Classic cars reinvented: Revisiting history with 5 British car brands from Aston Martin to Jaguar
At this month’s London Classic Car Show, England’s classic car brands brings us down memory lane by highlighting some of its best designs
Get your engines ready for a revitalisation of sorts is happening in the motoring scene. In recent months, many of England’s great car brands have decided to refurbish their old models. Reminding us of who is the boss on the roads, brands such as Jaguar have taken to their workshops to reinvent classics, presenting collections of continuation cars modelled after vintage hits. Take a look below to see how these manufacturers incorporate timeless designs into their vehicles.
In December, Aston Martin confirmed that it is about to build 25 perfect replicas of its race-bred 1959 DB4 GT, each of which will cost around $2 million and that — technically speaking — will only be legal when driven on the track. To make the idea of spending that much money on a car that can only be used for racing more appealing, the company is also set to create a special racing series exclusively for the new cars’ owners that will take in some of the world’s most glamorous tracks and territories.
Jaguar has launched not one, but two continuation cars, a re-born lightweight E-Type and a perfect example of the original XKSS — the road-going version of its 1955 Le Mans-winning D-Type. However, in both cases, Jaguar claims the reason for doing so is to complete existing orders. Nine XKSS models destined for delivery to US owners were destroyed in a fire, along with their tooling, meaning that they could not be rebuilt. So now that the know-how is available, Jaguar is honouring the order, albeit 60 years later than planned.
Land Rover is taking a slightly different approach to preserving its heritage. Rather than building “new” old cars, it is tracking down Series One Land Rovers in a terrible state and giving them a nut-and-bolt restoration before reselling them under the Defender Reborn banner.
Caterham is already a very retro company building cars based on the original Lotus 7 from 1957, but with current-generation powertrains and underpinnings. However, to mark the original car’s 60th anniversary, Caterham has launched the Seven Sprint, which is as close as the company can get to offering a car from 1957 in 2017.
Likewise, Morgan’s current range of four-wheel models has changed little stylistically since the 1950s. But the company’s first vehicles had three, not four wheels and used motorcycle engines for propulsion. Since 2012 the company has been offering these incredibly fun cars for sale again, complete with the V-Twin engine hanging off the front bumper. They offer no roof, no doors and very little in the way of creature comforts. However, at £30,000 the Morgan Three-Wheeler is currently the cheapest completely bespoke, hand-built car on sale today.
As for what’s driving these companies to resurrect their glorious pasts rather than investing in the future, it’s partly about brand building and reminding new comers to the sportscar market that these marques once ruled both the road and the track. And it’s partly about generating increased interest from collectors. After all, the two things that have kept Ferrari where it is in terms of demand for its current and classic models alike is racing pedigree and rarity.