The title of Autocar magazine’s article in October 1967 said it all: ‘Bertone-Jaguar: no dream car – but not for you and me’. This one-off gran turismo wasn’t the first Bertone-bodied Jaguar, witness the Franco Scaglione-styled XK150 and Marcello Gandini-designed ‘FT’ that was based variously on S-type and 420 saloon foundations for Italy’s marque concessionaire, Ferruchio Tarchini. However, in this particular instance, there was no intention of making the Pirana in even the most limited of numbers. It was a concept queen, and a compelling one.
It was a car that was literally and figuratively created by accident. Guyson International MD, Jim Thompson, was a keen hillclimb racer. However, for all his apparent skill behind the wheel, even he couldn’t stop his V12 Jaguar E-type from connecting with something immovable one dark and stormy night in 1973.
Which do we think is the best Sixties coupe out of an iconic E-type 4.2 and an equally famous Aston Martin DB6 4.0? There's only one way to find out and that's to drive these two beautiful British sports cars side-by-side.
It might be one of most important Jaguars ever built, but the career of 9600 HP hasn’t all been about fame and fortune. Richard Gunn tells the tale of the rise, fall and rise again of the world’s oldest E-Type FHC.