RAC Cars News


Mixing The New With The Old

By raccars Published

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Owning a classic car is one of those common dreams to which reality can come as a disappointment - they may be very pretty to look at but living with and running a classic on a daily basis can be a challenge. One way around the inherent limitations of old car ownership is to add modern technology to the piece. There's a great fashion for updating classic shells with more advanced mechanicals, that should result in the best of both worlds - timeless elegance on the outside but modern refinement in action.

A case in point is the recent updating of a Mk2 Jaguar by the firm's design boss, Ian Callum. His personal project, the Mk2 was reformed in detail by specialists in the field of Classic Motor Cars. So successful was the project that CMC is now planning to produce a limited run of the same, for a fairly hefty £350,000 plus. Certainly it's expensive, but you're paying for something very rare and special.

Callum's personal Mk2, the one which started the project, spent 18 months receiving work to the bodyshell, the interior and under the bonnet, in the form of an upgraded 4.3 litre engine from the XK.

The Frontline Developments MG Abingdon Edition works along similar lines. MG roadster fans can benefit from a smart new 2.5 litre engine, as used in an MX-5, for 304bhp and a 0-60mph sprint time of 3.8 seconds. The same company has also dragged the MGB into the 21st century with its LE50.

Another ideal project for this sort of work is the gloriously beautiful but notoriously unpleasant Jensen Interceptor R. Jensen International Automotive of Oxfordshire has replaced the original clunky 6.2 litre Chrysler V8 with a Corvette all aluminium LS3 V8 for 429bhp. With a few other interesting touches, such as a new suspension and steering rack set up, racing brakes and gearbox, the Jensen is starting to handle as well as it looks. Interested parties will need to provide JIA with a donor model and probably a six figure sum...

Most classics are susceptible to this kind of treatment - even sacred cows, such as the Jaguar E-Type, the subject of modernisation in Sussex by Eagle. Care has been taken to remain true to the spirit of the original car but has given it some very modern tuning. The minor bodywork updates could upset purists but, in general, the Eagle Speedster has been received favourably by even the harshest critics.

For more of the same, see the Singer Porsche 911 or the Evanta DB4GT Zagato...

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