The Frankenstein 20B E-Type Is Alive

It barely seems five minutes since I was stood in Coltech Classics workshop in Poole, Dorset looking down in amazement at Pipey McGraw’s multi-coloured, floor-scraping Jaguar E-Type build.

In its half-finished state it was an ambitious and ludicrous project; a space-framed and slammed Jaguar E-Type running a naturally aspirated Mazda 20B triple-rotor engine. That sentence alone is enough to make your average E-Type owner discard their leather driving gloves, throw down their tweed flat cap and pen a very strongly worded letter of disapproval to the E-Type owner’s club chairperson.

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Pipey had told me he was aiming to have the car up and running for Retro Rides Gathering in August, just eight weeks later. I had hoped to catch up with him again before the engine went in, but life and timing conspired against us and it wasn’t to be.

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If you caught my event coverage from Retro Rides Gathering however, you’ll already know the good news – the car made it, and even ran up the hill.

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Finding Pipey and the 3type at Shelsley Walsh was simple enough – look for the biggest gathering of people and you’re there. As I arrived and made my way through the crowd, the first thing I noticed was that the car was all one colour.

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Pipey opted for an Irish Green shade for the Jaguar, but was keen to retain its weathered patina, rust holes and all. It’s an effect that would look half-done on most cars, but complete with a simple racing number roundel on each door it suits this hot rod perfectly.

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Since we last saw the car the widened front fenders have been grafted in place too, perfectly matching up to the Porsche 930 rears.

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Pipey ran out of funds and time to source an original replacement rear panel to remove the poorly frenched rear lights – a modification carried out by the previous owner – so they’re staying put for the time being. He did manage to find a suitable rear diffuser to fit, however.

It really shouldn’t work, but it just does.

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One key change you’ll notice at the front is the bonnet opening. Coltech Classics did away with the hinged front end, opting for a far more simple and efficient bonnet opening.

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You’ll also notice that the mock-up engine has gone, and there’s now a shiny new 20B sitting in its place. In the fair hands of rotary expert Brad O’Nians at Triple B Engineering in Northampton, the car now features a fully built bridge-ported triple rotor.

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Rather than retain the stock turbochargers, Triple B opted for a high-compression, high-revving naturally aspirated motor. The car arrived at Shelsley Walsh with the engine in place, but not plumbed in. Some 14 hours later, I was fortunate enough to show up just as the team sparked it to life after painstakingly grafting together a custom loom overnight.

After diagnosing some initial teething issues, the car was tuned with a basic run-in map, allowing Pipey to take it for a tentative first drive up the hill at Shelsley.

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When he approached the start line he looked very apprehensive – the engine was smoking like a chimney as it burnt off its newness. Pipey was limited to a maximum 3,000rpm, but when he returned from the top, he was beaming from ear-to-ear. All of the hours had been worth it.

The car sounds and look incredible. I don’t think there’s anything I’d change – its unique, it’s controversial and very daft.

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There’s still a fair way to go before Pipey considers the build done. With the wiring completed on site there’s still plenty of tidying to do, and the E-Type’s transmission tunnel is nothing but a frame at the minute. There are lots of little jobs and niggles that need addressing before it can hit the road too.

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It’s going to be well worth the wait, and I can’t wait to see, hear, take a ride in and shoot this thing once it’s finished.

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
Facebook: Jordan Butters Photography
jordan@speedhunters.com

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19 comments

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1

Jeeze, that thing must sound like a lit belt of firecrackers in an oil drum going down the street.

2

Hah!

3

I am excited to see this when finished. This just makes the desire for a rotary engined something stronger and stronger.

4

Dude, the color is British racing green. It is to be applied with a drunk, dirty paint brush the night before a race, as is tradition.

Author5

It's a simile shade to BRG, but this is a Porsche colour called Irish Green.

6

Am i the only one who actually likes those rear lights? I think they look quirky and cool.

7

I agree they are great. Don't get a lot of frenched lights these days

8

Anyone agree that it's impossible to offend with a rotary swap? To me, something so quirky is the compete opposite of an LS swap. It's too cool not to love.

9

If a more modern engine was required, there are any number of far superior original Jaguar engines available. This thing is a travesty.

10
Brennan McKissick

I don't think it was about "a more modern engine being acquired" as much as it was finding something unique. Also, a superior Jaguar engine would have cost a bunch more money I'd expect as well.

Author11

I'm sure there's a handful of offended E-Type owners out there

12

roof needs a chop top. chopping down the roof would make it look less green house like.

13

please don't install rear lights....but make quad-exhausts sticking out of them.

14

Any videos of it running..?

15

I'm on board.

Obviously, nobody's inviting me to make suggestion ;) but if I may make so bold ... the nose would look even more amazing if they could get rid of the indicator/sidelight cluster like in the photos when it was half-built. Maybe find a way to locate an indicator bulb in the main headlamp scoop? Or even just relocate the current cluster to lower down on the nose - but it would be very vulnerable to road chips...

16
Robbie Kazandjian

We need pics with the bonnet on!

18
JBfromSiliconValley

I really love shit like this: creative and pisses purists off while making a faster, more driveable, better looking bodied build.

3 rotor needs boost!

19

this girl looks so pissed off at what his done lol

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