GRR

ZP Edition E-Types are restomods from Jaguar

05th June 2023
Bob Murray

New Jags might be a bit thin on the ground these days but the appetite for old ones is as strong as ever. Jaguar Classic is the corner of JLR charged with sating that appetite and now it has announced its latest “new model”. It’s another foray into the back catalogue with the focus this time on the E-type and its early competition success.

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There are to be 14 cars, all old and original Es that each get the 2000-hour restoration treatment from the specialists in Coventry so they pass as authentic competition-prepared Series I 3.8s from 1961. Seven are convertibles and seven are fixed-head coupes and the idea is they will be sold as seven pairs. A kind of his ‘n hers tribute act.

Jaguar Classic has named the cars the ZP Collection which won’t mean much, if anything, to most people. ZP was apparently the codename the first works-prepared E-types were developed under. Jaguar didn’t hang around making them, announcing the ZP series in April 1961, just a month after the E-type’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show. 

How much better if they were called the Graham Hill E-type and the Roy Salvadori E-type, for it is those two late, great racers whom this limited-edition run honours. 

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The original ZP cars, of which there were just seven, were only lightly modified for racing, but that didn’t hold back Hill, who won first with a blue drophead at Oulton Park, or Salvadori who took a grey ZP E-type to first place at Crystal Palace. That was also a drophead (in period, all the ZP cars were) but, not letting the facts get in the way of a good story, Jaguar Classic has chosen to represent it by the fixed-head car you see here.

Hill’s and Salvadori’s successes marked the first victories for the E-type which went on to chalk up 24 podium finishes between ’61 and ’64. It was the start of a storied motorsport career for the car – one that famously goes on to this day in historic racing at Goodwood.

So what do you get with a ZP E-type 62 years on? The cars have not just been meticulously restored but also made more reliable (electric fan and electronic ignition) and easy to live with (DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation). Under the bonnet is a 3.8-litre XK straight-six chucking out 265PS (198kW) via a five-speed all-synchro close-ratio manual gearbox that has been specially developed to allow easier shifting and more relaxed touring.

As you can tell from the photos, the updating hasn’t exactly wreaked havoc with the looks. From the chrome bumpers and wire wheels to the external bonnet latches and welded bonnet louvres, the look is authentically 1961. Roundels and white “lipstick” around the front intake reinforce the motorsport connection. New paint, Oulton Blue and Crystal Grey, mimic the colours of the Hill/Salvadori racers.

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Connections with the drivers go deeper inside where there are aluminium panels on the centre console engraved with evocative words and pictures. The drophead, for example, features Hill’s quote: “In a race, my car becomes part of me, and I become part of it”. 

Other nice touches inside include a posh Bridge of Weir leather and a beechwood steering wheel. There’s plenty of commemorative badgework of course, and, rather more unexpected, a helmet in each car. The Everoak crash hats are hand-made by Bill Vero and replicate the helmets used by Hill and Salvadori in period. 

Pretty nice pair of Es then and the good news is they are not yet all sold. The less good news may be the price, so huge that Jaguar can’t bring themselves to speak it out loud. But as we have seen before with other small runs of “new” classics from Jaguar, there will surely be no doubting the quality.

Jaguar Classic has already given us latter-day tributes to the C and D-types and now the E-type, so what’s next? You guessed right. Later this year is to be another ZP-inspired 14-car run of seven convertibles and seven fixed-heads – of the F-type. Bit too soon? Jaguar says not. The ZP Fs will be reserved as pairs for buyers of the ZP Collection E-types making, says Jaguar, “an unrepeatable celebratory quartet”. Four Jags anyone?

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