Ever since Jaguar and Land Rover became merged at the hip, following their acquisition by Tata, they have never been shy of banging on about their history and heritage. However when Jaguar Classic unveiled an E-Type that was converted to run on an all-electric drivetrain, many were left dumbfounded and concerned that Jaguar’s retrospective focus of past glories like an old post-colonial Resident might have affected the ol’ boy’s head.
If that was concerning, Jaguar Classic’s announcement today that they will offer E-Type owners the option to fully-restore and retrofit their cars with an all-electric drivetrain will have you reaching for the helpline to the nearest psych ward.
Jaguar Classic isn’t rocking off their meds. According to the factory restoration division, they have been “overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the Jaguar E-Type Zero concept”, and that the fully-reversible conversion is ideal for future-proofing – and maintaining the values of – their iconic classic.
There is much to approve of the conversion as well. The 40kWh battery pack that is fitted in the engine bay is shaped and sized according to the dimension of the car’s original inline-six unit, and is said to be similar in weight. The electric motor on the other hand will be fitted behind the battery pack, right in the original gearbox’s location, though it will be a single-speed unit.
Pricing and exact specification for the conversion are yet to be finalised, though Jaguar Classic will expect deliveries to start from 2020.
With the car’s weight and layout unchanged, Jaguar Classic wouldn’t need to tweak the E-Type’s existing suspension and brakes, not only minimising the level of conversion but also maintaining the car’s handling, ride, and weight-balance.
Though that being said, with full-torque-from-zero, the driving experience will be remarkably different. And that is where the point of contention with most enthusiasts lay.
Traditionalists will scoff at the very idea of taking the beating heart and charming mechanicals of a classic car and replacing it with the unfeeling and efficient brutality of an electric powertrain.
Isn’t the whole point of driving a classic car is to experience its old-world charms, to feel the reverberation of the engine on acceleration, catching that whiff of petrol in the air, and indulge in getting your hands all greasy when it routinely blows its gasket on a Tuesday? To the enthusiast at heart that may be true, but perhaps there are those who enjoy the experience of driving Jaguar’s finest, regardless of what is powering it.
Maybe for some owners, this conversion is a means to continue that dream of driving top down through a sunny city boulevard in an environment-sensitive time. Maybe it is a way to preserve that emotional value we attach to it since first setting eyes on it. Maybe we were right in saying that the greatest era of motoring is whichever era that means the most to the individual. Because Jaguar Classic seems to think so with the E-Type Zero.