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2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

We discuss the new 2013 F-Type and the classic E-Type with Jaguar designer Ian Callum

Kyle Fortune
Nov 8, 2012 SHARE
Epcp 1211 01 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+front view Photo 1/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

"If you want an E-Type then buy an E-Type," suggested Ian Callum, Jaguar's Director of Design. The F-Type isn't an E-Type replacement, he insisted - even if the presentation of the C-X16 coupe concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show that previewed this F-Type's design was awash with E-Type imagery...

Epcp 1211 02 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+rear view Photo 2/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

And why shouldn't it be? The E-Type is as iconic a sports car as you can get, so Jaguar rightfully trades on its heritage when introducing the F-Type - giving europeancarweb.com an excuse to bring them together for this exclusive photo shoot.

Callum was adamant the F-Type shouldn't be a retro E, against internal pressure to replicate the famously curvaceous shape of the 1960s machine. He admitted "Of course, the E-Type was in our minds when we designed the F-Type, but I told my team to forget about it."

The E-Type is, as Callum said, "Of an era; it's beautiful, but it's from another era. When you see the cars together you appreciate that; one is now and one was then."

Epcp 1211 06 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+headlight Photo 6/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

Describing the F-Type's design, Callum allowed that "any similarities were the result of first principles rather than trying to emulate something else." There are some styling cues which, when the two cars are together, define the lineage. And Callum isn't apologetic about this, singling out the tail lights as evocative and characteristic, saying "if we're going to pull something from the past and use it as a point of inspiration, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as it has merit in its own right."

As Callum said, "You can't use the past as an excuse," yet the E-Type was undeniably a motivating factor in the development of the F-Type. Key to that push was Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Group, and now Jaguar Land Rover's owner. And since Callum and his team (of Matt Beaven, Julian Thomson and Alister Whelan) had long toyed with a two-seat sports car, when Tata Group acquired Jaguar the team gained a powerful ally. "It was more than a pure business decision for Ratan Tata because he had bought into the brand," explained Callum. "He understood that sports cars are at the core of that brand."

Tata met Callum, determined to produce a sports car. So the project, which previously had no place in the company's planning, was fast tracked.

More than just pushing the button, Tata was hands on. Callum acknowledged that Ratan, who's a trained architect, influenced how the headlights follow the line of the front fenders and climb up the head, whereas early styling sketches had more in common with the company's sedans.

Epcp 1211 07 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+old interior Photo 7/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

What's surprising is how long it took to reach fruition. Not the F-Type (which took 2.5 years from plan to being parked alongside its relation); but that it took Jaguar so long to return to the two-seat sports car market. The XJS and XK might have sated demand for a sporting coupe, but neither captured the enthusiasm of the E-Type, and neither featured in the C-X16's Frankfurt unveiling.

It is hardly surprising that since the E's demise in the early '70s there's been talk of a replacement. Commentators have long suggesting such a car would slot into the Jaguar range to compete against the Boxster. However, the F-Type's anticipated pricing pitches it between the Boxster and 911, with it gravitating towards the rear-engined icon rather than its mid-engined sibling.

That's not done anything to dent anticipation for the F. Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's Global Brand Director, boasted that initial interest in the sports car rivaled the Range Rover Evoque. And we all know what that's done for Land Rover's business...

The F-Type might be an entirely different proposition and price point, but as a brand-building exercise, its importance can't be underestimated.

Epcp 1211 08 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+new interior Photo 8/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

Will the F-Type captivate drivers in the same way the E-Type did? As an example, the svelte lines of the '60's roadster pictured here are the stuff of dreams for owner Nigel Harper. Realizing the ambition of owning an E-Type seven years ago, he was adamant "It had to be 4.2 Series 1 Roadster."

Nigel admired the F-Type, but only had eyes for his stunning Regency Red E-Type. That's entirely understandable when you see them alongside one another. More than 45 years separate these cars, and while Callum's polite nod to the E is more obvious when they're sharing space on a wet English hillside, the differences dramatically delineate the passage of time.

As Callum said, the E is of an era, and one unhindered by the myriad of regulations that define modern cars. That's why he's keen about the F-Type's rear - and jokes it'll be the aspect most people see. It's also where the designers had the most freedom, since the front must adhere to engine positioning, crash protection, lighting regulations and pedestrian safety, etc.

Lift the hood of the F-Type and there's a sea of plastic covers and pedestrian cushioning airbags. Glance under the E-Type's hood and everything is visible and beautiful - but simply not possible today.

Epcp 1211 09 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+front view Photo 12/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

Likewise the interior: The E-Type pre-dates any consideration to ergonomics, packaging and crash protection. For the F, Callum admitted to admiring the panoramic interior of the Porsche 928, penned by fellow Scotsman and Royal College of Art contemporary Dawson Sellar. As such, he wanted drama and driver focus, so the dashboard is as low as possible, requiring its clever pop-up air vents in the center console. They appear when needed and added an element of "surprise and delight".

The deliberately mechanical feel of the switches was driven by Julian Thomson, while the gear lever - replacing Jaguar's signature pop-up shifter - was encouraged by many, including Tata himself.

The result is what Callum describes as reminiscent of Jaguars past, yet very modern. The fabric roof? The idea of a folding hard-top was quickly dropped, having explored it for the XK but dismissing it. Callum described the folding soft-top as a "Hugely efficient piece of technology," with the Z-fold helping with packaging.

Crucially in a car describes as being "stretched over the mechanicals," the only indulgence Callum admitted to was the line over the rear haunches. Loving the purity of its form, it tapers to a conclusion at the rear.

Epcp 1211 13 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+jaguar logo Photo 13/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive

The designer describes the F-Type as a "happy car." It's also the first he's worked on that he'd buy himself. Perhaps not as a convertible though, but it's an open secret the coupe will join the roadster soon. "If such a car were to exist," Callum said, it's the one he'd buy.

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Epcp 1211 23 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+steering wheel cap Photo 24/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive
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Epcp 1211 57 o+2013 jaguar f type VS e+dip stick Photo 57/57   |   2013 Jaguar F-Type VS E-Type - Web Exclusive
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By Kyle Fortune
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