Mark Slack – Road Test

Helm Jaguar E-type – a modern icon

Originally designed by former aeronautics engineer Malcolm Sayer, on its release in 1961, Enzo Ferrari described the Series 1 Jaguar E-type as “the most beautiful car ever made”. Sixty years on, with Sayer’s mathematically perfect lines flowing seamlessly from long nose to shapely rear, it remains to many one of the most beautiful and genuinely iconic cars ever to grace the tarmac.

Having spent over a decade sourcing the finest examples of these cars for restoration from across the UK and Europe, Chedeen Battick – an automotive engineer,  founded Helm Motorcars to create what he terms a new standard in Jaguar customisation.

The company has announced the second in their series of Jaguar E-type Series 1 launches: the Roadster. With sumptuous bespoke leather interiors, the company aims to preserve the E-type for the next generation, while elevating the driving experience.

Despite the beauty of its lines, the original E-type was beset with unreliable electronics, a troublesome carburetor and a less than luxurious black plastic interior. Helm Motorcars has revitalised the car for today’s standards.

In the 60 years since Malcolm Sayer’s design first wowed the automotive world, huge improvements in technology and techniques mean that by utilising everything from 3D printing, LCD displays and parking sensor technology, soft-close doors and bespoke inertia seatbelts to upgrades in paint and metalwork as well as the quality of materials throughout, this E-type is a modern classic in more ways than one.

Working with the renowned Bill Amberg Studio to design the leather interiors as well as a pair of unique, made to measure weekend bags has, says the company, updated the E-Type interior with sensitivity and flair.

Amberg was keen to introduce classic English racing detail in the leatherwork, using a combination of the finest suede and leathers previously used only in luxury residential interiors, playing up the textural differences between the two materials. The use of vegetable-tanned black leather adds a feel of discreet luxury, and was created alongside the chassis build.

The company says that this has been the hardest project so far undertaken, demanding countless prototypes and the development of a number of ‘firsts’ in terms of design, development and engineering.

As for the final result – car number two in a strictly limited edition of just 20 – had a build time of over 6,000 hours.  Only 20 cars will be produced, all to the exact specification of the owners.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.