E-Type Zero wins at GQ Magazine car awards

Jaguar's sublime E-Type Zero has scooped the award for 'Best Use of Electricity Since the Lightbulb' at the recent GQ Magazine car awards, reflecting a perhaps increasing acceptance of the role of the classic car in modern society.

The leading men's fashion and style magazine is an authority on all things sartorial, and their inclusion of an electric car in their annual awards is an interesting acknowledgment that the new technology is finally beginning to find a home in the mainstream.

And it makes sense that GQ would include the E-Type Zero, of all possible electric cars. The Prius is for greenies, Teslas are for slightly eccentric members of the upper-middle-classes, and the less that's said about the Mitsubishi I-Miev, the better. But the E-Type Zero? That's an electric car that any sartorially aware gent (or gal) would be thrilled to experience. 

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Classic car purists needn't fret, because the brilliance of the E-Type Zero is that the complete conversion is reversible. You just remove that glorious straight-six lump, polish it up, and put it on display in the garage next to your E-Type. It's a new concept, but it's essentially future-proofing the enjoyment of classic cars.

It's a crucial point that's made by Tim Hannig, JLR Classic director. "It's not unthinkable that a city like London could ban internal combustion vehicles at some point in the future, so we think this is a way of future-proofing classic car ownership. The E-Type's the most tightly packaged Jaguar, we haven't changed the structure at all, so we can convert any classic Jaguar into an EV. 

The conversion won't ruin the driving experience, but there's no doubt that it will significantly alter it. Gone is that magnificent straight-six noise, which is something that no EV will ever be able to replace. However, in its place is the constant torque and added urgency that electric engines deliver. Given that the complete electric package is actually 80kg lighter than the old greasy parts that come out, it's pretty easy to see that the E-Type Zero will not only be faster in a straight line, but it should be a little more dynamically polished, too.

There are other benefits as well. Gone are the constant tuning sessions to synchronise those carburettors, gone is the hunt for high-octane fuel on remote road trips, and gone is the anxiety of keeping a constant eye on the temperature gauge in summer. Imagine being able to drive through the heavy Goodwood Revival traffic in a classic E-Type without a care in the world - unheard of!

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True, the E-Type Zero is not for everyone. In fact, the engineering team even nicknamed the car 'Marmite' throughout its development phase. And there's no denying that the original soul is stripped out of the car, and it loses those romantic elements that have made the E-Type such a treasure. The little pops and cracks on overrun, the induction roar, and that warming smell of burnt fuel in the garage after a long day of driving. But every romantic element that is lost is replaced by one of usability. There's a lot to be said for being able to just jump in and go, and anyway, it's unlikely that the E-Type Zero won't also share garage space with other combustion-engined classics.

And we guess that's why GQ picked it as their Best Use of Electricity Since the Lightbulb. Cars are meant to enhance your life, they are meant to be driven places and enjoyed with the people who matter most to you. And anything that improves the chances of that happening has got to be good. 

Words by Andrew Coles

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