PRESERVING OLDER models and their brand heritage is turning into big buck operations for a handful of prestige brands, including Jaguar, that have established classic works centres.

BMW started back in 2006 and Porsche has been at it for many years now, recently setting up Classic Porsche Centre in Melbourne.

With Aston Martin having converted its old Newport Pagnell production facility into a classic works, we now have Jaguar Land Rover Classic; this official source of authentic Jaguar cars, expert services and genuine parts has opened its doors in Coventry.

Jaguar E-Type owners from around the world can ship their cars to Coventry for anything from a light fettle, to a technology update, or a full resto. A major step currently under evaluation will be ditching the engine and replacing it with an electric motor.

The E-Type Zero as it’s known made its debut scooting Harry and Meghan, better known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, away from the Windsor nuptials to the reception.

This first example was based on a 1968 Series 1.5 roadster that had been restored. Out came the XK six-cylinder engine and in went an electric motor, co-developed by an electric powertrain specialist and Jaguar Land Rover engineers, using technology and components borrowed from the Jaguar I-PACE SUV, the marque’s first production allelectric vehicle.

Don’t think for a moment it is going to be a whirring slug that will devalue the allure of the badge. Although the sweet exhaust note disappears, performance remains with a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds, around a second quicker than the original E-Type. According to Jaguar they have limited the power output of the electric powertrain to provide the optimum driving experience.

Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”

The E-type Zero’s bespoke electric powertrain develops 220kW and delivers a realworld range of 270kms before requiring a six- to seven-hour charge. Its lithium-ion battery pack sits in the same location as the XK six-cylinder engine with the electric motor and reduction gear placed where the gearbox used to be. A new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive.

Tim Hannig added: “We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point. We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.”

Not ready to step that far but want the convenience of modern day infotainment system? Then this is for you: Jaguar Land Rover Classic has also introduced a modern day communication and entertainment system for the E-Type; this option provides 21st century functionality in an authentic-looking, classically styled head-unit.

The infotainment system incorporates customisable satellite navigation in up to 32 languages, smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity and dual DAB/ DAB+ digital radio, as well as FM and AM analogue reception.

Its branded black or chrome faceplates are in keeping with the original car's dash-styling and the system is controlled by a 3.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen integrated between traditional rotary controls and buttons. Its navigation systems can be displayed as 2D or 3D maps, or as turn arrow instructions. It can also provide current traffic alerts.