The Great British Adventure

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The Jaguar E-TYPE: Chassis No. 850462
13 January | Classics
The Jaguar E-Type is an icon of British motor engineering and design.


Millions of words have been written, nearly all of them positive, about this famous old car. Everything there is to know about the E-Type is arguably already known. But far less is known about one particularly remarkable model: chassis number 850462. Registered way back in July 1962, it is one of the first 500 E-Types ever produced.  We were fortunate enough to see it, first-hand, and to say that it is 'still running' more than 50 years after its birth is to dramatically understate the facts.

Racing driver Win Percy - a three times British Touring Car champion, Race Australia winner, and Jaguar driver at Le Mans - alongside the team at Eagle Cars have devoted countless hours to not just maintaining this gorgeous example of British road superiority, but modernising it too. They have developed this classic example of 1960s motoring beauty into a semi-lightweight but wholly-remarkable racecar, complete with aluminium bonnet, doors, boot lid, carbon fibre headlamp scoops, and one-of-a-kind 16" magnesium wheels complete with spinners. The engine clocks in at a mind-blowing, seat-rumbling 300bhp.

So what, you might ask, is it like to drive? Indescribable, really. But at a push, we would say it is like flying a Spitfire on the ground. The countryside of the South Downs flew by in a blur of green and browns and blues. The wind tore noiselessly over the body as the car cut through the air like a knife through hot butter. The engine howled a primitive roar that might have convinced anyone in earshot that a fleet of Tyrannosaurus Rex had survived that ancient meteor and were now roaming the British countryside. Nevermind being a car to inspire exploration, or even discovery, this is a vehicle which is an adventure in itself.

Nowadays, the car is used extensively: it makes the journeys to Le Mans every other year and is a fixture at Goodwood's Revival events. But gawping at this car is simply not enough. It may look like a work of automotive art, but it's true value is a mixture of the aesthetic and the sheer mechanical wonder that comprises this very singular E-Type. Forget being a fan of the E-Type; we're now avowed devotees of one, in particular: chassis number 850462.

 

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