You don't really need an excuse to photograph a Jaguar E-Type. It's one of the most iconic cars ever made, embodying the long and low aesthetics of Jaguar design, the quintessential classic car and the love child of the 1960s.
It's no surprise, then, that Jaguar picked the E-Type as an electrification proof of concept. It's an immediate headline grabber, giving you the stunning looks of a motoring classic, but with a thoroughly modern twist.
From the exterior, this is a Jaguar E-Type, lovingly restored, but the decision to use a drop-top Roadster was entirely intentional, so that it could show off the modern interior too. Yes, the seats and the seatbelts are classic, but cast your eyes to the dials and the centre console and things are very different, with a digital makeover.
That's not really the big story behind the E-Type Concept Zero however. This is a car the proves you can retrofit a modern electrical powertrain into an existing car, without destroying it. Gone is the 6-cylinder XK engine and the gearbox and in its place is a 40kW battery and motor, attached to a reduction gearbox.
These new components connect to the existing prop shaft in the transmission tunnel, sending the power to the rear wheels. Talking to Jaguar at the reveal of this reworked E-Type, it was confirmed that this could be reversed too, so the original engine could be replaced, because so much of the original running gear remains in place.
The modern electric powertrain gives you better straight line performance than the original, hitting 62mph in 5.5 seconds, but as the steering, suspension and weight distribution remains the same as the original car, it drives and handles very much like the original. Minus the oil leaks of course, and without the noise (something that car fans will undoubtedly want to talk about).
In the cockpit the analogue dials have been removed and replaced with digital dials of the same type, while a centre touchscreen display will give you all the information you need to see how much charge you have and give you a modern sound system and to on. Look to the centre of the car and there's no gear stick, instead a thoroughly modern dial set in carbonfibre trim giving a very futuristic feel.
As a concept, the E-Type Concept Zero is proof that you can give classic cars a makeover. Sure, some will say that the soul of the car is removed with the engine, that the experience of the E-Type is changed without the Moss gearbox, because here you have something that's as easy to drive as any modern automatic.
The interesting thing about Jaguar's cars is that the drivetrain remained fairly unchanged on a huge number of cars from 1949 through to 1992, so basically, the changes made to this E-Type could be applied to any number of classic Jaguar models.
The Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero is a glorious rebirth for one of the world's most beautiful cars. Naturally, you can't run out and buy one and Jaguar wouldn't be drawn on how much it might cost, except to say that you could get yourself a "normal" Jaguar E-Type through the Reborn programme, from about £300,000, so take that as your starting point.
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The Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero is on display at Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest in London from 8-10 September, as the company prepares for an electric future with starting with the I-Pace and with all new cars from 2020 offering electric as an option.