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World's most beautiful car?

2009-07-29 11:30

The best rear end. Of anything. In history.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Eagle
Model Speedster
Engine 4.7l in-line six
Power 223kW
Torque 460Nm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred Sub 5 sec
Top Speed 280km/h
Weight 1 097kg
In East Sussex, Paul Brace has built a car which makes Aston Martins looks crude and Maseratis contrived.

For years the company Brace is employed by, Eagle, has specialised in restoring to concourse condition what many consider the most striking car ever made – Jaguar’s E-type.

Customers are very discerning, with Eagle producing only about two cars a year.

Eagle's great skill is incorporating contemporary features (modern brakes, cooling, electrics) into the fold of these elegant Jaguars.

When a wealthy American customer, Rick Velaj from Connecticut, requisitioned Eagle to build him something even more extraordinary, Brace set about creating an epic rendition of what a contemporary Jaguar E-type would constitute.

From the outset Eagle boss, Henry Pearman, and Velaj agreed to set no budgetary or time constraints for the project. The result is a car of aching beauty and timeless elegance called the Speedster, unveiled at the Salon Privé prestige motor show in London.

The most beautiful car ever built, just got better?

The Eagle team employed a 1966 E-type (Series 1) as the project’s base chassis. Brace then widened the rear track to render an even bulkier foundation for the sinfully styled aluminium sheet metal surfacing.

Bodywork is simply otherworldly.

Classic E-type in proportion it features a radically chopped windscreen, hidden A-pillars, truncated side-sills and thanks to the widened rear track, stupefying flared aft wheelarches.

Around the rump it’s pure automotive pornography, with that aft deck extending from the rear extremities nearly flush up to the cabin in a flat plane.

Those updraft dual exhausts jutting skywards from under the rear bumper are part pipe-bending machine skill, part pure metalworking artistry…

Inside the theme of bespoke materials and construction continues - mirroring the gracious E-type heritage this Speedster was built to pay homage to.

The cabin’s fascia is aluminium, with a centre console extending all the way into the passenger compartment, creating a Corvette-like central waterfall seat separation architecture.

Leather is of the vintage patterned variety and the detailing simply meticulous.

Plain simple is also plainly gorgeous. CD-player a neat addition, was not really an option on the original E-type range...

Classic style, contemporary pace

So the Eagle Speedster looks epic, yet how about the dynamics? Is the driving experience as vintage (outdated) as the styling is classic and brooding?

Well, those gorgeous aluminium wire-wheels, with their three-spoke spinners, wear Pirelli tyres sporting a sidewall profile definitely more biased to ride-comfort than generating optimal lateral cornering forces.

With only 1 097kg to keep in check, handling should be fluid though. Even more so when you factor in the revised fore and aft suspension geometry, rose jointed rear axle location and anti-roll bar links, adjustable front ride height and a quick-ratio steering rack.

Four-pot calipers actuate the front discs to ensure contemporary stopping power too.

Not only is the 4.7l straight-six a thing of exquisite beauty, it starts diligently (thanks to fuel-injection) and runs the Speedster to some impressive performance figures.

Powered by a 4.7l straight-six of Eagle’s own making (producing 223kW and 460Nm), the Speedster is good for a sub five second 0-100km/h sprint time and top speed the wrong side of 280km/h.

Although the aluminium engine block, machined at Crosthwaite & Gardner, has cylinders fed by fuel-injection, instead of traditional carburetion, it does - in mitigation - feature a modern suite of cooling systems, defeating the bugbear of erstwhile E-types, overheating.

The Speedster’s modern lighting and electrical systems mean it’s effortless to drive. Considering its gravitas, you’ll be spirited to drive it as often as possible too, as each turn of the ignition is sure to be an occasion.

Rick Velaj currently owns the only one in existence.

If you ask Eagle nicely (and drop a hefty deposit), who knows, you could own Speedster no.2...


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