THE PERFECT EVOLUTION OF THE JAGUAR E-TYPE COUPE
Is this the most beautiful e-type coupe in the world? Probably. Even under the unflattering light of workshop fluorescents, this car looks fantastic, it’s silver flanks somehow more tautly stretched over it’s wheels than any other e-type coupe, it’s stance more purposeful. It’s an e-type with exquisite detailing, every line and detail honed to perfection.
The classic car world has seen a seismic shift in attitudes and tastes concerning restoration and modification. Modifying – which once meant adding flares and modern wheels and tires to old cars to keep them competitive in club racing – has culminating today in a new acceptance of modernised and improved classics that are being produced to an unprecedented quality. Henry Pearman’s Eagle E-type concern was one of the pioneers of high quailty improvements to classics, and since then Singer’s re-engineered 911s, Rod Emory’s 356s and Alfaholics Alfa GTVs have made this sort of work into a de facto movement in the classic car world. Re-engineered classics are now incredibly high quality products that exist in the rareified market of bespoke builds for discerning clients. Super collector Clive Beacham uses an Alfaholics GTV as his daily driver, and Prince Salman drives an Eagle E-type.
Commissioning a bespoke build is a very personal decision. The owner of this E-type had enjoyed many fine performance cars, but this was his first classic. The 1968 Series one and a half was a fine low mileage example sourced through Motorcars Incorporated in Connecticut, who had known and serviced the car for many years. The owner was seduced by the raw involvement of driving an e-type, and started to think about how the car could be improved and made as good as it could possibly be. Fortunately Motorcars Incorporated has been a family business focused on servicing, maintaining and restoring Jaguar E-types for 55 years, and current owner Dean Cusano had spent most of his life thinking about how to build the perfect e-type.
The starting point was a good sound car that had already been modified from standard – at some point in it’s life it had acquired a series one bonnet with custom faired in foglamps commissioned by a previous owner who loved the nose of the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso – so it made perfect sense to continue to modify and improve it. A special name needed to be chosen for the project, and with the coupe’s Ferrari like nose it seemed appropriate to refer to that most famous of e-type fanciers and call it ENZOSEZ…Enzo Ferrari having famously stated during the e-type coupe’s launch at the Geneva motorshow in 1961 that it was “the most beautiful car in the world”.
Dean had spent years planning just such an e-type build, so the plans came together quickly. It was a dream commission and a chance to focus all of the knowledge that Motorcars Incorprated had learned from restoring and racing e-types over the years on building one perfect coupe.
The car was disassembled, every part numbered and bagged and then the new build began. The shell was seam welded and a cutom rollcage incorporated for rigidity and safety. The front subframe was strengthened with stronger frame rails. Every component was tested, renewed and rebuilt using racing grade parts. The suspension geometry was modified and redesigned around wider fifteen inch Dunlop wheels – eight inches wide at the front and nine inches at the rear, covered with Avon CR32 street legal tires with the correct original sidewall profiles. The rear track is now one and a half inches wider than standard, accomodated by flared rear wheel arch panels custom-made in steel by RS Panels to the same pattern as the alloy ones they make for the lightweight e-types.
The original 4.2L engine was rebuilt in house with Ross pistons to create a 10.25:1 compression ratio. The original triple two inch SU carburettor set up was rebuilt by Joe Curto of Long Island NY and along with a hotter camshaft the engine and free-flowing Classic Fab exhaust now makes an honest 315 hp on the premium 95 Octane gasoline which is available in the US. This now drives through a new Tremec five-speed manual transmission which feels positive, mechanical and accurate. That extra ratio coupled with the 3.54 final drive ratio makes the e-type’s gearing suitable to modern driving and traffic conditions. The braking system was renewed using new original type classic Dunlop calipers. The petrol tank is an alloy unit and the wheels are held on with lightweight racing three eared knock-off spinners.
The same theme of better than original continues on the interior. Everything appears stock at first glance, but actually the seats are racing shells which have been modified to incorporate a recline function, and upholstered in very fine black pleated leather and the headliner is black alcantara. Other than that the insterior is all standard e-type, including the original steering wheel with it’s iconic drilled alloy arms and slim beechwood rim.
The car came together smoothly and Dean hesitates when asked what was the most difficult part of the project – “getting the stance right”. The car sits lower than standard, the wider tires tucked up into the wheel wells and the whole car sits perfectly. It’s an indication of Dean and his team’s attention to detail and need for perfection, that they spent so long on this aspect of the car. This sort of rigor was applied to every detail of the car. Enzosez is an impressive piece of engineering, one man’s vision of the perfect e-type coupe, and another example of how bespoke classic car commissioning is producing exclusive handbuilt classic cars of unprecedented quality.