Jaguar's legendary E-Types are, unarguably, hot cars, but could they also be hot rods? Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Series I Roadster seeks to find out, but it comes with price that might prove too hot to handle.
Wow, yesterday's '78 Dodge Magnum didn't have a wing and prayer, racking up a massive 95% Crack Pipe loss. Well, truth be told, it did have a wing, and its eventual proud new owner should probably pray those T-tops don't leak, both features likely being contributors to its virtual shellacking.
There's a certain stereotype of a NASCAR fan, and that big-ass Dodge, with its Daytona wing and flank decal, does nothing to counter the bacchanalia of the banal that is the racing series followers. Today's car however, seeks to take expectations, and turn them on their heads - in which case, it would be nice if it had a rollbar.
The Jaguar (that's jag-you-are, philistines) E-Type, or XKE in early American brochures, is carnality incarnate, so successful was the melding of speed and beauty in its inception. These days, the most desirable of the marque - the covered headlamp series 1 - can and do trade for six figures with some regularity. The two biggest factors affecting that valuation are, of course, originality and condition. This custom 1964 E-Type, dubbed the e-spyder, is so spotlessly clean you would have no qualms if your sister dated it, but with all the changes it has undergone, it's now about as original as a Beijing back-alley iPhone.
Those changes are noticeable both inside and out, and in fact there isn't so much of an inside any more as the car is now presented as a true roadster, lacking any kind of protection from precipitation or avian dookies. Then there's the fact that every seam, handle, or external mechanism save the lights has been shaved from the body, rendering it Brazilian smooth.
The result is that the car looks more elemental than the standard E, and much more like the precedent D from the front, where it also sports a retro Jag badge in place of the expected snarling cat's head. The rear is styled as shapely as Miranda Kerr's but the tail lamps, which once rested atop, and complimented, the blade bumpers, now look a little lonely in their absence. Windsor Blue paint - which extends to the faux knock-off Panasports - is another non-traditional element, having never been offered in ‘66. That being said, it's a good choice for the car and looks deep enough to invite skinny-dipping. Chunky custom vent wings offer about the only external visual faux pas, and make one wonder if the builder was not familiar with the XKs Unlimited catalog.
As noted, there are no external door handles meaning entering the car requires either the use of electric poppers or that bastion of gay civility, the reach around, accessing the internal lever. Once inside you'll note that the ‘restoration' of this car begins to fall apart. With so much billet and wild two-tone upholstery, it no longer looks British - or even Jaguar - at all, it has in fact gone full hot rod. You never go full hot rod. Now looking more Chip Foose than Sir William Lyons, it's not only had the sextet of Smiths replaced, but also the proper seats, supplanted by a pair of scalloped buckets from an earlier 3.8-litre car. Such a switch would typically have JCNA members fuming, although it would be hard to tell over the steam coming from under their hoods.
As this is a ‘64, those seats would be wrong, but then again, so is the 4.2 that's under is bosomy hood. Sure,post-October of that year came with a 4,235-cc edition of the legendary twin-cam, but this one is said to be out of a much later sedan. Not that it matters much as it does still carry the straight port head, affixed to which are a trio of Skinners Union's finest. That combo was good for 265-bhp from the factory, and a top speed of over 150 miles per hour in the E. Transmission duties up until late ‘66 were handled by the 4-speed Moss box, while later Series I's carried synchro on all four gears. This car has gone that one better and carries a Tremec T5, which admittedly is an excellent upgrade for an E. Wilwood brakes up front, and bigger ones in back should make reeling things in less than dramatic, assuming they've been properly set up.
Any number of the changes made to this Jag, taken individually, might be a get a pass given their generally positive nature - the SEMA-drenched interior excluded - but taken as a whole, it's questionable whether they make this E better, or worse. After all, the better brakes, easier cruising gearbox, and renewed parts across the board, should make for a more enjoyable driving experience. On the other hand, it's now more show car than go car, and the fact that they used a Series I means there's one less out there for future generations to enjoy in its natural state.
But do you care? Does it matter to you that engine and car don't match numbers, or even the original picture frame? At some point along the way to this car's restoration/recreation, a lot of what made it an iconic E-Type went out the door, possibly irrevocably. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the E-Type, and renewed interest in the venerated nameplate. Do you think this car is E-enough to celebrate, or has it been irrevocably defiled?
And what that price, is this custom cat worth $110,000? Or, are both the number of changes and its price too high?
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