Today, the ethnic cleansing of the petrol-fueled engine continues at a rapid pace and recently took another step toward ultimate eradication with Jaguar-Land Rover’s announcement of the electric E-Type Jaguar—the E-Type Zero. Officially, it is a move by the car giant to “future-proof” a classic car. Don’t be fooled,. To me, this is a step too far, similar to the death of the steam-engined locomotives of the 1960s by Dr. Beeching, hatchet-man of the UK railway system. Thankfully, on one of my recent visits to restoration company Zul Racing of Derby, England, proprietor Liaz Jakhara had his head under the bonnet of a 1961 Series 1 E-Type drop-head, fettling away and breathing new life into the iconic car.
It may be a preserve of those of a certain age, but can you remember the first time you saw, were lucky enough to have a ride, or even get behind the wheel of an E-Type Jaguar? For me, I’m taken back to a dank, dark, miserable, Monday morning. It was a typical English November day, the heavy clouds merging with a swirling whispery fog. It had been difficult rising from a warm cozy bed, summon up the energy to wake, dress and get ready for work, but it had to be done. Walking to the bus stop, I could see the shelter was full and therefore no cover from the prevailing inclement weather. Last in queue, I waited in line for the arrival of the deafening, disorderly, diesel-fueled, dirty green, double-decker bus. The wait seemed an eternity, although, in fact, it was probably only around five minutes. Then, out of the gloom, came a ray of light, a sleek-shaped vehicle that stirred and warmed the heart. Was this my mind hallucinating, maybe a mirage? No, as it neared its reality and identity became more obvious—a Cotswold blue E-Type Jaguar. It slowed and came to a halt by my side. The window opened and a gruff voice shouted, “Jiggle, get in!” It was my boss, his Christmas had come early as he’d at last taken delivery of the car of his dreams and I was one of his first passengers. My mood immediately changed from misery to mirth as I settled in the seat for the seven-mile journey to work. Of course, my driver was about to show off all the attributes of his new purchase. It was the first time I traveled well in excess of 100 mph, although given the conditions it was rather foolhardy, but as a 1960s teenager having the most thrilling ride of my life I wasn’t about to complain. The trip captivated, stirred and mesmerized all my senses, it lasted a little more time than a fairground ride, but the exhilaration of this journey has remained etched and indelibly fixed in my memory. It is as clear today as it was all those years ago.
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