Jaguar’s F-Type two-seat roadster, unveiled in 2000 as a concept car that could take the Coventry marque back into the pure sports car business, may be revived by the company’s new owner, Indian conglomerate, Tata, British reports say
It’s been suggested the car might be launched in 2011 to cash in on the expected post-recession boom.
Jaguar’s charismatic chief designer, Ian Callum, penned the front-engined, rear-wheel drive F-Type concept which would have taken Jaguar into the hardcore sports car market for the first time since the evocative E-Type of the early 1960s.
The concept had a sports race car-like low windscreen and side windows and no hood. Its lines were a reinterpretation of traditional Jaguar cues that can be traced back to the 1950s racing D-Type and its road-going counterpart, the XK-SS, and were refined through the E-Type and the stillborn XK13 mid-engined V12 roadster.
In 2000, then owner Ford shelved the F-Type project, refocusing Jaguar on more practical vehicles like the X-Type as it strove to return the carmaker to profitability. As shown, the F-Type would also have struggled to meet increasingly stringent safety standards, especially those relating to pedestrians.
Front-engined cars with low bonnet lines like the F-Type’s would be hard-pressed to meet pedestrian safety regulations that required a buffer zone between the bonnet and the engine.
The rules said the bonnet had to give to soften the impact should a pedestrian be thrown on to it, but there also had to be a big enough gap to prevent pedestrians depressing the bonnet so much that they hit the solid mass of the engine and were hurt more seriously.
Since then, Jaguar has developed the active bonnet, used on the XK sports cars, that deploys upwards to meet any pedestrian unfortunate enough to be hit by the car. The upward deployment creates a big enough buffer to prevent the pedestrian hitting the engine.
A fresh spirit of daring being shown by Tata and its car-loving chairman, Ratan Tata, could see a development of the F-Type back on Jaguar’s product list, says British magazine Autocar.
It cites Ratan Tata’s statement made during the Jaguar buyout that the carmaker must use image projects like the new roadster to “show a new face.”
“Putting exciting projects on the back burner is the thing we should not do,” said Tata. “Certainly we must attend to business by doing our utmost to cut costs and reduce timeframes, but above all we must ensure that we come out of this slump ahead of where we were, with exciting cars like the roadster that show where we want to go.”
We’ll keep you posted.