Like many of you, I’ve always been a huge fan of the Jaguar E-Type. Its revolutionary, low-slung design and sweet-sounding inline-six (or V12) engine have made it one of my favorite cars of all time, but unfortunately, I had never driven one. So, when the kind folks at E.C.D. Automotive reached out with a chance to drive one of their E-Types, I jumped at the opportunity.
However, I wouldn’t be driving a “normal,” stock E-Type. No, no no. You see, E.C.D. doesn’t deal in your run-of-the-mill E-Type. They’re all about customization and modernization. Basically, you can think of it as a company that brings old Jag E-Types into the modern era. How wonderful is that?
Looks Done, But Isn’t Close
We’re starting off right in the middle. This Series III E-Type (every single one is an S3 because they’re bigger) [And cheaper...—ED] has had most of the major work done to get it ready for its customer, but there’s still a lot of finishing to be done.
An iconic wire wheel sits on a shelf in E.C.D.’s factory. The company does its best to preserve as much of the original car as possible.
This Shouldn’t Be Here
This right here is not a part of any original E-Type. What you’re looking at is a GM LS3 engine. In this application, E.C.D. tells me it’s good for about 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. That’s a hell of a lot more than stock, and it’s one of a handful of engines the customer can choose from.
Where It All Begins... Sort Of
Those of you who know a thing or two about British transportation will recognize this logo from the London Underground. It makes sense, these are British cars, and E.C.D.’s owners are all British. It only seems fitting, doesn’t it? In case you were wondering, the North Line is where E.C.D. builds its Defenders. There’s also a third line coming sometime in the future, but everyone was very hushed about that.
A Sheet Of Mystery
Unlike the Defenders the company restomods, E.C.D. cannot just scrap the bodies of E-Types and use replacement parts. They’re far too valuable. Behind this thin screen is an E-Type body getting prepped for paint. All of the little dings and imperfections are being removed in order to make it better than factory-fresh.
Get In There
Here’s an even closer look at an E.C.D. craftsman working on a small detail in the trunk of an E-Type.
Much To Be Done
Even if it doesn’t look like there is a ton left to do on this E-Type, the more you look, the more you realize just how much goes into making one of these.
Nuts And Bolts
E.C.D. carries just about every nut, bolt and screw that belongs to E-Types and Defenders. They’re all organized in this warehouse.
A Man At Work
Here’s a better view of just how many parts E.C.D. has cataloged. You also get a glimpse of E.C.D.’s very hands-on CEO and Founder Scott Wallace.
A Proper Motor For A Proper Vehicle
Here’s another engine choice you can decide to pack into your E-Type, a 5.3-liter V12 from an S3 model. It won’t make as much power as the V8, but it’ll sound fantastic.
This is a bare E-Type shell. Absolutely everything is taken off, replaced or refurbished, and put back on. It’s a sight to behold.
I Want One Of These On My Desk
It’s not just about the body and engine, E.C.D. also completely refurbishes the E-Type’s braking system. That includes its very funky inboard brakes. The company chucks the old hardware and replaces it with more modern stuff.
Lots O’ Stuff
You could get pretty close to building an entire E-Type off of what can be found on this shelf.
Wiring is going into this silver E-Type. E.C.D. makes the harness in-house.
Much To Do
It takes a lot of man-hours to make something as pretty as the interior of an E-Type feel a bit more up-to-date. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done with regard to space. As we’ll soon learn, it’s a bit tight.
Jaguar —> E-Type
How did Jaguar manage to make the badges so pretty?
It Looks Ickier Than It Is
A lot of times, this is what E.C.D. workers will encounter when they completely strip down an E-Type. Tons of Bondo and other weird repairs. They go in an make sure everything is back up to snuff before assembly really begins.
Just Kidding, It’s Pretty Icky
Like I said, lots of weird stuff.
Fine Leather Goods
If you love the smell of leather, this is the room for you. Here you’ll find a dedicated team of workers hand stitching and fitting all of the interior pieces for both Defenders and E-Types.
A Lot Of Electrics
That’s right baby, you can get an electric motor for your E.C.D. E-Type or Defender. Admittedly, the range is not very good. You’ll struggle to crack 200 miles on a charge, but it does come with 400-volt architecture. That means you’ve got fast charging, which is neat on a fairly bespoke vehicle like this. The unit also makes somewhere in the range of 300 horsepower, so you won’t win every race, but it’s still pretty quick.
All New Suspension, Ready For Motors
All-new suspension underneath these E-Types would trick you into thinking these aren’t 50+ year-old cars.
Wire You Like This
These are the E.C.D. workers who spend just about every hour they’re on the clock building wiring harnesses for the company’s Defenders and E-Types.
This toolbox is used by one of the mechanics at E.C.D. If it looks old, well, that’s because it is. Scott, E.C.D.’s owner, told me this box is owned by a guy who has been working on E-Types since Jaguar started building them. When he was starting E-Type production, this guy just happened to be located down the road in Florida. It’s kismet.
Here E.C.D. designers can give their customers an up-close look at different design elements in their car. This is my car that I was lucky enough to design. You can’t see it, but it’s a rather classic British Racing Green over tan. If only I had a lot of money.
A Curated Experience
E.C.D. will also send you all sorts of different paint and interior swatches so you know exactly what you’re getting. At the end is a little book that’ll document your car every step of the way. It’s a nice little touch, but you’ve got to pay to play here.
An EV E-Type is very cool, but how are you going to get rid of those tailpipes? It’s just not possible.
Smaller Than It Looks
This is the interior of the E-Type I drove during my time with E.C.D. It’s a nearly-completely customer car, but there was definitely still some fine-tuning to be done.
Gauges For Proper Motoring
The gauges and switches may have a classic look to them, but I couldn’t help thinking that for what you’re paying, they should feel and look just a little bit nicer. Everything here is super functional, but I really do wish the plastic toggle switches were made out of a slightly nicer metal.
Looks Great, Could Be Better
Similarly, I feel like the gauges could have a little bit more fanfare to them. They’re plenty functional, but they just don’t have the same feel as the larger dials that could be found in the original car. However, these E-Types are so customizable, I’m sure E.C.D. could throw them into these new cars if you ask nicely.
Suddenly I See
Finding out I don’t fit in an E-Type is an all-time heartbreaker. Could I ever afford one? No. Would it stop me from owning one? Also no, but I would really have liked it if this wasn’t my view.
Oh, Happy Days
This right here is the reason I flew down to Kissimmee, Florida in the middle of the most humid summer of all time. What you see a very happy Andy behind the wheel of is an E.C.D. E-Type with a 6.2-liter LS V8 under the hood bolted up to a GM eight-speed transmission with push button controls. What an absolutely bonkers machine.
This thing is able to stop, go and corner like a modern car. It reaches far beyond what the engineers back in England in the ‘70s thought was possible. However, it still has much of the charm the original cars have. Sure, it’s got a honking great V8 under the hood, but its sound is routed through an actual E-Type exhaust. That means you get a rather wonderful blend of American V8 grunt and British smoothness. The whole package is pretty intoxicating.
Inside, everything is fairly well screwed together. Although, the buttons could be a bit higher quality, but the folks at E.C.D. made sure to remind me that this isn’t a totally complete car, so there’s still some fine-tuning to do. That includes mechanical issues. Under sudden acceleration, there was a good deal of slop from the differential, but I was told that would be almost completely gone by the time the customer got their hands on the car.
For the nearly $330,000 they are paying for one of these E-Types, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that E.C.D. does just about everything they can to make the car feel as good as possible. That being said, you can still spend a whole lot more on one of them, depending on how it’s spec’d. The sky is sort of the limit with these E-Types, and E.C.D. is not in the business of saying no. In a world of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens, a restomoded E-Type made by craftsmen who really give a damn about the work they’re doing may just stand out above just about everything else.
More from Jalopnik