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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

10 Italian cars that are actually Jaguars

Many of Jaguars' designs are routinely honored as classics. However, their sultry sheetmetal didn't stop Italian coachbuilders and styling houses from attempting to improve upon British perfection. The movement began as far back as the early 1950s. The 1960s and '70s, in particular, witnessed the release of several memorable makeovers, some of which had arbiters of beauty championing their cause far and wide.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/10-italian-cars-that-are-actually-jaguars/
38 REPLIES 38
MeJ
Advanced Driver

That Bertone B99 is a real looker. Gorgeous car.
Iso_Grifo
Instructor

I think they really blew it not making that car.
Tim
Technician

I was thinking this car looks good enough to be produced today and still fit in as a "new" design. One of the best "Jaguars" I've seen in decades.
AZDon
Pit Crew

I absolutely agree, the B99 is stunningly beautiful.  

Marv48
Intermediate Driver

Looks a lot like a Dodge Challenger.
eighthtry
Advanced Driver

I would buy that car in a heartbeat today if I could get the chips.
hyperv6
Racer

Yet the old man Enzo still thought the E type was one of the most beautiful cars ever.

Dad_jokes
Detailer

Only two possible explanations for the Frua E-type that I can think of. Somebody wrecked theirs, and to save insurance claim money, tried to fix it on the street. In Italy. On acid.
Or, when a young Italian designer heard Enzo Ferrari call the E-type the most beautiful car in the world, he took it as an insult by Jaguar, and his chance to ingratiate himself with The Old Man by relieving it of any of its beauty.
ThePorscheMan
Detailer

I can see where there AC 428 coupe got it's nose.
topside
Advanced Driver

With the exception of the Bertone B99 - which I find gorgeous - and the Pinin XJ220, though my reaction was "meh" - the rest are rather hard to look at. I'm kinda surprised people didn't beat that E-type with sledge hammers at its debut, in fits of outrage...
JBBearcat
Detailer

I know, it's sacrilege to have a differing opinion on the merits of the E-Type. But here I go.
Too long, too curvy, too phallic for its own good.

Frua cut 9" off the front and it still functions and looks decent.
Too bad they didn't square off the cabin a bit.

Look at the Bertone Pirana, it looks modern...it could pass for a car 10-15 years newer. I'm comparison, the factory E-type was still using curves and influences from the prehistoric XK-120 of the late '40s.
MoparMarq
Advanced Driver

Hm, I was really hoping I could push a "Dislike" button on this comment...
JBBearcat
Detailer

Why?
Just a bit of a different ooinion.
It's not like someone is dissing a Dodge Dart!
AdrianClarke
Instructor

The E Type breaks a lot of 'design rules', but gets away with it. Taken in isolation, some parts (roof, doors) are oddly proportioned, and the inboard wheels are normally a faux pas. But it works as a whole because it's tiny, light on it's feet and the shallowness of the body in profile counters the phallic bonnet . Plus, it's direct link to racing C & D types give it a credibility - it really is a Le Mans car for the road.
This is why the Eagle and other attempts to update the car and correct these errors don't work - they knock the whole thing out of balance.
For my money, E Types do absolutely nothing for me emotionally. Would I want a go in one? Absolutely. Is it in my dream garage? Never. But that's a personal preference rather than a professional one.
MATTMERICA
Technician

Poor jag. They have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. They could use a real homerun to get them back to being relevant.
tigercat
Detailer

Bertone B99 is the most aesthetically balanced car of the bunch. Well balanced with style. I just watched Reacher on Amazon Prime and it kind of reminds me of the Bentley that Reacher drives in final episodes. At least someone in England thought to produce a car of similar styling. The B99 though looks even better.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

XJ220 is definitely the best one here.

Bertone B99 could have been an interesting car.
rm8ty
Pit Crew

In my opinion most of these were a waste of time, as the article states Jags are gorgeous to begin with. The XJ220 and the Pirana are rather nice however. But with so many ugly cars why not rebody a few of those and leave the already pretty ones alone?
JLM
Pit Crew

Yikes!!! Kick that Frua out of bed.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The Frua's are not an improvement for sure over the originals.
RoadDog
Intermediate Driver

I've always wondered what the designers of the Pontiac Aztek were thinking. Now that I've seen the Bertone Ascot I know where the (bad) idea came from.
corv3tte
Intermediate Driver

LOL ! Same thought !
ed
Advanced Driver

That XJ220 looks like 1st gen NSX.
corv3tte
Intermediate Driver

I can see it...yep.
Inline8OD
Technician

"Everybody wants to get into the act."

-- Jimmy Durante

 

But hyperv6 above's right, even tho' Stirling Moss called the E-Jag "the dumb blonde of sports cars."

 

The last one, the Zagato, is alright.  The rest look tortured, trying too hard, compared with either XK or E-Type.

corv3tte
Intermediate Driver

I REALLY like the Bertone B99....stunning . The Pininfarina XJ220 looks good from the rear view....the Pininfarina XJ Spider looks like a Vette....the Zagato Jaguar XK140/XK150 looks like a Karman Ghia.to me. The rest ....not so much....the E Type will always be my favorite....just say'n.
ThePorscheMan
Detailer

Never liked the XJ220 (still don't... BIG XJR15 fan though) but that is an improvement. That B99 though; knocks it clean outta the park. It's f'n stunning.
VolvoSleeper
Intermediate Driver

I’d buy the B99 today. It’s truly beautiful, and better looking than any 2022 vehicle.
And you could identify it from 100 yards. Today a Camry and a Bentley look the same from that distance
5Gordons
New Driver

The B99 is stunning. The others are amongst anomalies for Italian stylists... they are all lessons in hideousness.
YesDear
Intermediate Driver

Jaguar Cars, like much of British industry, was destroyed by WW11 and its aftermath. While dollars and the latest machine tools from America poured into Germany and Japan, Britain struggled with 19th century factories and shortages of everything. Even mighty Rolls-Royce was bankrupted by the cost of developing the world's first turbofan. But in spite of this, William Lyons managed to produce some spectacular cars, from the XK 120 to the Mk 10. Faced with no clear future, he allowed Jaguar to be merged with BMC and he subsequently retired, and Jaguar's Grace, Space and Pace magic faded away.
I wish I still owned the Mk 2 3.8 with overdrive I had in the late 1960's, but back then any car with a 2 liter plus engine was basically worthless due to sky-high fuel taxes.
Today's cars are almost infinitely more reliable, but thanks to their Mutant Ninja Turtle 'design themes' are gag-a-maggot eyesores.
Inline8OD
Technician

Amen squared and cubed. Conventry was hammered by the Reich. But Jags not as unreliable as many here in the States believe. Much of the problem was simply mechanics unfamiliar with them, and most of those available here suffer from decades of deferred maintenance, owned by people trying to own them on the cheap.

Like many English cars, their cooling systems not meant for much of this continent's heat, but there are easy fixes, not the least of which avoiding antifreeze unless the car sees two consecutive nights of a hard freeze (30 or below), or has AC (stupid in any serious road car), in which case it needs 15% antifreeze even in LA/Phoenix in August to prevent the heater core from freezing.
Straight water and a good rust/corrosion inhibitor like Red Line's or No-Rosion.com all any car otherwise requires.

If Jaguars weren't reliable, British law enforcement wouldn't have used them. Of course, the XK engines in the Le Mans winners were different than those in US sports models, even most of those raced here.

 

  "Grace, Space, and Pace" has to be one of the best slogans since Packard's Ask the Man Who Owns One,   MG's "Safety Fast,"  or

"It's faster by Railton."

AdrianClarke
Instructor

A lot of Jags problems were they were cheap to buy in the first place. The E Type when new was a stupendous bargain - because it was thrown together from cheap materials. They became the choice of wide boys, villains and working men done good in the sixties for a reason. They were a lot of flash for not much cash. This was fine if you have the means for regular dealer visits, but as you say by the second or third owner they were being maintained on the cheap.
Zephyr
Instructor

The whole story of how the US worked so hard to rebuild Germany and Japan after WWII while essentially abandoning Britain could fill a book or two, and probably has. The US saw a strong Germany as our best defense against Russian imperialism, and acted swiftly to get them on their feet again. Britain made the mistake of voting in a Labor government and taxing the rich heavily, which the US government interpreted as a step towards Socialism if not Communism, and a threat to America. This may explain why 10 years after the war ended Germany had a booming economy while London still had streets blocked by rubble. Some economists have argued that the thing that finally effected the full recovery of the British economy was the tremendous amount of cash brought into Great Britain by the Beatles and other bands of the "British Invasion."
AdrianClarke
Instructor

And yet the UK maintained a massive military presence in West Germany until the 1990s.
Post war Britain got a lot of things right, but on the industrial side a lot wrong - our aircraft and motor industries being the two most egregious examples. It was partly post colonial complacency and partly being utterly, utterly broke after the war. While rebuilding mainland Europe had to modernize, the British motor industry had always had captive colonial markets to take it's products. As the colonies gained independence from the motherland these markets disappeared, and the British motor industry wasn't equipped to respond to better, more modern products from elsewhere. The US OEMs survived, because the US market is so big and has unique products (ie pickups). The UK did not.
JBBearcat
Detailer

The RB221 was not the first turbofan. It was the second or third high-bypass turbofan.
The GE TF39 was already in service in the C-5.
Rolls went broke due to development costs doubling.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

For some of the bunch, it looks like Jaguar sent out a kit, including an actual finished car along with a box of odd parts and sheet metal screws. A few of the resulting assemblies should have never seen the light of day. And what is with the deal with the weird little "grill" parts that appear to have been found in the back warehouse? The clash of styling with the grills, of course, has been used in Italian designed production cars for years. Why would you ever want to do that? Hmm?
For the guys who wrenched on the production cars, I say this. Just imagine combining Jaguar's inherent mechanical problems with the problems of 60's, 70's and 80's Italian cars? Wow!
JStein
Pit Crew

I loved seeing the attempts to improve on Jaguar styling. Unfortunately, few of them could be considered an improvement. Here is on Italian body on the XK-120 chassis that was truly stunning and much more modern-looking than the beautiful Jaguar. Three examples were said to have been built on the XK-120 chassis.

https://www.google.com/search?q=jaguar+XK+Ghia+Supersonic&sxsrf=APq-WBuWtbT2-eZxVXJJo0Aa6V99RV1n4Q:1...

This incredible shape was more "commonly" seen on the Fiat 8V chassis (15 said to have been built), and also appeared on a 1956 Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk II, and an Alfa Romeo 1900, which is believed to be the first of the series. The DeSoto Adventurer II concept car used a more radical adaptation of the Supersonic shape.
merlebalke
Advanced Driver

No surprise that the Frua E-Type didn't sell, on the other hand I do like the Zagato effort.