it, he was trying to build something that was shaped by mathematics. That’s how he built his cars up and their beauty is determined by purity and simplicity.”
But here’s the thing: is the E-Type really the most beautiful car in the world? Is it even the most beautiful Jaguar? If one Jag can rival the E-Type for its beauty, it’s the XK120. Here was a sports car that, in 1948, was so beautiful, it was responsible for spearheading the British sports car’s invasion of the US.
In his book Jaguar Sports Cars, Paul Skilleter tells the story of how Sir William Lyons designed the body shell in less than two weeks, with the prototype completed just in time for the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1948. Sir William is quoted as saying: “because it was done more quickly than anything before or since, and I could compare weeks, almost days, with years and it was not altered from the first attempt”.
In May 1949, a group of journalists were flown to Belgium to witness a high-speed run on the Jabbeke-Aeltre autoroute. With timing under the control of the Belgian RAC, an XK120 with the roof and side screens in place recorded a speed of 126.448mph mean. Later, with the windscreen replaced with an aluminum cowl, and a tonneau cover over the passenger seat, the XK120 achieved 132.596mph.
In truth, the XK120 looked a tad awkward with its roof in place, but with the top down it is simply beautiful and beautifully simple. Two years after the launch of the roadster, Jaguar unveiled a coupe version, while the later XK140 and XK150 models are no less alluring.
“The XJ6 was profound. It had so much visual power,” said Ian Callum in an Autocar interview. “The wheels were enormous. Nobody had seen anything like them before. They filled the whole body. I remember collecting a brochure from the local dealer and going back the next day for another. I still have them both.”
Jaguar began work on Project XJ4 in 1963/64, before unveiling the XJ6 at the British Motor Show in 1968. The quad headlight were evolved from the MkX, while the flared arches were filled with wide wheels and Dunlop high-performance tyres, designed especially for the XJ6. The overall result is an imposing yet elegant four-door saloon, with a design that evolved gracefully until the first radical overhaul in 2009.
But if you’re looking for the glamour model of the XJ6 range, look no further than the XJ Coupe, or XJ-C. Unveiled in 1973, the XJ-C was introduced in 1975, before production ended in 1977. Jaguar claims that “without realising it, [it] had created what would become one of the most desirable and rare XJs, with little over 10,000 completing production.”
In reality, the XJ-C was a commercial failure, hampered by poor refinement and a price tag that made it more expensive than the saloon. The XJS was another factor in its early demise, with the replacement for the E-Type arriving in 1975. But given the choice between the XJS and the XJ-C, many would opt for the latter.
To some people, the Mk2 is the archetypal Jaguar. The E-Type might be the most beautiful and the XJ220 the most dramatic, but the ‘mark-two Jag’ is the quintessential four-door Jaguar, a status helped in no small part by the likes of Inspector Morse and Jack Regan.
Although it evolved from the Mk1, the Mk2 of 1959 was far better looking than its predecessor, with Sir William Lyons using a deeper windscreen, more glass and a wider rear track to create the ultimate sports saloon. At the time, it was Jaguar’s most successful model, with a total production of 83,701 units.
In 3.8-litre guise, the Mk2 offered a top speed of 125mph, sprinting to 50mph in 6.4 seconds. This made it the ideal car for a game of cops and robbers, with the Mk2 winning favour on both sides of the law. Famously, the Jaguar Mk2 was used as a getaway car in the Great Train Robbery.
The Mk2 also had a formidable competition history, both in touring car racing and rallying. In other words, the Jaguar Mk2 had it all: a beautiful, if slightly caddish, four-door saloon.
The D-Type was built to win Le Mans, something it did no fewer than three times. With such a tight brief, the issue of aesthetics would sit close to the bottom of the list of priorities, so it’s all the more remarkable that Malcolm Sayer created one of the most iconic shapes of the 1950s.
Few cars have an aura and presence quite like the D-Type: it looks like it’s hurtling along the Mulsanne Straight, even when it’s stood still.
The bodies were developed using 1/10th scale models in a wind tunnel, with Jaguar focused on reducing drag, minimising the effects of side winds and the impact of wind pressure. Amazingly, although it was rarely the most powerful car to line up at Le Mans, it was usually the quickest along the Mulsanne Straight.
The famous stabilising fin was riveted onto the team cars just before the 1954 Le Mans race, while the windscreen added a dash of comfort for the driver. Today, 62 years after the last example was built, Jaguar Classic is restarting production of the D-Type. Just 25 examples will be hand-built in Warwickshire.
The XJ13 – or eXperimental Jaguar 13 – shares nothing in common with the XJ saloon and is arguably the most beautiful race car never to turn a wheel in competition. It looks like a direct descendant of the D-Type, which is no surprise given Malcolm Sayer’s role in its development.
The car was developed in secret, with Jaguar planning a return to Le Mans. But by the late 1960s, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) – which merged with Jaguar in 1966 – was more focused on the XJ6, meaning the XJ13 had to be developed out of hours.
The XJ13 was completed in 1966, but stood idle for a year before being taken out for its first trial. At the time, the existence of the XJ13 was a closely guarded secret, with Jaguar completing the first run at Mira early on a Sunday morning. The trial was successful, but the V12-engined XJ13 was too slow to compete against Ferrari, Ford and the Porsche 917.
It lived under a dust cover until 1971, when it was rolled out to take part in a promotional film for the Jaguar E-Type V12. However, after a few too many laps, one of the ageing tyres deflated under load, resulting in a catastrophic crash. Driver Norman Dewis was unhurt, but there wasn’t a straight panel left on the XJ13. Fortunately, the car was rebuilt and is still run today.
“Widely considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing sporting cars of the 1930s”, says Wikipedia. Jaguar’s roots lie in the Swallow Sidecar Company, with Sir William Lyons adopting the SS name in 1931. What did it stand for? Peter Skilleter’s book claims that the subject was never resolved, arguing that it could be Standard Swallow or Standard Special.
The use of Jaguar stems from when Lyons asked his publicity department to draw up a list of animal, fish and bird names. “I immediately pounced on ‘Jaguar’ for it had an exciting sound to me, and brought back memories of the stories told to me, towards the end of the 1914-1918 war”, said Lyons, specifically the Armstrong Siddeley ‘Jaguar’ engine.
Whatever the history of the SS and Jaguar names, there can be doubts surrounding the use of ‘100’ for the sports car launched in 1935, which referred to the theoretical 100mph top speed. Only 191 examples of the 2.5-litre SS 100 were built, but it laid the foundations for a future of Jaguar sports cars.
The XKSS was originally made by Jaguar as a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning D-Type, built between 1954 and 1956. Nine cars earmarked for export to North America were lost in a fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory, meaning just 16 examples were built.
Some claim that the XKSS was merely a car built to shift unsold stock of the D-Type, but the result was an achingly good looking sports car, even with a ‘proper’ windscreen, cutaway doors and a hood. There was no fin, as buyers were treated to a luggage rack.
In 2016, Jaguar announced that it would build the nine ‘lost’ XKSS sport cars, with each one sold for a price in excess of £1 million.
“The XKSS is one of the most important cars in Jaguar’s history, and we are committed to making the ‘new original’ version absolutely faithful to the period car in every way. From the number, type and position of all the rivets used – there are more than 2,000 in total – to the Smiths gauges on the dashboard, everything is the same as the original cars, be-cause that is the way it should be,” said Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic.
This will prove to be a controversial selection, but like a good wine, the Jaguar XJ-S (latterly the XJS) seems to get better with every passing year. It many ways it was doomed to failure, because replacing the E-Type was like stepping into Alex Ferguson’s shoes at Manchester United, or the Beatles creating a follow up to Please Please Me.
Alongside the E-Type, it may have looked too big, too much of a grand tourer, maybe even too ugly. But the E-Type hadn’t exactly grown old gracefully, and against the Series 3 the XJ-S felt more of its time.
The most controversial element of the styling were the flying buttresses, which were designed to add strength and improve high-speed stability. The press hated them, but they became one of the car’s most eye-catching features.
The XJ-S died in 1991, by which time it had evolved into a graceful and elegant grand tourer. Work began on a factory convertible in 1985, with Karmann handling the conversion. The XJ-S convertible – which was incredibly popular in the US – is arguably the most beautiful of the breed.
“On-road presence? I’ve never driven a car that turned more heads. Svelte styling? Have you ever seen a more beautiful front end, or a more shapely profile?” asked Gavin Green when writing for Car magazine in 1992.
All too often, stories about the XJ220 are accompanied by tales of the economic recession, the wrong engine and unhappy customers. When viewed purely on the basis of aesthetics, it’s striking enough to upstage the Sydney Opera House.
The styling was influenced by the XJ13, with Jaguar using a quarter-scale model for testing at MIRA’s wind tunnel. “It was scary – the thing looked the size of a house. You can’t scale the sense of scale! I actually felt guilty, too: we’d made the aluminium body panel beaters’ job so hard. Luckily, they disagreed and said it was the highlight of their careers – they’d never been stretched so much,” said Keith Helfet, the man responsible for the styling.
Do you agree with our choices? Maybe not, but then beauty is subjective. Here are four cars that failed to make the cut…
This is what’s commonly referred to as hedging your bets: chucking a few more Jags in the pot for good measure. Working clockwise from top left: Lynx Eventer, C-X75, XK and C-Type. Needless to say, the Queen will be sad to see that there’s no place for the X-Type estate…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Before we begin, it’s important to clarify that at no point in time was the car in question misrepresented, neither by H&H Auctions nor Barrett-Jackson.
A 1980 Chevrolet Corvette Turbo coupe recently crossed the block at what is undoubtedly most British-sounding event of all time, the Imperial War Museum Duxford Motor Car Auction. The Corvette was offered by H&H Auctions and had an estimated price of $18-$25,000 USD, but did not sell.
The car in question is a C3 ablaze with fantastically 1980s “TURBO” decals on both doors. Pictures of the engine bay show that yes, there is indeed a turbo hooked up to a 5.7-liter V8.
Chevy never offered a turbo Corvette. The car’s description says that “The limited edition model’s creation involved the father of the Vette, Zora Arkus Duntov” and that it was made by American Custom Industries (ACI) in Sylvania, Ohio.
The Duntov Turbo Corvette offered by ACI had a widebody kit, non-retractable square headlights, splashy Duntov decals on the fenders, and, probably the main point of identification, was a convertible.
To be clear: H&H in no way misrepresented this car. The respected company presented an interesting rarity, provided a complete description, and appropriately estimated the price.
Just what in Zeus’ name is a non-Duntov turbo Corvette?
Our story begins, as all good Corvette stories should, with Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Father of the Corvette.” Duntov was instrumental in transforming the Corvette from the showstopping 1953 concept car into the performance icon it’s known as today. He introduced the V8 to the Corvette in 1955 and the Grand Sport program in 1962. Any time Corvettes went racing, Duntov was there. Even the mid-engined Corvette slated to appear in 2020 is the direct descendant of Duntov’s experimentation with the layout in the fifties, sixties, and seventies.
As the performance era gave way to the oil crisis and emissions regulations, Duntov’s vision of the Corvette as America’s sports car was increasingly out of sync with the ideas of GM management. His requests for more power were rebuffed. “Twice I asked for a turbocharger,” Duntov said in a 1980 interview. “Each time I was turned down. They said that a turbocharged L82 would only sell a thousand units. I said it would be more like 6,000. They just said it would be unprofitable, and that was the end of the turbocharger for the Corvette.”
Upon retirement from GM in 1975, Duntov put his years of engineering experience and knowledge to use as a consultant. He was eventually approached by ACI and spoke at the company’s annual open house. Rather than the standard speaking fee, ACI refurbished the exterior of Duntov’s personal 1974 Corvette.
The engineer was impressed with the work, and agreed to collaborate on a special project, with one caveat: the car had to be a turbo. A run of 201 vehicles was agreed on, with Duntov to receive #000.
The resulting car survived a difficult birth and entered the world as a white convertible with a handsome widebody kit emblazoned with “Duntov Turbo” graphics. The interior shone cherry red. Even the Goodyear Wingfoot tires were unique. “ACI had special sizes made for the Duntov,” remembers Bart Lea, current owner of American Custom Industries.
Production began in 1978 and lasted until 1981, but alas, the economy stumbled and there was little call for a specialty car that cost three times as much as a showroom Corvette. The company wound up building both convertibles and coupes over the period, and in various colors.
It’s impossible to know how many Duntov Corvettes were produced. “I have documentation for 26 of them,” said Lea, “But as far as their true number, I do not know. Anything that was actually licensed or called a Duntov had the widebody kit.”
Additionally, all Duntovs have a gold serial number plate on the driver’s door jamb that says “American Custom Industries” and “Duntov Corvette.”
Even with such obvious markers, verification can be difficult to impossible. Bob Schuller was the owner of ACI at the time the cars were built, but according to Lea, “After Bob died, the files were misplaced or lost.”
It’s highly unlikely that there are any records at all for ACI-built, non-Duntov Corvettes.
Our mystery Corvette entered this world, according to its trim tag, in August of 1980 with a red paint job and matching red leather interior. Where it went next is unknowable, but it’s reasonable to theorize that it visited ACI. Under the hood is a Martin turbocharger, which Lea confirmed the company used at the time before switching to Rajay units.
Before it defected to England in 2014, our car crossed the Barrett-Jackson auction block twice, first selling for $17,050 in 2012, and then again for $17,600 just six months later. In both descriptions, the car is listed as having the aforementioned Goodyear Wingfoot tires.
The white exterior and red interior mimics the widebody ACI cars, and Barrett does indeed describe it as “a Duntov paint scheme.” When asked, Lea said, “ACI did paint schemes similar to that.”
There is indeed some evidence, no matter how thin and inadmissible in court, to support an argument that this Corvette is an ACI car.
In what Duntov may have described at the time as a “total dick move,” Chevy began developing an experimental turbo Corvette in the late 1970s. The car was shown off to journalists in 1979 and again in 1980.
Could our mystery car be a Chevy test mule? At least one example has come up for sale, though without the “TURBO” decals. Speculating once again, perhaps the new owner put new decals on to recall the car’s former glory.
The differences between the Chevy mule and our car are fairly clear, though. Chevy used a twin-turbo setup, different wheels, distinct badging, and a unique striped interior (as seen in period pictures).
What are we left with?
Our car was described by both H&H and Barrett-Jackson simply as what it is: its make, model, color, interior, and engine specifications.
If we choose to take the harder route and describe what it is not, we chip away all the bluster and faff that should by all rights make this unique vehicle completely unaffordable. It’s not a verified Duntov Corvette. ACI can neither confirm, nor deny, its existence. It’s not a priceless Chevy engineering experiment. Given its sales history over the last six years, it’s probably not even a particularly good investment, and one would assume that its weird parentage might even further detract from its future value.
What we are left with is an amazing collector vehicle, a one-of-a-kind slice of 1980s turbocharged Americana with just enough Duntov street cred to reasonably argue the point, at least after a few beers.
Now what we have to do is get the damned thing back from England.
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The final Koenigsegg Agera RS to be produced – badged the Agera RSN – and an empty airfield. How fast do you think it could go? 200mph, perhaps? Maybe more?
When owner Neil Miller took to the 2.1km track at Kendrew Barracks in Rutland, he managed to hit 234mph with his son riding shotgun. An hour later, Koenigsegg factory driver Niklas Lilja took to the wheel, topping out at 242mph.
That makes it a record for the VMax200 event which takes part at airfields across the UK and gives supercar owners the opportunity to max out their cars.
“The car was strong all day,” said Koenigsegg factory driver Niklas Lilja. “We had to do a little fine tuning on the active rear wing as we progressed through the day so we probably left a few mph on the table for next time. Overall, though, it was a very satisfying event, and a good way to back up the experience we had setting five new world records in Nevada last year.”
The previous VMax200 record of 240 mph was set in 2016 by the Koenigsegg One:1 with LMP1 racer Oliver Webb behind the wheel.
“The car was unbelievably fast and we have a very happy owner here today,” said Koenigsegg UK dealer, Tommy Wareham from Supervettura.
“The One:1 that set a record in 2016 was software-limited to 240, which Oli hit quite early in the run. It’d be an interesting exercise to remove the limiter one day and see these two cars go head-to-head. Either way, it’s a wonderful thing that it took a Koenigsegg to break the record held by another Koenigsegg.”
Britain’s best-selling car by far, the highly-acclaimed Ford Fiesta, is now being offered in commercial vehicle van guise with the debut of the new Fiesta Sport Van at the 2018 CV Show in Birmingham.
The new Fiesta Sport Van sees Ford return to the ‘urban hatchback van’ sector, as the blue oval looks to further consolidate its top-selling commercial vehicle brand status in Europe. So far in 2018, Ford has already sold more vans than it did in 1993.
With one eye on inner-city air quality legislation, the new Fiesta Sport Van is offered both as a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, but also as a 125hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol. It’s derived from the three-door Fiesta body, with the rear windows blanked out.
Within, it has a 1.0 cubic metre cargo area, capable of carrying loads 1.3 metres long. Maximum payload is half a tonne, and Ford’s decked out the load bay with a hardy rubber floor covering and sidewall trim, plus a full composite and mesh bulkhead to protect front-seat occupants.
Ford’s not making van drivers slum it. The Fiesta Sport Van comes with a standard Sync 3 touchscreen system, compete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s even now able to port Waze sat nav through the touchscreen, so van drivers can be the kings of the back-road rat run. Even heated seats and a heated steering wheel are optional.
And for those who want to literally put the sport into Sport Van, Ford’s offering a dress-up kit with unique front and rear bumpers, colour-coded detailing and 18-inch alloys. Match it inside with sports seats, plus a racier steering wheel, pedals and gearlever.
There will also be a cheaper entry-level Ford Fiesta Van, pictured below.
Fleet managers, rest easy. Ford is fitting an adjustable speed limiter and lane keeping system as standard, and you can choose to add Ford pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot warning. White van man can be capped to 68mph – if he (or she) so wishes…
Shock figures show that 32 people were killed or seriously injured in motorway accidents in 2016 because of tyre failures – but almost 3 in 4 of them could have been prevented if motorists had simply carried out the most basic checks of their car’s rubber.
Uniquely, the 18-month study into motorway tyre failures, by Highways England and tyre company Bridgestone, carried out research by actually studying the debris of failed tyres on the motorway.
A total of 1,035 tyre segments were retrieved by Highways England officers from the M1, M5, M6, M40 and M42, then sent to a technical team at Bridgestone for analysis.
They were able to diagnose failures were caused by the following factors:
This, says Highways England, shows that a significant 26 percent of tyre failures were caused by poor maintenance – which is why it’s now promoting the message that “simple checks save lives”.
It’s not only lives in danger, either: there’s also the cost of delays caused by closing a motorway after a tyre-related crash. Often, officers were able to pick up the tyre debris because the motorway was shut – and the cost of closing a three-lane motorway for four hours stands at almost £1.5 million.
Bridgestone technical manager said that the report involved “a painstaking process of collecting tyre debris over 18 months and analysing it in depth later.
“With proper vehicle inspection and maintenance programs, many of the failure methods noted should be detectable and preventable.”
Powell also called for vehicles without tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are equipped with the technology: as it detects deflations, it will not only help underinflation and poor maintenance, but it will also offer the 56 percent of motorists who suffered a puncture early warning of the damage – with potentially life-saving consequences…
With this in mind, we’ve found four of the best aftermarket TPMS kits on Amazon you might want to consider fitting.
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