Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

We find a very French interpretation of the E-Type in a lightweight style



CLASSIC DRIVE Unique Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

E-type lightweight A unique French take on creating a homage to the lightweight racers.

In the world of classic cars the business of doing something different often tends to be disappointingly follow-the-herd: witness the hordes of Sebring-kitted MGBs out there, all those ‘backdated’ 1980s Porsche 911s – and let’s not overlook the countless DeLorean DMC-12s bedecked with Weetabix-box-and-Dymo-tape Flux Capacitors.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

The Jaguar world tends to avoid the problem to some extent, particularly the E-Type where ever-rising values tend to discourage significant body modification. If you do see an E-Type which has been heavily modified, it’s likely to be a high-budget job and will more than likely be a slavish homage to the famous lightweight-bodied racers with their drilled bodywork and riveted extensions.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

What it most certainly won’t be – mainly because it’s either unique or one of only two made, depending on who you believe – is anything quite like the car you see here. Bodied in a lightweight style but influenced by the styling of Ferrari’s 1950s Monza racers, the car has had a fascinating history since first leaving Coventry and stands out in the E-Type world as something refreshingly different.

Others may disagree of course, but that’s certainly what we thought when owner Paul Briggs first showed us some photos of the car. We’d been discussing his plans to outfit his Series 3 (itself a car with an interesting provenance) with a Tremec five-speed box, but when we noticed the red car in the background, sensible discussion of manual gearbox conversions in classic Jaguars rather went out of the window.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

“It’s like Wallace and Gromit meet Malcolm Sayer,” laughs Paul which sums up the car rather neatly, although it seems like the workmanship which went into both the restoration and modification was top notch.

The car itself began life in 1967 and was despatched to its first owner, a Shirley Edghill via Jaguar Cars in New York, with the Jaguar remaining in the USA until 1996 when it was imported to Toulouse by new owner Jacques Baron.

On arrival in France it was entrusted to well-known French E-Type specialist Serge Bouzignac, who was tasked with restoring the car and converting it to an evocation of the lightweight racers similar to a blue 1962 coupe he had already created. The engine, gearbox and suspension were also rebuilt and in 2000 the Jaguar passed to its second French owner, M. Labourie who it seems was living something of a dream life down in the South of France: he reputedly used the E-Type simply to travel between his house and his yacht...

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

In 2009 M Labourie sold the car to a friend, Stéphane Berteil, who sent the car back to the same restoration firm, by then operated by M Bouzignac’s nephew where it underwent a complete nut-and-bolt restoration and a second engine refresh with a rebuilt cylinder head.

After presumably realising that 13,500km in 12 years meant he wasn’t really using his E-Type enough, MBerteil put the car up for sale through a Biarritz classic car dealer. It was at this point that the Jaguar finally returned to its homeland, being acquired by a well-known UK collector who obviously recognised its potential and set about uncovering it before offering it through a Historics auction last year.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1 - interior

And it was at this point that the car came into Paul’s possession, ironically enough while he was on a JLR customer experience day sampling the new Defender. During a break in proceedings scrolling through classic car auctions on his phone (come on, we all do it...) Paul noticed the red E-Type hadn’t sold and put in an offer. The phone rang shortly afterwards, a deal was done and a new Defender found itself hitched up to a trailer the following day to bring it home. Flicking through the massive collection of photos in the car’s history folder, it’s obvious that the second restoration was a properly thorough job, with the closeups of details like the engine frame and underside showing just how solid the car is.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1 - engine

The photos also show that those responsible for the visual side of things didn’t really know where to stop: the white bonnet striping and ‘Jaguar’ lettering up the sills was more Hot Wheels than Le Mans, the three-spoke Momo steeringwheel was a couple of decades out of step and the seats on arrival from France were a pair of modern Recaros, since replaced by the brown period buckets it has now. These also have the advantage of allowing drivers of normal height to see out of the car without peering under the screen rail. Further mechanical fettling also took place at this point with the car gaining a Rob Beere Racing adjustable load valve for the power steering which Paul reckons makes for an interesting modification. The Triple-SU 4.2 XK engine remains essentially as it was when reassembled for the second time, although there’s a stainless exhaust system fed by ceramic-coated tubular headers and Paul reckons it runs a slightly higher 9.5:1 compression.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

The original four-speeder has been replaced by a Tremec five-speed, while the stopping is taken care of by uprated Coopercraft front calipers, the originals having been repurposed to the rear. Even on a cold winter’s day the bright red E-Type really grabs your attention and it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a roadster rather than a coupe – the lightweight hardtop really completes the look, as do the period Minilite wheels, staggered in the best tradition at eight inch front and nine inch rear. Sticking to a 16-inch wheel also means period-looking tyres can be mounted, in this case 215/60 front and 245/55 rear which provide a superb stance, the lack of bumpers giving the E-Type a dramatically different style.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

The bodywork itself is an intriguing creation. It’s clearly involved some skilled craftsmanship to build the driving lights into the bonnet and to fabricate the rear end, some of which has been done in composite material. To my mind the great thing about it is that it isn’t a slavish recreation of the famous lightweight racers, but presumably one person’s vision of what a period racing E-Type could have looked like, with a hint of ’50s Ferrari mixed in.

Whatever its origins, it looks tremendous, all the better for being something slightly eccentric and it’s also been put together with real care. As Paul’s discovered when working on the car, things like shakeproof washers at important points suggest a proper attention to detail and as an engineer he’s somebody who spots these things.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

As a result, it drives really very nicely and is much less intimidating than the racy exterior might suggest. As we wait for it to clear its throat while chugging along local lanes, Paul explains that he plans to tweak the SU carbs to make it more tractable from cold but with modern electronic ignition, once warmed through it’s quite happy in urban use, yet sounds superb through the stainless pipes as it passes the camera for our action shots. The suspension features Koni dampers but is otherwise standard which equates to a very civilised ride and the surprise is that despite its outlandish looks this is a car you really could use on the road regularly – and with the five-speed box for longer trips, too.

Unique 1967 Jaguar E-Type Monza-style Series 1

No, it may not be one for the concours purists, but as a beacon of individuality in the world of classic cars it was a fine way to cap off the year.

Despite its outlandish looks this is car you really could use on the road regularly

Staggered wheels fill the arches nicely. Sticking to a 16-inch rim means a period-appropriate tyre profile. Modified bodywork has taken some real skill. Bonnet remains all metal, while rear is partly composite.

Car is actually a roadster, but the hardtop completes the style nicely.

Although the engine spec is essentially standard, the stainless pipes give it a soundtrack to match the looks.

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