Is it possible to improve on perfection?
While Frank Stephenson isn’t necessarily a household name in the automotive space, he lets his repertoire do the talking. Sure, he doesn’t have the prowess of a Battista “pinin” Farina, or Giorgetto Giugiaro, but he is responsible for the McLaren P1, McLaren 720S, Mini Cooper, Ford Escort Cosworth, and many other greats. As such, his latest video features him profiling the Jaguar E-Type and what changes he would make.
It’s an incredibly difficult task to improve on such a beautiful machine, but as the British sports car essentially inspired him to become a car designer, he knew his way around. With a constructive eye, Stephenson worked out what could be massaged on the E-Type to alter its aesthetic. From the gun, he was quick to note that the vehicle already features a sensational form that cemented its place as one of the great icons of its era – such a timeless design shines even today.
The designer, Malcolm Sayer, followed the same form follows function ethos as Stephenson; being an aircraft engineer by trade before becoming an automotive aerodynamicist, the E-Type was designed to effortlessly cut through the air while being nice to look at. As such, the vehicle features a very minimal design ethos that produces a strikingly maximal aesthetic.
Unsurprisingly, Stephenson’s modifications were very delicate and precise. For instance, he wanted the chrome window trim to end less abruptly and blend in with the bottom of the window line. Other adjustments included similarly extending body lines to offer up a more seamless aesthetic.
The E-Type features many great leading lines and contours but one of the big aspects that took Stephenson’s eye was the seam line over the front wheel arch. Rather than make the whole quarter panel one-piece, Jaguar decided to blend the two pieces and hide the panel gap with a metal trim piece. While it still looks tremendous, Stephenson deemed that the extra cost associated with making a single panel would have been worth it to streamline the front fascia.
It’s clear to see that his changes aren’t as fundamental as we often see in these types of videos. A true master of his craft, he knows that Malcolm Sayer has already done a brilliant job, so he looks for the small areas that could amplify the E-Type’s aura even further.