I don’t know the story with the E-Type, but there’s a school of thought among designers that a strong formal agenda is greatly improved by breaking it in just the right way. People sometimes talk about a beauty mark, or the grain of sand that a pearl forms around.
At any rate, you certainly see a lot of car designs that are just flowing lines, and end up as forgettable jelly beans.
Harold knew how to do it.
Or go all-in with a GATTACA-style electric -
(which was, unfortunately, cancelled)
Or do a nice conversion job to get modern electric performance (double the horsepower!) in an older vehicle’s body? Best of both worlds! (Unless you’re really into modern conveniences like air conditioning)
Sometime around 1980 we saw a mid-60s Jaguar XKE for sale in a front yard. We stopped, I sat in it, and fell in love. It had the exact right fit for me (at the time) - the seat was perfect, the gearshift was in the right place for my arm, the pedals were exactly the right distance for comfortable shifting, accelerating, and braking. Unfortunately, it cost a small fortune, and we had no familiarity with British 12-cylinder motors, so I went away, vowing to have one some day.
Since then I’ve learned that if you buy a British classic in America, you’d better have the British mechanic on speed dial and an additional small fortune for imported parts.
I still want one someday.
The old joke comes to mind, “Why do the English drink warm beer? Lucas refrigerators!”
I had a 1966 MGB. I can remember going over a bump in a parking lot and all the lights went out. I hit the next bump and they all came back on. They had a pair of these stupid little 6V batteries wired to give 12V. I ripped them out, reworked the cables and crammed the smallest 12V Sears Diehard available in the passenger side battery well. Worked like a charm.
It was almost certainly a Matchbox. When I was in fifth grade my Grandmother gave me a half dozen Matchbox cars, including a lovely red XKE. I was the first kid in my school to get these little cars (a year or so before the debut of Hot Wheels, which my fellow Matchbox-owning friends and I considered knock-offs).
Well, to each their own, of course, but that windscreen is the part of the car that appeals to me the most.
The amazing thing is how cheap it was at the time, much less expensive than comparable cars like the Jensen CV-8 or even the Alfa Giulietta SS.
Despite its sleek shape, the E-type had quite a high drag coefficient (0.44, compared to 0.28 on the SS).
The first car I ever bought new was an 18i. I loved it when it was working, but it was in the shop 13 times in the first year. The European models, without the ‘i’, had much less electronics and were more reliable, commonly used as taxicabs. FWIW, despite its boxy looks the 18 had a drag coefficient of 0.40, and was the basis for an experimental car called the Renault Eve with a drag coefficient of 0.24
I always remember a joke from around that time:
What’s orange and goes from zero to 60 in ten seconds?
An E-Type Carrot.
And we build the evidence that British cars were badly made before the manufacturers were nationalised.
Weren’t the cars in Gattaca based on the (not dissimilar) Citroën DS?
A classic Alfa Romeo should be red. (Alfa red, not Ferrari red.)
Although I once had a silver Alfasud with black go-faster-stripes that actually worked and a 156 in asphalt grigio which looked really nice.
A friend has the one with a serial number just 8 ahead of this one: 1961 JAGUAR XKE 'OUTSIDE BONNET LATCH' ROADSTER
Unfortunately his is in pieces, waiting to be restored.
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