RESTORE WITH PASSION!
Ok, I’m sorry, but I just can’t stop loving classic Jaguars – particularly the highly seductive E-Types. To me, as the automotive world becomes more and more interconnected, they produce cars that are more and more of a single mind – a convention of gum-drop-like critters whose only means of distinction is grill ornamentation. Where have the artisans gone? Where are the designers who can produce the romantic elegance of the S.S. 100, the sleek genius of the C and D-Types or the combination of those attributes in the E-Type? I can buy the best models produced by best manufacturers – even by Jaguar – for far less than what I am putting in the restoration of my beloved E-Type. Why would I even consider such a thing?
If I bought a new “super car”, their average weight is a thousand pounds more than my OTS E-Type. Oh sure, these new cars would be loaded with all kinds of sexy gadgets, but what do those gadgets really do when you step on the gas or head into a tight turn? Imagine a thousand pounds of lead bricks in the passenger’s seat while trying to get any of these new cars to perform. You will, no doubt, be quick to rebut me. You would point to the performance figures, which will bear out that, despite all of this additional weight, any of these new cars would beat the pants off my E-Type – and you would be correct until now!
Most of the models that Jaguar ever produced were powered by the race-famous XK6 engine. This iconic design, introduced in 1949 and used up to 1992, was solely responsible for Jaguar’s ascent to supercar status and the legacy that the current Jaguar company is working hard to revive. I visited a friend of mine, Greg Hunt, owner of Kiwi Engineering to discuss ideas for improving the performance of my fond old cat. Greg believes that the XK engine’s potential was never realized. He also said, “if you had to put your finger on only one part in the entire E-Type that could have the greatest effect on its performance, it would be the cylinder head.” This is significant because Greg worked as an engine developer for Tom Walkinshaw Racing, which was part of the Jaguar Race Team when they won Le Mans in 1988. Greg also developed engine performance for Jaguar, Aston Martin Racing and Callaway so his level of expertise is extremely rare.
Greg brought me to engineer, John Stowe, who owned a foundry called, Sycast. John has a lifetime of experience in cylinder head design, pattern making and casting. Greg asked John to design a twin-spark version of the XK6 cylinder head because his racing experience led him to believe that there was untapped potential in that type of design. After 15 months of computer modeling, prototyping, flow bench testing and 3D printed mold development, John’s company produced the very first batch of RestoGusto twin spark cylinder heads for the XK6 engine.
Initial testing of the RestoGusto cylinder head, done just before I wrote this piece, revealed that my XK6 engine, wearing its original S.U. induction system and cast-iron exhaust manifolds, produced 298.1 horsepower and 335.2 ft/lbs of torque where the original engines produce about 210 hp. Greg said there is more to be had. He however paused testing because the S.U. induction system and cast-iron exhaust manifolds were too restrictive to realize the full potential of the new cylinder head. RestoGusto is now developing parts to overcome those losses.
As Greg and John were busy working on the cylinder head project, I was working with Quaife Engineering in the U.K. on a new transmission, which could handle the torque that our modified XK6 engines would likely make. As with the cylinder head project, when talented engineers are focused upon a product for a particular application, good things happen. This project lead to a new flywheel that times the engine to nanosecond accuracy, XK6 & V-12 bell housings and a new alloy, auto torque biasing differential.
As we could foresee that the exhaust system would soon become a focus of our development work, I brought Jimmy Stewart,owner of Classicfabs, into our group. Jimmy’s company makes the finest exhaust systems for Jaguars we have seen. He has made prototypes that Greg is dyno testing with our head to find one that meets sound regulations but does not rob power potential.
In order to get the power to the pavement and to improve handling, we have commissioned tooling to be made at Turrino Wire Wheels in the UK for an 18” alloy rim. Wire wheels fitted with these alloy rims will have the correct back spacing offset to fit 7” wide rims on an E-Type without any sheet metal alteration. In a car that was originally capable of reaching 150 mph, it is not wise to add 50% or more power yet continue to drive on tires that are not optimized for high speed handling.
RestoGusto is also developing kits with Woodward Steering for converting Jaguars with manual steering to power-assisted rack steering. We have another project with Wilwood to develop a totally reengineered braking system for the E-Type. This development uses the extra space provided by the 18” rims to put 14” six piston calipers. These products will be introduced later in 2018.
When all of these improvements are brought to bear upon the original E-Type design, it will no longer be a car of mediocre performance by today’s standards. Because our transmission, differential and tire rims are now aluminum instead of the steel originals, and because we estimate the full street-driven potential of our XK6 engine to be ~360 hp, we know that a RestoGustoimproved E-Type will have a power-to-weight ratio that will rival current day supercar status. With the suspension, steering and tire upgrades, the handling should be on that par as well.
I created RestoGusto to provide fellow Jaguar enthusiasts the opportunity to continue driving their cars with pride and satisfaction as never before. After proving its point with the E-Type, RG intends to adapt all of its innovations to other classic Jaguar models. As all of these modifications are completely reversible, if one retains all of the original parts they are replacing, the value of their cat can only increase. Now go out and RESTORE WITH PASSION! John Schimenti, RG Founder.