The Classic Driver Review
by Charis Whitcombe on 15th November 2013
Eagle E-Type Low Drag GT: Conquest or calamity?
Purists and pedants should cover their eyes now, as they’re not going to like this one little bit: Eagle’s latest creation is not just a re-engineered E-type (if ‘just’ is a suitable word in this context), it’s a low-drag coupé...
We’ve written about Eagle E-Types before. We’ve discussed how there will always be some people who flinch at the idea of ‘improving’, rather than simply restoring, a classic – especially a classic with the magical aura of an E-type Jag. But some enthusiasts feel differently: who recognise the delights of a car which retains the looks and essential character of a much-loved classic, but has the reliability and driveability of a more modern motor. Such as a 4.7-litre all-ally engine, sequential fuel injection and 5-speed gearbox. For the pragmatists among you, Eagle’s new Low Drag GT – with its streamlined aluminium body – will be the crème de la crème. La pièce de résistance. The icing on the cake, or whatever other cheesy metaphor you choose to use.
Modern features carefully hidden
Eagle calls its latest creation “a testament to the beauty of the original Jaguar E-type Low Drag Coupé”, but in keeping with the company’s ethos of adding practical improvements that don’t damage the spirit of the classic, the Eagle GT boasts such conveniences as a more spacious cockpit, recirculating air-con and a long-range fuel tank. The driver can luxuriate in the full leather trim, secure in the knowledge that the car hasn’t just had a thorough inspection, it has been comprehensively stripped to its barest bones, and rebuilt with either perfect original components, or (where considered appropriate) better-than-new replacements. There’s even the comfort of a well-concealed GPS navigation system: just don’t admit it to anyone and they’ll never know it's there.
It would be a joy to compare the driving experience of this carefully modernised Low Drag GT with the original Coupé – and if we’re ever given that opportunity, you will be the first to know about it. For now, however, we admit to feeling a certain attraction towards the ‘improved’ icons created by the likes of Eagle and Singer; and from this writer’s experience of driving ‘hybrid’ cars (as in a combination of old and new – we’re not suggesting they need an electric motor… ugh), there’s a real delight to the driving experience; it’s just a very different delight from that of a genuine classic, warts and all. And it goes without saying that the ‘modernisation’ only works when it’s carried out by the topmost experts in the field, as Eagle most certainly are.