A 1968 left-hand-drive Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2 roadster (an original of which is shown at left) is to be stretched by four and a half inches during a major restoration being carried out by Classic Motor Cars Limited of Bridgnorth (CMC) in the UK.
The E-Type has been named “the Kaizen” by its American owner, Paul Branstad, and takes its name from one of Toyota's founding principles, Kaizen, which means “understand the imperative to make continuous improvements and then get to work.”
The car, chassis No. 1E 17635, was purchased by CMC's client and sent to the company after being involved in a heavy front impact.
Branstad said that he had named the E-Type in this way because he thought that the original Jaguar designer, Malcolm Sayer, would have approved of what he wanted to do to the car while preserving its essence.
“The stretched E-Type I have conceived sits between the Series I and the subsequent vehicles produced after the merger and formation of British Leyland, when the design of the cars underwent several transformations as a consequence of cuts in production costs and the need for more space that resulted in the Series II 2+2 and Series III V12.”
Nick Goldthorp, managing director of Classic Motor Cars Ltd., said: “This is something that we have never been done before. Our client wanted the interior leg room of a Series 3 V12 E-Type but the aesthetics of a Series 1 car.
“We are going to add four and a half inches to the floor pan, which will give the legroom of the V12 plus an additional one inch if required. The V12 was actually nine inches longer than a Series I but a lot of the additional room was behind the seats as storage and is not required on our project.”
He added: “By adding four and a half inches to the length of the car we will be able to retain the overall look of the Series 1 and also turn this E-Type into a unique car.”
Along with these radical developments, the roof line will be raised by 1.25 inches above the drivers head and the boot floor lowered and reshaped to build in a 20-gallon fuel tank and to allow a wider spare wheel as the car is being fitted with 16in. diameter wire wheels shod with lower-profile radial tires.
The car will also be built with a host of CMC's upgrades that range from air conditioning to power steering, upgraded brakes, 5-speed gearbox, suspension and handling upgrades, among others.
“As an idea, the Kaizen E-Type is a conceit of the imagination," owner Branstad admits, "but the car itself is now becoming a reality by taking advantage of modern material and component technologies provided by CMC. With nine inches more wheelbase, the 2+2 was too long to be beautiful, but the four and a half inches added to the Kaizen E-type could make the car even more beautiful than the original Series I edition.”
He added: “Perhaps this car would have represented the very last chance for Malcolm Sayer to apply his ideas for the E-Type.”
CMC started this restoration in mid July and expects to have it ready for export back to the USA soon.