A genuine enthusiast is identified by...
In the 60s, Jaguar built six special lightweight E-Types – cars intended to be raced. They were raced and fared well. A few still exist, one in particular rebuilt from a crumpled mess. Those cars are worth millions yet as valuable as they are, their owners race them in vintage events. Today, Jaguar is building, away from any production line and with a carefully selected crew of craftspeople and management, an identical number of lightweight, aluminium-bodied E-Type coupes, to be sold for maybe a million and a half euros. That’s each.
My wife and I just watched a 40-minute (Inside Jaguar – Netflix) documentary focusing on the construction of the first car (all six are sold, locked up with sizeable deposits). These cars are not like today’s Nortons, Bonnevilles or Indian Scouts. They are as close to exact replicas as 21st century man can make them. They aren’t just Jaguar ‘brand’ cars or even lookalikes. They’re the old cars made anew.
Watch the video and see if you agree with me: They’re selling these cars at a loss.
In the video, you learn why Jaguar would bother to do this. You learn a little about the prospective owners but more about the gentlemen responsible for the decisions and construction – from drawing board to gorgeous, fastidiously recreated iconic automobiles.
Jaguar wants to remind you that they are quite aware of the history of their company and their cars. They’d like you to know that they remember and revere the men and women who contributed to that long history. After all, many of their cars have been unforgettable cars – cars dreams are made of.
The men making these lovely cars fuss over every detail. Because the original six cars had raw aluminium interiors, so do these new ones. But the upholstered parts of the new cars, the seats and insides of the doors, are covered with leather so carefully selected that any tiny flaw means rejection.
The exterior is finished with coat after coat of paint and hour after hour of sanding and preparation.
At Jaguar, especially in the Heritage Section where the cars are being built, they want the eventual owner to love his car with passion and appreciation, not only for Jaguar’s special crew of monomaniacal craftsmen and bosses but also for Jaguar lore and the company’s decades of honestly heroic automobiles.
In the film, we meet one future owner, a businessman from the American Midwest who wanted to visit a car midway in its construction. He seems a fine guy. He has a modest collection (maybe 15 cars) of fine, significant automobiles but his new recreated E-Type lightweight will surely be the standout in his heated, air-conditioned storage building. Maybe he has studied Jaguar history. Maybe he is inspired with
How genuine does a genuine enthusiast need to be, really? Maynard takes a sidelong look at the world of ‘historic’ vehicles recreated for the privileged few.
awe at Jaguar’s proud record on the racetrack and as the transport choice of so many respected drivers.
Every effort has been made at Jaguar to delight marque aficionados. Six perfect cars for six perfect customers. Perfect customers, lifelong Jaguar freaks... who happen to be able to pay for perfection.
Selling such a car to a wealthy guy who buys pricey toys on a whim... unthinkable. A guy like that wouldn’t look at the rivets holding the interior panels in place and marvel at the precise placement of each rivet: why, they’re exactly where they were in the originals!
It is guys who notice rivet placement that Jaguar hopes will own these cars.
I hope the people who buy them deserve them. I hope they are not bought as investments.
I’d feel like a dilettante if I bought one. I’m not a student of Jaguar history. Sadly, only a few pure Jaguar enthusiasts can afford such a costly machine, let alone afford to use it on a racetrack, where it arguably belongs.
Unless I miss my guess, it’ll be guys who already have personal aircraft and homes in Palm Springs fronting on private golf courses. They’ve been aware of Jaguar all their lives but the company’s racing successes were long ago, at venues the guys may not have heard about.
I’m afraid that the gentlemen who buy these cars will delight in knowing that their golfing buddies can’t get one too. After all, there are only six. Hey, they’re historic. The new owner can scan the descriptions of the new ones and the old ones and drop names of drivers and courses.
I’m afraid that Jaguar will sell these cars on a firstcome, first-served basis. If they do that, how will they determine that the new owners know what they’re buying and will be appropriate caretakers for those cars? Shouldn’t there be an interview required before a deposit is taken?
What if Jaguar made the cars available, not cheap but far cheaper, selling them to people who have paid their dues in Jaguar cockpits or in the stands or the pits at the races. Jaguar people, you could call them.
If they did that, Jaguar could see the joy and excitement with which they built those six cars shining in the eyes of the cars’ new owners. Genuine enthusiast machinery should be owned by genuine enthusiasts. Right?