Jaguar has a special place in my heart, but I feel it has been consistently mismanaged as a brand for many years--always struggling to find a narrative that is relevant to a younger American audience without reverting to English snob appeal. I think the latest "British Villains" campaign really hits the right balance. The new campaign emphasizes the Britishness of the brand heritage, as well as the sexiness and muscle in the latest products, all the while not taking itself too seriously. This mix of humor and suave cool are a winning combination, and I hope it really helps get Americans excited about Jaguar. Interestingly they are not running this campaign in England, according to my UK friends, who had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned these ads in conversation.
Entries in Jaguar (16)
More than any other car, I always find that the Jaguar D-type shows the legacy of World War II aviation technology as it applied to postwar sports cars. It's almost like a fighter plane on wheels, and the men who raced them in the dark and rain to victory at Le Mans were no less brave!
I love this photoset, but I don't know where it came from. If anyone knows the photographer, I'd love to give credits here.
I'll be honest with you. I have seen too many E-types for my own good. They're gorgeous cars but having seen too many of them sitting still at concours events over the years, they had begun to lose their magic. Thankfully, watching them race at Goodwood rekindled the excitement for me. Lightweight E-types have such an aggressive stance, with their hunkered down look and rear fender flares, you just can't help getting a little excited. Then there's the fixed hard top the trunklid vents, and exposed fuel filler cap, adding that unmistakably purposeful feel. Lastly, there is the sound. The Jaguar inline six in all its glory is really something to behold, even in a field with Ferrari V12s. And of course besides the lightweights, there was the ultra-sleek Low Drag coupe, which is just sublime. The E-types don't just look good. They dominated the race. The #25 Martin Brundle/Adrian Newey car --shown up top in white and red-- crushed the opposition, with a 30 second margin of victory. Of course one must assume that given Newey's god-like aerodynamic prowess (he used to design all the best F1 cars for Williams then McLaren, in case you hadn't heard of him), the car was probably better set up than anyone else's! Notice how much lower it is, and I don't think the slightly open trunklid is an accident. I think it's a subtle attempt at getting less lift over the rear wheels.My favorite Jag in the race, aside from the Low Drag, was the grey number 10 car. In a storming drive from 11th place to 4th, one could observe the inside front wheel lift clear off the ground under hard cornering! You see that in old movies, but to see it in person was just magic!And of course through the magic of youtube, here is a video taken from inside the #10 car!
Pebble Beach was sensory overload for most attendees, myself included. But one standout among all the beautiful cars I saw was the simply sensational Cadillac Ciel Concept. They should have just called it the Eldorado, because this car wholly deserves the illustrious name bestowed upon it. The car has an extremely long wheelbase, allowing the surprisingly clever surface transitions plenty of time to flow gracefully from one to the next. The result is a study in elegance, fluidity and subtlety. If the crowds of delighted onlookers were anything to go by, I wasn't the only one smitten by the big convertible land yacht. I heard statements like "Now that's a car!" and "Wow. That's really beautiful!" This isn't at some mall parking lot, folks. These are comments being made 20 feet away from 2 Bugatti Veyrons and a putting green full of the latest exotic supercars from Europe. It all made me want to shake Ed Welburn's hand, but I chickened out when I eventually saw him at the Concours.
The placement of the Ciel next to the BMW 328 "Hommage" (the extra M is for Mengele, I suppose? What else could have inspired such an atrocity?) only served as a snapshot of everything that is right and wrong in today's car design landscape.
The 328 "Hommage" Concept had horrific, stubby proportions, a pastiche of mismatched styling cues and textures, a mess of intersecting and folded surfaces that would give even Frank Gehry indigestion. It was ghastly, and actually made me disgusted to see the mighty BMW reduced to such a sideshow freak. Placing an original 328 next to this hideous abomination only rubbed salt in the wound. I bet all those people who hated on Chris Bangle for years wish they had him back. His 328 MM coupe "homage" was brilliant and innovative, by the way. My vote for most irritating design detail on the 328 Concept was the inexplicable ornamental double hood strap made of leather, which clashes horrifically with the semi-matte carbon fiber of the body. The Ciel, in contrast, was bathed in such perfect, luminous, lustrous paint that even rivalled the quality of Peter Mullin's "Best in Show" winning Voisin. Seriously.Honorable mention in the Concept Car Corral goes to the Jaguar CX-75. While many people squinted trying to see what if any E-type cues were in the car, it is clear that the designers were looking at the Jaguar XJ-13 for inspiration, with more than a passing nod to the XJ220. It's funny that Jaguar doesn't make much marketing hay around the XJ220 which is now almost 20 years old and still looks sensational (I saw one at the RM auction preview looking every bit the supercar). In particular, the rear end of the CX-75 bears close examination. It's a great interplay of flowing lines and aggressive elements working together. And it instantly says Jaguar. I would love to see this design theme translate into production Jags. Tomorrow.Last but certainly not least was Jason Castriota's "Shelby SuperCar (SSC)." Now I've been pretty harsh on Castriota in the past, and I still think his talent to hype ratio is way off balance. However, I thought the SSC is probably his manifesto work, as it combines all his signature styling elements into one very cohesive package. The car has a very slippery, aeronautical feeling to it that I quite liked, and I really loved some of the surfacing details along the bodyside. The car has a lot of presence in person and I must give credit where credit is due.The Alfa TZ3 Stradale was there, and failed to impress me. The new McLaren was also a yawn. Even metallic chrome-look paint couldn't save it from looking hopelessly outdated when placed next to Castriota's car and the new Aventador. I'm sure it drives better than either of them, though...
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