What better place to drive what is without question, the most iconic British sports car than at the centre of ‘England’s Garden’. E-Type UK is at the forefront of Jaguar preservation and restoration with no other equal – nestled right in the middle of the stunning Kent countryside. We made a trip down to see the people, the tech and of course test the cars of an icon.
Famous the world over, these Jaguar E-Type specialists have customers from around the globe, one such car in the shop has been recently sent over from Hong Kong to ensure it is restored to the highest possible standard. There is no doubt that these guys know their onions and you know you are in great hands from the off.
As I pull up there are two 1960s Jaguar E-Types sat waiting. I have to look twice as they appear to be brand new and straight out of the factory, but that can’t be the case – it’s 2019 not 1969!
Whilst the workshop is a thing to behold (and we will come onto that later), of course the main draw was always going to be driving some of these beautiful creations. Two cars were road ready and for sale by E-Type UK for driving – a MK1 straight six and a MK3 V12 with upgraded 5 speed gearbox and an incredible removable hard top. No matter what E-Type, you can tell you are driving something special by the way people look and stare whilst you meander past – the look of envy is beyond any modern Aston, Lamborghini or of course Jaguar, a near next level element of heritage. It is never just a casual look, a quick glance turns into an appreciative stare all the way until you are out of view.
As you would expect, an original MK1 in one of the first years of production was always going to be difficult to drive and with limited time we never felt completely comfortable driving the car, certainly not enough to appreciate it fully. The MK3 V12 though was a different story, as you can imagine the low rumble of the V12 was immense and pure noise in it’s rawest form. It was a real pleasure to drive and after getting used to the odd quirk was actually very easy to place and get feedback where you needed it most. Not too unlike a modern day sports car.
There is no doubt that whilst E-Type UK is a private company, they are doing a service to the world of motoring in general. A car as iconic as the E-Type should be restored and held as a treasure no matter where it goes. They really do know what they are doing with many cars at different points of their own restoration journey. And each of these car’s is along it’s own journey and not yet at the end – each with it’s own story to tell. Marcus, Director tell me the history of ‘Lost in Gloucestershire’ a stunning 1967 in dark grey that was found just two years ago not in a barn but in a field within, you guessed it – Gloucestershire. The owner had found her in a state where most of us would have said there was nothing to be done. But E-Type UK took her in and with really just a workable engine and the rear subframe – this is their specialism, making the impossible, possible.
There is no price list, no menu. Everything is bespoke and suited to whatever the owner would like. And to be honest if you are worried about price, I am not sure that restoring an E-Type is for you! Simple (Is there such a thing?) servicing is also available with a list longer than myself of cars that come back every year – but this isn’t a few hours, cars will spend a week or more just having a regular service. Nothing is ever rushed.
Thank you to Marcus, Jack and the rest of the team at E-Type UK for showing quite how special metal and leather can be when they come to together with love and care.