Lyonheart a tribute to iconic E-Type
Many people, Jaguar head of design Ian Callum among them, have proposed updating and re-inventing the iconic E-Type for the new millennium.
After all, it's difficult to improve on a shape that was described by Enzo Ferrari as "the most beautiful car in the world".
But somehow, all the sketches and concepts we've seen have failed to capture the essential sleekness of the E-Type, the perfect curve of bonnet and door into rear wheel-arch that defines the car.
Even Callum's F-Type - while it is admittedly a lovely little car - doesn't have the feral grace of Bill (later Sir William) Lyons' 1960 original.
The Lyonheart K, however, does.
THE NAME SAYS IT ALL
The exclusively hand-built Lyonheart K Coupé and K Convertible sports cars, first shown in February this year, were designed by Robert Palm and Bo Zolland of Swiss design studio Classis Factory as a tribute to the E-Type.
This is how generations of Jaguar enthusiasts have envisaged the F-Type, with an oval grille, stainless-steel body trim, and optional 20" spoked wheels.
The cockpit rings the same bell with soft leather upholstery, retro-style instruments, specially-made switches and brushed aluminum, stainless-steel or chromed metal trim elements.
It's brought right up to date, however, with bi-zenon headlights, a stainless-steel dual exhaust system, a power-operated soft top that can be raised or lowered in only 12 seconds at up to 50kmh.
And behind the old-school veneer there's a Bowers & Wilkins audio system, Bluetooth/iPod/USB connectivity and a retractable infotainment system with a 180mm display.
Both K models have a Cosworth-tuned, five-litre, supercharged V8, front-mounted in a fabricated all-aluminium chassis with multilink suspension all round, driving the rear wheels via a six-speed auto transmission.
It's rated at 420kW and 700Nm, enough to take either version to 100km/h in less than four seconds and on to an electronically limited 300km/h top speed.
Orders are now open, at €360 000 (R4.3 million) for the Coupé and €375 000 (R4.5 million) for the Convertible, ex works - VAT and delivery anywhere outside the EU and Switzerland will be extra.
Total production of both models will be limited to just 250 examples, to be built between December 2013 and mid-2015 by specialist bespoke carmakers the Envisage Group in Coventry. Due to demand, say the makers, the delivery time for Lyonheart K's is now 18-24 months.