Auto blogMon, 02 Jun 2014 19:57:00 EST
Jay Leno has been in a British mood recently with his videos highlighting the McLaren P1, 1962 Norton 650SS and Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS. He's keeping the streak alive this week with a look at driving a Jaguar XK120 in the 2014 Mille Miglia historic rally with Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum.
The video show off Jay Leno's Garage in top form. It's way more than just Jay driving the 1,000-mile route from Brescia, Italy, to Rome and back. He also includes interviews with Stirling Moss about winning the race back in 1955, and racer Martin Brundle about what it's like to drive a long-nose Jaguar D-Type this year.
Today, the Mille Miglia is only for historic cars, and it has a much more relaxed pace than the original all-out event. However, this isn't entirely a cruise. Leno seems scared at times talking about it because the drivers are free to ignore the speed limits and open the cars up as much as they are willing to. The roads aren't shut down for regular traffic, either, and things can be dangerous.
Jaguar is known for designing luxury sedans, and it's known for designing GTs. But once in a while it dabbles in a new area of transportation design. It's working on its first crossover at the moment, and even did a speedboat concept a couple of years ago. Now it's turned its attention to bicycles.
While many automakers have designed bikes in the past, Jaguar's project has a bit more of a direct correlation. It's been working with Team Sky - the outfit that has won the Tour de France two years running now - since 2010, furnishing the team with support vehicles for bicycle races around the world. But now it's stepping its collaboration up a notch by redesigning the team's bike.
Working with frame manufacturer Pinarello, Jaguar took the existing Dogma 65.1 racing bike design back to the drawing board. Jaguar's designers and engineers reshaped the frame tubes, seat post, front fork, derailleur and all the components attached to the frame, each part streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency. They ran it through Jaguar's Computational Fluid Dynamics processor 300 times then verified the results in the wind tunnel.
Steve McQueen might be the coolest American male of the 20th century. With movies like Bullitt and Le Mans, McQueen established himself as the king of cool of his era, and on the list of actors you would pick for a fantasy racing team - he or Paul Newman are the natural first choices. The latest Jay Leno's Garage video highlights one of McQueen's most special cars - a 1956 Jaguar XKSS.
Just 16 XKSS models were made because a fire at the Jaguar factory halted production. It was meant to be a street version of the company's very successful D-Type racer, with a modified version of its 3.4-liter straight-six-engine and a four-speed manual gearbox. McQueen clearly had an eye for great vehicles. He drove his Jag around Los Angeles years after it was a cutting-edge piece of technology. Since then, it became part of the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. Autoblog's The List even took a ride in it when the show visited the museum.
The XKSS is one of the pinnacles of automotive design of the '50s, and its association with McQueen makes this example even more extraordinary. Leno is in love with the car from the moment he sees it, and it's hard to argue with him. Between its emphasized curves and raspy exhaust, this is one sexy Jag. Scroll down to get an eyeful and earful from one of McQueen's favorite cars.
Roadkill hosts Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger have broken up - kinda - to spin off a new show, Hot Rod Garage, that mostly gives up the driveway and parking lot wrench work for the confines of a garage. We say kinda because while Finnegan is the primary host for Hot Rod Garage, Freiburger plays guest host and the new show starts off by wrenching on the Roadkill Draguar project car.
What's the Draguar? It's a 1974 Jaguar XJ12 that's about to be force-fed a 383-cubic-inch Chevrolet long-block engine with tidbits like Holley carbs, a Weiand 6-71 roots blower and a "custom WillBlow transmission," all good for about 700 horsepower. After that Finnegan gets into swapping parts on his wife's El Camino and some TIG welding lessons.
You can check out the first episode below. And in case you're worried, no, Roadkill isn't going away.
Jaguar is happy to show off its new XE sedan on its social media sites, but when testing at the Nürburgring, it's a very different story. These spy shots show the new model in camouflage to make it much harder to discern, but there are still some intriguing details to pick out.
These photos give us a really good look at the XE's quirky rear end. The sedan has a super short trunk that almost fools you into thinking its a notchback, but the top edge of the trunk is clearly visible. It's a somewhat odd-looking design with the rear glass running underneath the roof's overhang to create an integrated spoiler. Despite the camo, the front end is the same as ever with a blunt edge and sharp headlights. Jag certainly isn't afraid to try something a little different compared to the XE's competitors, notably the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Some technical details about the XE are already established. This 3 Series-fighter is slated to go on sale in foreign markets in 2015 and in the US in 2016. We know that it ride's on Jag's new aluminum platform that also underpins the C-X17 crossover concept, and power comes from a pair of 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, available in petrol- or diesel-fueled configurations.
Jaguar turned to Twitter and Facebook to reveal the production form of its coming XE sedan that we'll see for real at the Paris Motor Show. This is the first of a series of show-offs, Jaguar planning to wrap the bodywork in see-through camo that shows off the aluminum monocoque and other internals the company will use to promote the XE over its German rivals. That aluminum structure, which Jaguar calls iQ[Al], will also be used for other Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.
Underneath that long bonnet and ahead of that terribly short trunk will come a series of Ingenium engines, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines in diesel and petrol forms that will come in a variety of power options, and the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that can also be found in the F-Type. Before the XE goes on sale early next year, you can click the image above to get a slightly larger view of what the The Leaping Cat's near future looks like.
Back in February of 1963, Jaguar set about making a small run of lightweight E-Types. It recrafted the bodywork out of aluminum, shoehorned in a 3.8-liter straight-six with an aluminum block, stripped out the interior, removed the chrome trim and fitted lighter-weight side windows. The result was a 250-pound reduction in curb weight and a commensurate increase in performance, especially evident on the race track. The company originally set about building 18 examples, but only managed 12. The remaining six were allocated chassis numbers, but were never built. That is, until now.
Fifty years since the last of the original 12 lightweight E-Types were completed, Jaguar has announced that it is preparing to resume production and complete the final six examples. The company has assigned its top craftsmen to the job, who will build the half-dozen continuation Lightweights to the same exact specifications as the original dozen. Former sister-company and perennial arch-rival Aston Martin undertook a similar task (or at least authorized Zagato to do so) when it sanctioned four continuation examples of the original DB4 GT Zagato based on original chassis numbers in 1988, and another two based on original body shells and stock DB4 chassis in 1992.
Jaguar has not yet announced pricing and availability for the continuation Lightweights, but the first old-is-new example is set to debut this summer, whereupon Coventry will release further details. You can bet, though, that each one will be snapped up rather quick at just about any price the British automaker cares to put on them.
Jaguar is in the middle of an image makeover. It wants people to know that it makes more than just big, comfy luxury cars. Underneath that there is an edge. In its recent ads, the company wants to be associated with a more tailored, witty form of villainy. The next step is showing that it's also fearless.
Many Americans might not be familiar with José Mourinho, but he's one of the premier soccer, or football, coaches in the world. He's nicknamed "The Special One." Mourinho worked his way up from an assistant coach to lead small teams but eventually took over international heavyweights like Real Madrid and Chelsea.
In a new ad for the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Mourinho talks about what it means to be afraid. You might think such successful people overcome their fears, but successful men are driven it, he claims. But being scared doesn't make a man weak - it makes him dangerous. Scroll down to understand what Mourinho is talking about and get an earful from the wonderful exhaust of the R Coupe.
Jaguar has moved its Range Rover Evoque-bodied tests of the production C-X17 Concept from icy streets to the legendary Nürburgring, as work continues on the brand's first SUV.
Really, there's not a great deal of new stuff here. Based on the number plates, this is a different vehicle from the one we saw back in March, which we originally identified as the upcoming replacement for the Land Rover Freelander/LR2. The details, though, appear largely the same. The biggest distinction we can see between the March tests and this are the US-spec headlights, which add amber reflectors at their sides. Based on these shots, it does seem as if the C-X17 should be a fairly poised road vehicle, as the engineers hustle it around the 'Ring.
Of course, as soon our spies can capture images of a production-bodied C-X17, we'll be sure to pass those on to you. Until then, take a look up top for images of the Range Rover-bodied Jaguar as it tests at Germany's Nürburgring. You can also scroll down for our March images for the C-X17 mules testing on public roads.
With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.
Take Jaguar Land Rover, recalls of whose vehicles we only seem to have cause to report about once a year. So if you're figuring they're about due, here you go. The Indian-owned British auto group has just announced two recalls, both regarding suspension components: one affecting Jaguars and another concerning - you guessed it - Land Rovers.
First up we have a recall for 2013 to 2014 model year Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models - a whopping 297 of them - which have been found to have problematic toe links. Separation of the toe link from the rear sub-frame could result in impaired stability and control over the vehicle's direction, so JLR is calling them in to replace the nuts and washers on the rear toe links.