TWO F CARS AT THE CAR SHOW
F-types from Jaguar and Ford
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Dec 4, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
STOKED: AT THE LA AUTO SHOW Jagged Little Pill I’m not too sure if all the “spiritual successor to the immortal Jaguar XKE” cross talk that proceeded the unveiling of the company’s first two-seater sports car in over 50 years didn’t dim my view of the car at this first stateside reveal. Don’t get me wrong, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a sensational-looking cat from just about every angle, and the lovely choice of “nice”, “athletic”, and “ohmygawd” engines is just fine and dandy here. The problem is that I was expecting the sort of liquid lines that the XKE had laid on us those 50 years ago. A look so sensual and so impractical that it was most likely deemed unrepeatable by the creative team at Jaguar, they didn’t say that today. But I felt it. In the wine world this coachwork would be said to have “hints” of other classic designs, as I toured ‘round the car, I saw wisps of Saleen, Aston, Shelby, and TVR. All good, but as for great…
(Understand, using the term “Type” in a model’s name is pretty darn close to a sacred promise to the Jaguar faithful. There was the C-Type, the D-Type, and even a one-off race car that was designated as the “E-Type”. The XKE was often colloquially called an E-Type but never by the factory, by the way. Bestowing that “Type” title is serious business to some. Expectations redline at the mention.) Taking off my XKE-Comparo goggles, I see this aluminum-framed beauty is as soul-searing as anything out there. Starting at just under $70K and plateauing at just under $100K, I’ll be the first to try to recalibrate my eyeballs for this truly L.A. car.
A Fiestavus for the rest of us Good things can come in threes and Ford is out to prove that with of the smallest engines that they’ve ever put into a production model. This afternoon, at the Auto Show’s only outdoor press conference, Ford showed the assembled media a three-cylinder, turbocharged (“EcoBoost”) 1,000cc version of their popular Fiesta that was looking at “best in class” fuel mileage honors (way better than 40+ mpg and getting close to the dreaded 2024 CAFE rules) and that had the get up and go of a much larger and far more thirsty engine. The car was shown with a 5-speed manual and, checking the specs, I don’t see an automatic in the options list. Of course, in a car like this, a “stick” is always more fun anyway. (Keeping this one on its torque peak with the proper selection of gears may bring back the fun of shifting gears that’s been lost to high-tech automatics and paddle-shifters.) Far from the dreaded econ-boxes of old (we had another two-word name that ended in “box” that was even less flattering) this Fiesta will make gas mileage-getting fun again. For the less-miserly, this “baby grand” has two 1.6-liter sisters that are almost as miserly with the petrol as herself. The far end of the spectrum from the (almost) salacious Jag … but an L.A. car well and truly!
SIDEBAR: HOT RODS TO HEAVEN Many of the tech-tricks that have been employed above to either make: (1) a stunning sports car, or (2) a gas-sipping runabout, have old-fashion, down and (not so) dirty hot rodding to thank for the boost. Starting with turbo and super-charging: the weeest and the wildest models in the above duo both feature what we called “forced induction”, the use of an ancillary device to get more air and fuel into an engine and make more power. Both machines feature light, but very strong chassis, and the Jag has “dual quad” (aka: “twice pipes” on a low rod) exhausts that look good but work even gooder to let its top line version kick out only 5 shy of 500 horsepower. Tricks like very precise control of valve timing overlap in the small Ford 1.6 liter engine adds power and economy just like the old “cam grinders” used to look for incremental horse power boosts with the “bump stick”. And of course, the now-ubiquitous fuel injection was something that the really quick guys were already starting to use in the 50’s to go fast way back then. - Doug Stokes For more on the LA Auto Show, go to The Mothers of Invention at the L.A. Convention