Monday, 4 July 2011

E-Type Jaguars - Goodwood FoS 2011

It was only fitting that the quintessentially English Festival of Speed should somehow mark the 50th anniversary of the E-Type. But few were expecting quite how grand a gesture might be installed in front of Goodwood House... the E-Type piece, made from steel supplied by Tata (Jaguar's new parent company, of course) jutted 28 metres into the sky and weighed 150 tonnes.

Similarly ethereal was the one-off (for now) Eagle Speedster, which SuckSqueezeBangBlow looked at recently. Jeremy Clarkson described it in a Top Gear test drive as 'not just the most beautiful car ever, but the most beautiful thing ever'.

In the Cartier Style et Luxe concours area was this gorgeous, pristine lightweight road car...

...while in the Cathedral Paddock, ready for a little abuse up the hill, was this original low-drag coupé. Freshly restored from the wreckage of a big and supposedly terminal accident at Montlhéry way back in 1964, it was on fine form at Goodwood. You can see owner Peter Neumark banging the knock-off spinners with a wooden mallet here.

This brute is a Group 44 series III E-Type, built in 1975 and campaigned by Bob Tullius in the SCCA Championship. It only ran for one season, but it's been having a lot of fun since at events like the FoS.

Another low-drag coupé in the Cathedral Paddock, 49 FXN was built in 1963 and has continuous race history. I was lucky enough to stand next to it while it was being relentlessly and remorselessly revved, and I was mesmerised. It sounded like a beehive full of tigers.

This is genesis. The E2A is the development prototype that spawned the E-Type. The developers entered Le Mans with it in 1960, just to see how effective it could be. It set the fastest lap time before the engine exploded. A true legend.

...and here's another lightweight, this one a past winner of the Sebring 12hrs in the early sixties. After a short competition career, it was stored by a private owner for decades before being rescued and fully restored in 1998. It's only covered 5000 miles since 1963, although you can be sure that every single one of those miles was pretty enthusiastic.

William Lyons would have been very proud.

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