It doesn’t have to be old to be a classic. When human creativity gets something sublimely right in any field of endeavor — from music to architecture to automobiles — it’s proper to recognize its innate appeal in the present and the future.
The Limited Edition Jaguar F-Type Project 7 is a very new car. Compared to other vehicles that receive the Autolust treatment, it’s a mere pup — a cocky upstart. But, it also just happens to be the kind of car gearheads 50 years from now will be showing off amongst the restored automotive royalty at the Alpa Centauri Concours de Elegance. In fact, the car is already well on the radar of the Concours crowd, as it was the Jaguar showpiece during this year’s Motorsports Reunion at Monterey Car Week.
The standard Jaguar F-Type is already a well-lauded, decorated modern day smash hit. It won its share of “Car of the Year” honors after it arrived in 2013 and inspired a very successful “villainous” ad campaign to hype it further. The car has now settled snugly into Jaguar’s line in various trim levels.
The Project 7 emerged from F-Type concept car work by the automaker. Jaguar showed a hyper-tuned version of their popular sports car at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed back in 2013 before the same car made a tour of the major European auto shows that same year.
As with most concept cars, it was widely assumed this was a show piece, a chance for Jaguar to show off what it could build if it chose to put together a maxed-out performance version of the F-Type. That’s what concept cars say to the world, really. It’s all about: “Wouldn’t if be cool if we…?” and “Maybe someday we might…” In the case of the Project 7, Jaguar “went and did it.”
That’s the immediate reason to love the Project 7. So often — too often — automakers never really build the concept cars they show off at the major auto shows. They put out something close a year or so after they show off an experiment, but the resulting build is always much more realistic and less insane than the “what ifs” and “maybes.” Jaguar decided to turn convention on its head by taking the original F-Type, designing a maximized version of the now world-famous car and building this limited, bespoke run of 250, hand-built Project 7 machines.
According to Jaguar’s engineers, the original F-TYPE Project 7 was built in less than four months before exploding onto the scene at Goodwood. Jaguar dropped the most powerful engine it’s ever produced into the Project 7 – a 5 liter V8 that produces a power output of more than 566 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.
To keep weight down, Jaguar turned to an aluminum body construction and extensive use of carbon fiber. The complete, forged aluminum double wishbone suspension creates stability and aids in deft, precise handling precise. By employing carbon fiber in everything from the sport mirrors and vents to the veneers and roof panels, Jaguar maintains the strength of the overall build while removing some pounds from the standard F-Type design. Jaguar’s own carbon ceramic brake system — marked by the impossible to miss yellow monobloc calipers bring all of this power to a stop.
Beyond its striking, race-inspired external styling, the Project 7’s most stirring features is its sharp, angry and booming exhaust notes. A surge of the accelerator pedal sends out a surge of explosive, rattling roars that send echoes over the rooftops and turn heads up close. The Project 7’s signature, manually controlled Switchable Active Sports Exhaust sends extra exhaust gases through the pipes and out the rear of the car for a fiery symphony of well-timed bangs.
While so much of the Project 7 harkens back to Jaguar’s racing history — the color schemes, the racing stripes, the white circle logo on its side that begs for a race car’s field number and the sweeping rear vents — the heart of its driving performance is technology that was never available to Jags of old. The F-Type Adaptive Dynamics driving system adjusts the car’s response on the fly, modifying torque, grip, acceleration and other elements to both the road conditions and the owner’s personal driving style.
So, from how the individual car accelerates to how and when it shifts gears, the Adaptive Dynamics make each Project 7 as uniquely connected to its owner and driver as the fingerprints he or she leaves on the wheel.