by Joseph Scott
James Bond 007 is the definition of sophisticated swagger, so why not have him drive a new Jaguar F-Type? It’s the power he needs and the sexy style that Bond is known for.
Jaguars have been in a few James Bond movies but never driven by Bond himself. In Die Another Day Zao (a villain) drove an XKR equipped with a front grille machine gun, door panel missiles, rear mounted Gatling gun, and boot mounted mortars. Wow, that’s a Jaguar packing some serious firepower! Skyfall featured a Jaguar XJ (X351) that was M’s official British Intelligence car used in several scenes. During Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace a Jaguar XJ8 was driven by three different actors.
So we know that Jaguar has been used in some recent Bond movies, but why has the British agent not driven a Jaguar himself? Although most of the vehicles Bond has driven throughout his history of movies have been Aston Martin, he’s used a few other memorable cars. He drove a sleek looking Lotus Espirit Turbo in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and then another special Lotus Espirit that transformed into an underwater sub in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Some of the most famous cars Bond has sported includes; Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights, 1987), Aston Martin DBS V12 (Casino Royale, 2006), and the iconic Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, 1964). The famous DB5 has made other appearances in Thunderball, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Casino Royale so it seems to be Bond’s car of choice. And it is also the car that comes to mind any time you think of Bond in a chase scene running from the villains.
Speaking of villains and cars, more details have emerged about the latest James Bond movieSpectre. Bond gets behind the wheel of Aston Martins new DB10, however the villains have been slated to give chase in three vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover. Three different models from Jaguar’s Special Operations division are set to make a big screen debut in Spectre, the 24th installment of Bond’s 007 movies. The Jaguar C-X75 (Hybrid-Electric Supercar) is a 778 horsepower power house that might be hard for Bond to handle. The Range Rover Sport SVR and the mighty Land Rover Defender Big Foot are sure to make a splash as well. The Defender Big Foot is sporting 37 inch off-road tires and enhanced body protection that I’m sure will be needed to fend off the assaults from Bond as saves the day.
Now back to my original question, just why has Bond never been given an opportunity to drive a Jaguar? Maybe after the Super F-Type is finally unveiled, Bond will get his chance to open up the Jaguar F-Type and let the world see just how powerful the cat’s growl can be. To me it just seems fitting that the worlds most beloved British undercover agent would drive a car with the same powerful yet elegant persona Bond has.
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by Paul Sweeney
Say hello to the latest addition to the British Car Museum collection: a stunning original 1955 Alvis TC21/100 'Grey Lady'.
First things first: I was lucky enough to drive this original unrestored beauty today! 4 forward gears, lovely smooth gear change and a sweet, quiet but powerful straight six 3 litre engine. It also boasts a fully operational sun roof, sun blind in the rear window, full leather seating, walnut dash and door trims - it even has a heater! Luxury indeed - for this car was no 'everyman's motor'. The Alvis is firmly in Rolls Royce-class territory, albeit more compact and practical for those crowded British towns and roads.
Power is produced by an overhead valve, 3 litre naturally aspirated 6 cylinder engine, with twin SU carburettors and 2 valves per cylinder that provides power and torque figures of 104 bhp (105 PS/78 kW) at 4000 rpm and 221 N·m (163 lb·ft/22.5 kgm) at 2500 rpm respectively.
The car was available in four-door saloon and drophead versions essentially the same as the TA 21. The doors now had chrome-plated window surrounds and swivelling quarter-lights were fitted to the rear doors. The saloon bodies were made for Alvis by Mulliners (Birmingham) and the dropheads by Tickford. A sunshine roof remained standard as did "separately adjustable front seats; heater and air-conditioning unit; Trico windscreen washers" drawing the comment from Autocar "In detail fittings . . . this car leaves little to be desired".
TC.21/100 Grey Lady
The TC.21/100 or Grey Lady announced on 20 October 1953 came with a guarantee of a speed of 100 mph resulting from an improved exhaust system and an engine compression ratio raised from 7:1 to 8:1 to take advantage of the availability of better petrol. The final drive ratio was raised from 4.09:1 to 3.77:1.
A paired front fog lamp and matching driving lamp became a standard fitting. The bonnet gained air scoops and wire wheels were fitted to try to enliven the car's image. A heater was fitted as standard but a radio remained an expensive option.
A saloon version tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 100.1 mph (161.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.6 miles per imperial gallon (13.7 L/100 km; 17.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,821 including taxes.
Nevertheless just 18 months later the Times' Motoring Correspondent tested and reported on the Grey Lady under the headline "Few Concessions to Fashion Trends". His opening gambit was that this Alvis was now one of the few British cars that did not look American and, he said, there was little concession to the cult of streamlining beyond the two air scoops in the bonnet.
He wrote that spacious internal headroom and wire wheels completed that picture. It was noted the instruments were not in front of the driver but in the centre of the dashboard (instrument panel) and so the speedometer was apt to be masked by the driver's left hand. However the front seats were comfortable and rear seat passengers received padding on the wheel arches surmounted by armrests.
Leather upholstery, pile carpets and walnut facings for the dashboard and lower parts of the window frames completed the traditional picture. He did however say that "the driver who is sensitive to the "feel" of his car will enjoy every moment of his motoring irrespective of the traffic" and reported the car's behaviour on corners was extremely stable though potholes like those caused by recessed manhole covers proved very heavy going for the springing.
The Graber body would be displayed at the 1955 Earls Court Motor Show
Finally, enjoy this short video I found on YouTube. It was filmed and posted by an awed Aussie who saw a Grey Lady in the street and had never heard of Alvis before ... clearly it had quite an impact on him! Interesting that one doesn't have the wire wheels that our is sporting.
by Joseph Scott
The Geneva 2011 Car Show was the birthplace of a radical concept car from two icons, Jaguar and Bertone and it celebrated the 99th Anniversary of Bertone. Was the sexy look of this car too much?
Concept cars are the perfect way to showcase new design ideas or do something that’s never been done before. Automakers basically have a blank canvas to paint their next masterpiece. So, when I ran across the photos of the Jaguar B99 Concept car show back in 2011, I had to wonder……why not? I mean this car had some killer looks, distinctive design cues, and even a hybrid drivetrain. The car was designed by Bertone’s Michael Robinson and Adrian Griffiths and we can learn a lot from this fantastic looking concept. At the time Jaguar was flattered by the vehicle but politely said no thanks to building the Italian design this time around.
Jaguar was still looking to overcome the pitfalls of the X-Type that had become a styling thorn in the side. They were also trying to be proactive and bring a new car to go head-to-head with the BMW 3-Series that had a seemingly monopoly on the competition. Bertone called the B99 a “dynamic imbalance between parallel lines and leaping forms”. The car was pointing to the direction that Jaguar would take with an all-new high mileage hybrid drivetrain designed by Bertone. Two electric motors were powered by batteries that draw a charge from a small onboard engine.
The car was a perfect blend of classic Jaguar styling with a dash of elegance from Bertone in a compact sedan also using an all-aluminum body (does this sound like the all-new 2016 XE?). The B99 name was inspired by the B in Bertone and to pay homage to the 99th Anniversary and it also marked another special significant accomplishment. With this vehicle, the Italian designer became the first and only Italian designer to have created five different Jaguars. They had already worked on the 1957 XK150, the 1966 Jaguar FT concept car, the 1967 Jaguar Pirana, and the 1977 Jaguar Ascot.
The first thing that grabs you about this concept car is its muscular look, the smooth but sleek lines seem to be leaping forward like the “Leaper” used on the hood. The leaping Jaguar is an iconic symbol of the brand that has been used for years and was the perfect way to show this car could gaze into the future and still carry on the infamous heritage of Jaguar. The wide rear with bulging hips and sleek sexy taillights should have given consumers a hint of the F-Type Roadster that would come in like a bolt of lightning in just a couple of years.
I hope that design teams and collaboration like this will always push the limits of the modern cars so that it will keep automakers on their toes. Some of the best designs come from radical ideas when we think out of the box, so never stop dreaming.
As I have reported, Jaguar is about to release some of the most exciting and distinctive vehicle they have ever produced, but in today’s fast paced world they have to keep moving forward. The famous car builder Carrol Shelby when asked what his favorite car he ever worked on was said “The next one”. Meaning he loved each vehicle he birthed, but his desire was to never be satisfied with the iconic cars he competed, but to always be ready to start something new and fresh!
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by Dan Bysouth
Memories from my apprenticeship
I left school on a Friday in 1977 and the following Monday I started work where Jock Skinner had secured me an opportunity to an apprenticeship at Mann Egertons, a member of the Inc Cape group.
I was put to work straight away with the Trimmer who was the number two coachbuilder, a man by the name of Keith Chilvers. He was straitlaced, highly skilled and a brilliant tutor. We had to supply our own tools so I had brought my own spanners from home as well as a set of AF combination open end and ring, an old screwdriver set, a pair of pliers and a hammer.
My first opportunity to get dirty was on a Triumph Stag that had been stuffed up the rear end. The job was to completely strip out the rear end to enable the panel beaters to do their bit. It was white , clean and as this was still 1977, in lovely condition.
I was told to remove the rear bumper by releasing the bumper irons from the chassis and the two end bolts. I had to find the bolts first, buried under at least 6 inches of rock hard dirt, it took me at least an hour first to find them then to clean the heads, apply WD40 and assess the size. A 9/16th ring spanner was the outcome.
It took me an age to loosen all 4 bolts, then remove the two end ones. Once again, WD40 and two spanners did the trick. Where was Keith all this time, you may ask? Sitting right next to me laughing at my inability to coordinate what to sort first and telling me under no circumstances to drop, damage or scratch anything. Although these parts were going to be replaced, it taught me to take care and consideration with anything that was removed from a customer's vehicle. The company motto was, "We all share in customer's care". Today that may sound corny but they really meant it, and it had a profound effect on the 16 year old me - eager as I was to learn and to do well.
Each nut and bolt was bagged in its components labeled package, and all parts were removed, cleaned and placed in a neat pile in the trim shop. It took me a whole morning to do this; a skilled man could have done it within 2 hours.
Keith told me, "After lunch lad, you can go and buy yourself a socket set at Affiliated Factors" (a motor stores and tool distributor a few yards down the road). I had no money, but the company would pay and I could pay them back at a rate of £1 a week. I bought a half inch drive 16 piece Britol socket set for £16.00 My weekly wage at the time was £16.50.
The afternoon was just as good, as we sorted new parts for the Stag , polished my sockets, and waited for a Jensen Interceptor 111 to arrive. That was our next job. I'll tell that tale next time, it didn't go too well, as the fire brigade and an ambulance got involved!
So, all in all it had been an easy first day for me and I loved it. Cars were going to be my life and right then at just 16 years of age I already knew it.
by Joseph Scott
This one-off Graber-bodied 1938 SS Jaguar 3.5 litre FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) is a stunning example of a custom car that won a few prestigious awards.
This iconic Jaguar has won awards all over the country at national concours events, but had never been able to win Best of Show. This honour was finally taken in 2012 at the Concours d ’Elegance at Hilton Head and it was well deserved for such a beautiful car. The 1938 SS was never offered as a FHC, but Hermann Graber (Switzerland Based Coachbuilder) was commissioned by Monsieur Michel Dionisotti of Geneva to build this fixed-head two door 1933 Jaguar coupe. These touring cars were already a sought after car, but became a near work of art.
The car has a straight-six overhead valve 125 horsepower engine with a four-speed gearbox, which is much more than the original setup offered. The car was originally black with gray leather interior, but was restored in an exquisite royal blue with red leather and upon completion it immediately began winning awards. Gerald and Kathy Nell (Jaguar collectors from Illinois) had the car restored in 1990 from just parts in boxes. The Nell’s had RM restore the car to their wishes. Shortly after completion in 1994, the car placed third in the Jaguar class at the Pebble Beach Concours d ‘Elegance and won the Designers Choice Award at the Meadow Brook Concours d ‘Elegance that same year.
After Mr. Nell passed in 2006 the car was sold at RM’s Monterey for a reported $385,000 in 2010. The Jaguar changed hands again shortly after that and the Ricciardelli family bought it and continued to show the vehicle at Amelia Island and Hilton Head’s Concours events. Finally in 2012 the Jaguar took home the prestigious award of “Best of Show” at the Hilton Head Island Concours d ‘Elegance. The car impressed the judges and the crowds with its stunning looks and elegant styling.
This car surrounds you with an air of sophistication that takes you back in time and transports you into an era of days gone by. Seeing it makes me want to grab an old derby hat and a pipe and go for a Sunday drive.
It’s great to see cars like this resurrected from mere boxes to the present condition where all the world can see and appreciate its beauty. This car is often regarded as the most distinctive pre-war coachbuilt Jaguar and you can see why as you gaze at the craftsmanship in this vehicle. Let’s hope this car is still traveling the show circuit today.
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by Dan Bysouth
Seeing that photo of a Morrie Thou reminded me of my very first day in a body shop. It was a Tuesday doing work experience at a small family run shop in the town where I went to school, Woodbridge, and the shop was called Jock Skinners.
I turned up early and excited to be met by a chap who was the charge hand. He handed me a half inch spanner and asked me to start removing all four wings from the Minor. I eagerly set to work, being careful not to lose any bolts or the sealing strips; I was having a ball. While I was working an older gent came in and put on a pair of white overalls. As he walked past he asked who I was . I told him my name and carried on working.
Two hours later at tea break I learned that the second guy was Jock Skinner, the owner. He told me that he was impressed with how I just got on with it and as a result instead of doing just three Tuesdays at the shop, I spent a whole year there, weekends and holidays too.
At the end of that he called a friend of his who was a body shop manager in a big dealership in Ipswich and recommended me for a job. I got it and started my apprenticeship. It was strict but fair and I will always be grateful to Mr Jock Skinner, God rest his soul.
Thank you, Dan
by Joseph Scott
We are close to the release of the new AWD (All Wheel Drive) Jaguar F-Type ...more details are coming out and you will be able to order with optional manual gear box.
The 2016 Jaguar F-Type is about to make some noise again and the timing is perfect for Summer time fun on those long road trips. The AWD option is available on the Coupe and Convertible models, however as stated in a previous review, the six-speed manual gearbox is only going to be available in the V6 model. The 8-speed automatic transmission is still available in the V8 models.
The AWD system is said to give the sexy F-Type a more stable and secure feel, especially on in the harsh climates of Europe and some parts of North America. Even though some consumers will stick with the 8-speed auto transmission, others may want to take more control and experience shifting with the optional manual shift in their V6 car.
Jaguar is also pulling a smart marketing move by announcing the release date of the new 2016 F-Type to coincide with the approximate time that some original F-Type owners would be looking for a lease turn in. Will they opt to lease again or buy something new?
How much longer will loyal fans have to wait to purchase the new AWD version of the F-Type? The V8 R Coupe with optional AWD system is expected to be on sale as early as March 2015. The car is estimated to sprint from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and top out at 186 mph, all while getting an estimated 25 mpg.
Consumers will have to wait till July 2015 to purchase the V6 Manual shift F-Type, but is reported to have a zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 171 mph. While manual shift fell a little short of the performance numbers of the V8, it was more economical with a 28.8 mpg rating (but who worries about mpg in an F-Type?).
Jaguar has many options and various prices to fit your budget; the F-Type starts at $77,679 (£51,250) for the rear-wheel drive (manual shift) V6 Coupe and $91,320 (£60,250) for the V6 S Coupe. If you want to drop the top, the convertible F-Type will cost an extra $8,307 (£5,485).
As soon as I can get my hands on the new AWD F-Type I will report back with a drivers review and give my opinion of what to expect. Jaguar claims that the car will still retain the rear-wheel drive feel of the car, while giving the agility and added control of the four wheel drive car. I’d imagine the AWD system will allow the car to feel more stable as it puts down the horsepower and torque on the pavement.
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by Joseph Scott
It did not take long for the all-new Jaguar XE to rack up an award. The XE was just named “Most Beautiful Car of 2014” at Paris Festival.
It must be rewarding to put so much time, effort, and money into an automotive project and then see the public embrace it. And what a thrill to see the car you have worked day and night on, win awards and praises from the press and media.
Jaguar has eagerly awaited to reveal their new premium compact sports sedan to the world and it did not take long for the awards to begin rolling in. The Jaguar XE was just named “Most Beautiful Car of 2014” at the Festival Automobile International in Paris. Ian Callum (Jaguar Design Director) accepted the award during a ceremony held on January 27th. The crowd on hand at the Hotel des Invalides included around 600 VIP’s and more than 60 media attendees. This was the 30th Annual Festival held in Paris and is decided by public vote and with more than 100,000 votes cast it was not an easy task to beat out the competition from the German’s. With 28% of the votes the XE was able to win against competition like; the Mazda MX-5, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, and the Fiat 500X.
The all-new XE is quickly showing a trend of being a winner, this was the second award won by the new Jaguar. The XE was also awarded “Best Production Car” by Auto Plus Magazine and the listeners of French radio station RTL. Based on the amount of innovative technology and performance this car is packed with, Jaguar will need a new wing on their corporate offices to hold the awards this car will win.
We (the consumers) can read every review and analyze each test-drive until we know as much as the test engineers do, but when the rubber meets the road, will the XE live up to the social media hype? If the sedan continues to win awards, it will be hard to resist giving this highly anticipated car a look or even a test drive. I’m already trying to line up my road test in the new XE, so line up behind me!
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by Steve Favill
The first car that I bought myself was a 1965 Austin Mini 850 Deluxe. The “Deluxe” upgrade had included corner over-riders on front and rear bumpers, two additional gauges, one each side of the speedometer which indicated coolant temperature and, I think, oil pressure, which meant nothing to me as a callow youth.
EBF486C, finished in Trafalgar Blue with grey vinyl interior, was surprisingly reliable, despite my well-meaning but still comparative neglect. It was reasonably quick, by virtue of the fact that it weighed next to nothing, and the wheel in each far corner of the car meant that it handled better than even its designer had ever imagined. Sliding windows in the front doors and cable pulls with which to open them were just a part of its undeniable charm. It carried me to and from police training college out Coventry way in the English Midlands, and never failed to get me to my destination, wherever that was.
One of the faults that I can remember was a dead water pump, which required removal of the radiator together with a number of other items just to reach the bolts (and which needed doing again after finding out that I had goofed something up). I had an early deadline the following morning and, thanks to my father and brother who burned the midnight oil to get the job done for me while I caught some sleep, I was able to make it on time.
The only other issue which I can remember, other than the never-ending battle with the dreaded tin-worm, was with an increasingly iffy fuel pump which always responded to a smart whack with something solid and heavy, and necessitated kneeling down, reaching underneath the rear subframe and administering the assault. Rewarded with the ticking that indicated renewed delivery of liquid dinosaur I would return to the driver’s seat, turn the key and continue my journey.
This tactic failed to work for me one wet morning when, on my way to perform another tour of duty as a British Bobby starting at 5.45 in the morning, the usual remedy of hitting the fuel pump finally failed to elicit as much as a token death rattle from the now thoroughly abused SU fuel pump.
Fortunately, I always carried a selection of basic hand tools with me wherever I went in this car and I also had a new replacement fuel pump in the boot. Deciding to carry out a roadside replacement, I eventually showed up for work 30 minutes late and received an almighty bollocking from my shift Inspector. This was before the cell phone was even thought of, and so a call to let them know was out of the question.
I eventually sold the car, as the offer of a much newer, larger and more exotic vehicle provided to be rather more tempting than my poor little Mini. Would I buy another? In a New York minute I would, which I suppose is the true test of how good a car really is.
by Joseph Scott
The reviews are in and Jaguar intends to impress you with a car that is everything you need and want. Jaguar’s XE sedan is currently being tested and the praise is plentiful.
You will have to decide if you trust each of the following reviews, but good or bad the press is about to bombard us with test drives and behind the wheel opinions. The Jaguar XE may be the most anticipated new car to launch in recent times, but will it impress or fall short of the media hype?
Let’s hear what some trusted sources are saying. Autoexpress.co.uk said “The XE doesn’t have the price advantage over rivals that some Jaguars have had, but all models tend to be slightly better equipped than rivals like-for-like. In such a hugely competitive sector, we’d expect maintenance costs for the Jaguar to be on par with rivals, too.”
The Express (Home of the Daily and Sunday Express) a UK online news source makes a bold statement with saying “Make no mistake; this car you see before you is probably Jaguar’s most important new car of the past twenty years if not more”. They go on to discuss how so much is a stake because this is also the car that will have to battle head-to-head with the mighty BMW 3-Series; a vehicle that many feel may be the benchmark in the premium market.
If we consider that the XE is about to enter the ring with the German trio (BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz), we need to look closely at the tale of the tape. The XE is sporting an all-new platform, all-new engines, and all-new styling…but is it enough? The XE is loaded with a long list of innovative and cutting edge tools and it knows how to use them.
Jonny Lieberman at Motor Trend says “I want this car now!” He seemed overjoyed after his test drive saying “I was pleasantly shocked by my own smile after about one mile of road time”. Speaking about the handling and tyres he said “Those tyres not only hold like a baby possum, but feature a great combination of elegant ride quality and low road noise”. He described his XE S experience “Ride quality is exemplary at normal speeds, and things stay smooth and relaxed up to 120 mph – Then, crack the wheel and you’re treated to about the best handling small premium sports sedan there is.”
Dan Prosser (EVO Magazine/Online) said “First impressions are very positive indeed. It seems to sit closer to the BMW 3-Series than the more luxurious Mercedes C-Class, but it actually combines the best of both – that is to say it handles very sharply and real composure through corners, but it also smothers bumps and road surface imperfections too.” He also makes a statement to those who have said its styling has missed the mark and is not distinctive enough by saying “Out on the open road the XE looks more attractive than it did on the motor show stands.”
Don’t expect all this luxury and performance to be out of reach for consumers; the estimated cost of the Jaguar XE S is just over $68,000. And that puts you behind the wheel of the 3-litre V6 Supercharged sedan with 335 horsepower capable of zero to 60 mph in just under 5 seconds (4.9) and a top speed of 155 mph.
The XE is due to go on sale in the UK in May of 2015, but not hit American soil until early 2016. Stay tuned as we bring more XE news and reviews in the next few days.
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