Saturday 21 April 2012: E-Type Jaguar
The E-Type Jaguar is a legend. When it was launched in 1961 it outperformed Ferraris that cost twice as much, and even Enzo Ferrari himself thought it was one of the most beautiful cars ever. Jeremy Clarkson described it as "The last good thing to come out of Britain". Hyperbole perhaps, but it is a very beautiful car and driving one has long been on my list of motoring things to do*.
For today, for one day only, this car was mine.
Thanks to a gift from my lovely parents=in-law, so thanks to S & Hooligan
Driving the E-Type is hard work. It has manual gearbox with a heavy clutch, no power steering, tiny brakes, a terrible turning circle, and for a man my height there is no rearward visibility. Fuel consumption is dreadful too, presumably because half of it is vapourised and sprayed into the cockpit to try to asphyxiate the driver. Today reminded me of the joy of brilliant inventions such as ABS brakes, inertia reel seatbelts that adjust themselves, and refined in-car entertainment.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT
It's a big, old fashioned, normally aspirated petrol engine and it has a wonderful purr as it idles. When you open the taps, it screams with pleasure. At low revs, it has huge torque, and as it surges towards the red-line on the tachometer the power is immense. As is the fun. I didn't get a real chance to discover what it is capable of as the speed limit is 70mph and it was raining, but wow - there is something wonderful about big, normally aspirated engines.
Oh, and the looks of envy from motoring congiscenti as we cruise past are fun too - a couple of folk even hollered "great car" out of open windows as they passed.
A fabulous day out!
Having tried to get a decent shot of the car, I now realise just how much work goes into making cars look beautiful in each and every episode of Top Gear - which I've always thought was beautifully shot. I know I can't do the E-Type justice, but at least I can capture a memory.
* Other cars I would like to drive are a classic Ferrari (not too fussy which) and a Lamborghini Countach (which was a very cool car when I was a wee boy).