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Lyonheart K - a modern take on the Jaguar E-Type

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February 25, 2012

The Lyonheart K is a 21st century homage to the classic Jaguar E-type sports car (Image: L...

The Lyonheart K is a 21st century homage to the classic Jaguar E-type sports car (Image: Lyonheart Cars Ltd)

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Last year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type, the Swiss firm Classic Factory unveiled its Growler concept car. Intended as a modern version of the classic sports car, the concept was so well received that a new car-making company, Lyonheart Cars Ltd. has been opened in Coventry, U.K., for the purpose of turning out a limited run of the production version of the Growler - the Lyonheart K.

Creating an E-type for the 21st century (especially without the participation of Jaguar) is setting the bar high ... as in, you'd need a ladder to get over it. The Jaguar E-type is such a classic, such a mind-numbingly beautiful car, some might argue that it was responsible for the decline of the British motor car industry. When it was unveiled in 1961, it's easy to imagine car-makers going back to their own car production lines, laying their heads on the workbench and saying "what's the point?".

The E-type was one of the all-time classic cars. Brought into the world at a time when European car makers were putting out futuristic designs and the Americans were making their cars look like spaceships, the E-type hit exactly the right mix of the old and the new with its monocoque body, engine bonnet that seemed to go on forever and passenger cabin that looked as if it was hanging on for dear life. There was such an air of pure art to it that even the engine was beautiful, and it was no slouch when you pressed the starter. It's independent suspension is legendary and it could do 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph (242 km/h). Unlike many high-performance cars, you could drive it at 10 mph without feeling like it was trying to rattle your fillings out of your teeth. In 14 years of production 70,000 cars were produced, which is remarkable when you consider how notoriously unreliable it was.

Doing credit to that isn't easy, but the Lyonheart K can't be faulted for trying. It is a gorgeous car that echoes the E-type's lines without slavishly following them. It has the same landing-deck bonnet, though the K has slits in it, so you can catch a tantalizing glimpse of the manifold. It even has the same bulge down the middle that now continues across the roof. The K is a bit more angular than the E-type and the cab is longer and roomier, but the design heritage is definitely noticeable.

The Lyonheart K has wire wheels for that E-type touch, but they're bolted to an all-aluminum chassis with carbon-fiber body panels, bonnet and doors with aluminum side-impact beams. There's also double wishbone front-suspension with electronic dampers, multi-link rear suspension with electronic dampers, an active differential and speed-sensitive power steering along with Adaptive Dynamics, which analyses speed, steering and body movements up to 500 times a second. Then there's the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that cuts in as soon as it detects wheel slippage and a deployable rear spoiler.

There's even dual petrol fillers, so you don't have to remember which side of the pump to park at.

The Lyonheart K incorporates carbon fiber construction and advanced electronics (Image: Ly...

It's not a perfect looking car, by any means. The headlamps, for example, have more of an "I'd rather be an Aston Martin" look to them and the passenger cab doesn't quite fit and has too soft an appearance as if the designers didn't want to startle anyone.

Softness is the watchword for the interior as well. Opening the door reveals lots of leather, wool carpets, electric seats with so many settings that you may never get away from the curb, a 7-inch high-resolution touch screen, the usual audio-video and sat nav goodies and you get a choice of wood veneers. It's no surprise, then that there's even matching leather trim in the boot.

So it's comfy, but what about performance? The K sports a 5-liter supercharged V8 engine with 32 valves and variable-inlet camshaft phasing that cranks out 550 bhp. It does 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and it's maximum speed is electronically limited to 186 mph (300 km/h). Fuel efficiency is rated at 24 mpg (9.8 liters/100 km) and it weighs in at 3500 lb (1575 kg). As to how it handles, that has yet to be seen.

Lyonheart sees the K as the continuation of the tradition of British craftsmanship and top-end car making. It was designed, developed and hand-built in Coventry using only British-made parts. The company has made such an effort to make the K British that it probably runs on warm beer as well as petrol.

"We want to make the 'Made In England' label into a truthful concept, not just a statement': says Robert Palm, CEO of Classic Factory. "Every part of the Lyonheart K is developed, engineered and hand-built in England. The design clues of the Lyonheart K reflect Britishness at its best: cool, elegant, refined, understated yet powerful and dynamic."

All of this comes with a price that's usually associated with American budget deficits. In the case of the Lyonheart K, it's (sit down, please) EUR495,000 (US$655,529, GPB418,572). To say that's a long way from the Jaguar E-type's GPB1,600 in 1961, is like saying that it's a bit of a walk from Calais to Vladivostok.

Whether the K is worth it remains an open question. The delivery time for the first cars is 18 months.

Source: Lyonheart Cars.

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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16 Comments

wow! Lyonheart have achieved the impossible! A recreation of a British icon, the E Type.The price is in the Euro Millionaire class but if I was loaded then this new car would be in my garage

robinyatesuk2003
25th February, 2012 @ 10:50 pm PST

I love it, a few minor tweaks to the front maw, keep the head lights, minor tweaks to the tails and we're set. Oh, and give it to someone besides jaguar to make...so ya know...it's actually fast.

Jonathan Hockaday
25th February, 2012 @ 11:03 pm PST

But why didn't the people at Jaguar think of building this car themselves?

Kim Scholer
26th February, 2012 @ 01:35 pm PST

Sweet but I prefer the D-type.

Slowburn
26th February, 2012 @ 09:07 pm PST

Let's hope it is more reliable. Wow what a great body and the wire wheels do it.

Nantha Kumar Nithiahnanthan
27th February, 2012 @ 02:26 am PST

That makes two making cars that Jag be should be building. Can't recall the other but they are doing e type converts. Closer to the original than this one but still updated. Of course if Jag had ever built the xk-180 they couldn't keep up with the demand.

Wragie Wrawagie
27th February, 2012 @ 02:50 am PST

Frankly, this design looks better than the E type. It is rather similar to the famous 240Z Datsun from the 1970's.

I never cared for the E Type Jag. I always thought it was overdone and rather bulbous and inflated looking. All the blather about everybody else giving up because the E Type was so incredibly beautiful is just nonsense. There have been many beautiful cars, and there is always room for another mobile sculpture.

The Jag XK 140 was more in the tradition of Jag design I like, and I thought it was absolutely lovely. I also drove one on a long road trip, and it was sheer pleasure to drive. I was introduced to constant speeds over 120 mph by that car, and it handled very well at speed.

jjgg38
27th February, 2012 @ 02:54 am PST

With all the 'retro' updates, . . . the Growler is a win !!!

However with a price of EUR495,000 ($654,785 / GBP418,100)

I think I may be happy looking for an E-Type Jaguar.

BombR76
27th February, 2012 @ 07:37 am PST

Where's the convertible?!

tbyrd_1
27th February, 2012 @ 08:06 am PST

I think the original looks MUCH cooler and classic! I'm a purist. What can I say?

Warren Gang
27th February, 2012 @ 10:56 am PST

I think I'll just wait for the Scoobaroo GT-86 to come out. Half the horses, but 1/20th the price.

Jon A.
27th February, 2012 @ 12:14 pm PST

Are you sure?

Doesn't look like the E to me.

For a tithe of that amount,

you could make a nice Resto-mod and still have half a million dollars.

Griffin
27th February, 2012 @ 12:23 pm PST

@tbyrd_1

Agreed...you can't do an e-type justice without a convertible!

Ed
27th February, 2012 @ 01:07 pm PST

Wonderful looking car.....but when a stock Ford Mustang 302 Laguna Seca will spank it hard and fast for $600,000 less.....looks aren't THAT important.

VoiceofReason
29th February, 2012 @ 08:45 am PST

It's a beauty. Too bad I will never be able to afford one

wiarus2000
29th February, 2012 @ 10:58 am PST

I like the D type more than the E type. I saw a TV documentary about cars at Pebble Beach, California. I think it was a few years ago. Part of it showed most of the 19 D type road cars that they said Jaguar built. I used to see a red D type on the road in Lithgow, NSW, Australia in the 1950s. It was owned by a famous entertainer Jack Davy. That documentary makes me think it was a road D type not the converted racing D type I thought it was. It was beautiful anyway.

David P Flynn
1st March, 2012 @ 03:19 pm PST
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