In A Class Of Its Own: The V12 E-Type Roadster Jaguar Never Built
Photography by Chris Gonzalez
The Jaguar E-Type is synonymous with the best of British design, both aesthetically and and from the standpoint of pure mechanical engineering. The lithe swoops of the car’s exterior draw the eyes of just about everyone—whether they pronounce Jaguar as “Jag Wire” or even know what the brand is to begin with—and then those that know will take a closer look to see if it’s one of the coveted V12-equipped models. Surely all E-Types are unique relative to the herds of cars you may spot them amongst in this day and age, but the Moukoian’s is even further differentiated. This one’s got some genetic modification in its DNA.
Nicko and his father have been building cars for decades (aside from working an assortment of European sports cars hailing from the factories of Mercedes to Aston Martin, his father has also ran a Porsche RSR in competition at endurance racing’s grandest stage, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which goes to show some of his aptitude in the garage), and this is their personal rolling representation of what happens when imagination bolsters an already special vehicle.
This Roadster is in fact two Jags that’ve come together to form a car that was never produced by the manufacturer, yet is still completely in the essence of what the company could have come up with. What began as a pair of E-Types about as far apart from each other as possible within the range—a 1969 Roadster with an inline-six, and a 1973 2+2 with the V12—have been melded together to form this resto-modded machine that doesn’t exactly have the utmost of British reservation. It’s hard to be proper and polite when you’re packing a bored out 5.7-liter V12 under your clamshell hood.
In order to see the plan through and avoid the sad fate of so many half-done, half-baked ideas, the work involved was, well, involved. To produce this short-wheelbase V12 Roadster, the monocoque of the ’69 car was mated to the front end of the 2+2, and the drivetrain was further modified with the aforementioned bump in capacity (from 5.3 to 5.7, no small chunk of volume), and the resulting mill was then fitted to a Richmond six-speed with shorter ratios than the stock ‘box. Helping to translate this new grunt into grip, the chassis has been reinforced with stronger mounts from motor to tranny to diff to the Jag’s complex suspension mounting points, and of course the suspension itself has received a similar level of fettering to make this E-Type an all-around hot-rod, not just a bumped-up motor.
Nicko’s father has owned the car for over two decades at this point, and it was often the source of father-son garage bonding; the medium through which knowledge and enthusiasm are passed down between generations. This conduit can take the shape of a just about anything with an engine and wheels, but we have to say, learning the trade on a souped-up icon of sports and touring cars certainly beats changing the oil on an old pickup truck.
With the car now finished—anyone who’s embarked on work like this knows that nothing’s every truly “done”—the enjoyment comes not from within the garage, but from the winding canyon roads that surround Los Angeles. This cat is more than capable of keeping up with the modern machines that ascend those racetrack-like ribbons each weekend; and did we mention that Nicko’s father has a decade’s-worth of experience racing Porsches back in the ‘80s? If you think this is a cute little English runabout for the shops, you’ve got a surprise coming, and coming fast.