Evolution E-Type Jaguar E-Type

Evolution E-Type
© Ian Wright – New World Designs Ltd

The Jaguar E-Type is an untouchable automotive icon. Now, restomod specialist, Evolution E-Types, is taking the iconic chassis and bringing it roaring into the modern age. And it’s not the only one…

To mangle the title of a Blur album, modern cars are rubbish. Obviously, they’re technological miracles that have improved in every aspect, except for the most important: styling. These days they’re mostly cookie-cutter, dull-looking things.

You know who’s to blame: the blasted health and safety executive; smoothing off angles, demanding bigger bumpers and raked-back radiators and windscreens, for no better reason than the preservation of life. Before crash testing became a thing, car designers let their imagination do the talking. In the days before computer-aided graphics programmes, they relied on the simple stroke of a pencil and a lust for beauty.

Evolution E-Type
Evolution E-Types has been crafting exquisitely optimised Jaguar E-Types from the ground up since 1995.

The off-putting thing about classic cars, apart from a lack of airbags, is that they break down more often than Britney Spears and, in these worrying times, they’re no friend of the polar bear. Imagine if you could have an automobile with the unfiltered vintage design of, say, a Jaguar E-Type, but with a state-of-the-art powertrain, safety cell and creature comforts? Welcome to the rarefied world of Evolution E-Types.

The term ‘modern classic’ gets bandied about more often than Brexit right now but this is one of the cases where it’s justified, and not just as a turn of phrase. The entire god-given mandate of Evolution E-Types is to make one of the most stunning chassis ever conceived fit for the modern era.

It’s a worthy task and one that began 25 years ago. Founder Uryk Dmyterko was initially contracted to restore a stunning Series 1 E-Type Roadster to concours standard. It was easier said than done, and Dmyterko had to resort to building his own parts, eventually caving in and re-building the entire sub frame assembly.

Well, once word got out, Dmyterko became the belle of the ball, courted by anyone with a rusting E-Type in need of some extra parts. A thriving parts business however wasn’t enough. I don’t blame him, personally. And so he set out to create the finest car ever built under the name Evolution E-Types.

Evolution E-Types

Evolution really is the perfect word for what the restomod specialist does. It takes and restores the bare bones of an E-Type, bringing it back to its lovely vintage self, right down to the aluminium monocoque. Inside, it’s another story.

In their latest roadster for example, the team installed a five-litre high-torque engine with sequential fuel injection, an EDIS ignition system and a fully-programmed engine management system. In short, the most fitting modern engine around.

There are purists out there that will be hanging their heads in shame at the thought of anyone touching such an iconic car; but then they’re the same kind of gentleman that’s happy with the rotting window frames of their country homes because they’re ‘a period feature’. Those people are obviously wrong. Breaking down is not ‘charming’.

What naysayers don’t seem to understand is context. If the E-Type was built today, it would utilise the best technology available, the same enhancements that Evolution E-Types offers across its cars. Jaguar is the last marque to be stuck in the past and, while the design is timeless and always will be, that’s all it is: design. It’s the façade of that aforementioned country home. Evolution turns it from a crumbling mess into a home fit for a reclusive oligarch.

Evolution E-Types of course is not the only restomod specialist out there and, while it may have cornered the market on the iconic Jaguar, there are plenty of other classics out there in need of an update. Here are the ones you should know…

Alfaholics Alfa Romeo GTA-R

Alfaholics GTA-R
© Gerard Hughes Photography 2014

Who knew that Bristol has been the epicentre of Alfa Romeo 105 Series restoration and souping for the past 35 years? R-Types were and remain one of the most vivacious and charismatic road-to-track cars ever made but, being Italian and from the ‘60s, good luck making it to where you’re going. Brothers Richard, Max and Andrew Banks retain all the flair and character of the original but dispose with the mood-swings. Starting at £120,000 for a fully built R-type, the feather-light customisation gets as technical as you want it to, with engine maps, gear ratios, suspension and damping all bespoked to suit your driving style. Ideal for historic racing and well as posing; alfaholics.com

Mechatronik Mercedes-Benz W111 Coupe

Mechatronik W111 Coupe
© OV MEDIA

Mercedes-Benz’s W111 Coupe remains a truly gentlemanly steed, but puffs of dense smoke should be consigned to the cigar you dangle from the door sill, not the throaty exhaust. To improve the whole experience, like a new lining on a vintage suit, German engineers Mechatronik will, for just under £400,000, restore the 1960s lux-mobile and add a 415bhp 5.5-litre V8 AMG motor, modern suspension and safety equipment; that of a 2019 SLK 55 AMG, but suddenly a whole tonne cooler. Yearn for a Richard Burton spy thriller from 50 years ago? This is that movie, but remastered.

Jensen International Automotive Interceptor R Supercharged

Jensen International Automotive Interceptor R Supercharged

This reimagining of the classic Jensen Interceptor has the musk of a 1970’s leading man, but it’ll never stall or be locked up for historic sexual offences. Making a clean getaway is its Cadillac-derived 650bhp supercharged V8, six-speed automatic gearbox and cutting-edge traction control. Under the playboy skin, it boasts serious intellect with re-engineered suspension and ABS brakes, making it as sharp and comfortable as a brand-new Bavarian barnstormer. Inside, this £300,000 British icon differs slightly from its fully restored but original bodywork with connected infotainment, electric everything and quilted Scottish leather and Wilton carpets that are fresh and unblemished. Given the performance, that may not remain true of your licence, but if we were the constabulary and saw this car, we’d let you off. Respect; jensen-sales.com

Singer Porsche 911

Singer Porsche 911

The fabergé of the restomod scene, Singer Vehicle Design is lauded for its performance, taste and craftsmanship – and, accordingly, its products cost between £400k and over a million. The California company also has rock ‘n’ roll cred, given that founder Rob Dickinson (a Brit) was the frontman of 90s alternative band Catherine Wheel, and his cousin is Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden. But the loudest noise comes from his surgically enhanced Porsches. He takes 964-designation 911s, ie the early 90s third gen, then creates a stunning wide-hipped carbon-fibre body based on the original 1960s machine and inserts modern bits into the cracks. One for the minted Porsche connoisseur for whom the spanner-wielders in Stuttgart aren’t specialist enough.

Frontline Developments MGB Roadster

Frontline Developments MGB Roadster

Located in Oxfordshire, Frontline has been improving upon MG’s iconic products for three decades, from Midget tweaks to full bespoke builds of classic MGBs with 304bhp, Mazda engines that’ll fire them towards 160mph and 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. Things like electric steering and sound-deadening make it a most comfortable proposition, except for perhaps the price. While you can get a good original for well under £10k, the Abingdon-edition MGB resto-mod costs ten times that.

Ares Design ’64 Corvette Stingray

Ares Design '64 Corvette Stingray
© Maroccia Photography

Based in Italy’s supercar mecca of Modena, atelier Ares Design has taken what may be the hottest-looking American two-seater of all time and spent 3,500 hours marrying it to the underpinnings of a 2017 Corvette C7. You’d be hard-pressed to be able to distinguish this from a 1964 Stingray without opening the bonnet, and therein lies the surprise: a brand-new 6.2 litre LS3 V8 pumping out 525bhp. The handling is 21st century, while the sound it makes is timeless. A maximum of 15 are being built to order, priced around £320,000.