To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this year, Jaguar provided 15 vehicles for a special Platinum Jubilee Pageant on 5 June, including historically-significant E-types, an I-PACE eTROPHY electric racer and seven classic Jaguar convertibles, which served as carriages for famous British Dames, including Joan Collins, former supermodel Twiggy (aka Lesley Lawson), retired ballerina Darcey Bussell and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.
Making its public debut in that multi-car parade was a recently completed restoration from Jaguar Classic, the arm of Jaguar responsible for factory-quality restorations, genuine parts, bespoke builds, vehicle personalisation and expert services.
The car, a 1965 E-type Series I roadster, had been sourced by Jaguar Classic and completely rebuilt to a very specific brief from the customer that made the finished product one-of-a-kind. The changes from C1965 factory spec included engine, transmission, suspension and braking upgrades, as well as special interior trim and unique paint.
The customer wanted an E-type that had been built in the year of his birth – 1965 – and with a period look but optimised mechanically for regular touring and smoother, more refined driving at speed.
Modern tech was on the request list, too, including LED lighting, a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation.
Some inspiration in the interior detailing came from the limited-edition E-type 60 released last year, while the paint and trim would be inspired by iconic British imagery.
“Being able to bring a customer’s vision for their dream E-type to life is hugely rewarding. The result is a complete one-off that showcases the full breadth of capabilities provided by the team at Jaguar Classic,” said Stephen Hollis, Bespoke Lead Engineer, Jaguar Classic.
With the brief to source an E-type from 1965, Jaguar Classic not only found a roadster from that year, but one that had rolled out of the factory just two days after the client’s date of birth.
The LHD example was in poor condition inside and out, requiring a full rebuild that took 12 months and included an RHD conversion, some new sheetmetal and a full interior replacement.
The car’s original, factory-spec 4.2-litre ‘XK’ straight six engine (fitted to E-types from 1964 to 1968) was replaced with a larger 4.7-litre unit that had been “optimised for road driving” and fitted with a sports exhaust and other modifications.
To this bigger, more powerful six, Jaguar Classic added one of the five-speed manual gearboxes they've developed for classic Jaguar owners. As a replacement for the factory four-speed manual, this transmission is said to deliver a smoother, quieter and more refined driving experience.
Both the suspension and brakes were upgraded with modern components, too, while the factory centrelock wire wheels were replaced with wider modern units, fitted with Pirelli performance tyres for better roadholding.
British Blue. . . and Red
For the E-type’s exterior, the client wanted a deep shade of blue, inspired by the blue of the Union Jack. Mixing and perfecting this shade took the paint shop team at Jaguar Classic months of trial and error, including providing the client with sample panels of various colour formulations for approval.
To complement the rich metallic blue finish of the exterior, the client requested the interior be retrimmed in a shade of red inspired by London’s famous red ‘pillar box’ post boxes.
Bright red leather on the seats, centre console and doorcards was hand-finished using traditional methods at the Jaguar Classic Works trim shop and matched to full carpeting in a similar shade. Black leather was added to the sills, dashtop and door cappings.
The rest of the interior was mostly finished to C1965 spec, including the woodrim steering wheel, slim chrome handbrake, analogue gauges and array of toggle switches on the dash. Variations include the shifter knob for the five-speed and a subtle acknowledgement of the ‘E-type 60’ in the centre of the dash.
Below the auxiliary gauges and switchgear, what appears to be a period radio is actually a modern ‘Classic Infortainment’ system. Another item offered by Jaguar Classic, this system includes Bluetooth phone, media and satnav functionality, as well as music.
In the case of this E-type, the classic-look head unit was complemented with speakers subtly incorporated into the front kick panels.
A set of LED head and tail lights completed this classic’s modern upgrades.
Completed in time for its role in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on 5 June, this freshly-built, one-of-a-kind classic E-type from Jaguar Classic chauffeured American model, dancer and fashion designer Eric Underwood.
“With a colour scheme inspired by the Union Jack, I couldn’t think of a better place for it to make its first appearance than the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant,” Hollis said.
The anonymous owner added: “I wanted a classic E-type that could be relied upon for daily driving and be comfortable on Grand Tours while remaining authentic to the original – and I’m blown away by the results.
“I’m so proud of the car the passionate team there has created, and I’m privileged to be part of its story.”