Jaguar E-type Lightweight

Jaguar E-typeJaguar is one of the world’s great car brands. Over its ninety two year history, the Coventry company has had more than its fair share of hard times, but then seems to rise to do amazing things. One of its finest moments was of course the E-type [pictured], released in 1961. It was an iconic car which personified Britain’s ‘swinging sixties’, and also happened to be responsible for Britain setting its first national speed limit. (Legend has it that when testing the E-type, Jaguar factory test drivers used to whizz down the M1 at speeds approaching 150MPH, and the Police weren’t best pleased!)

Now, Jaguar has announced that it will make six brand new E-types. The last full production car was made in 1973, so this is a very special project. It’s the first time that Jaguar has recreated one its many beautiful cars, and they are said to be perfect reproductions of the original, handmade to the exact specifications of the first twelve cars and using up the remaining chassis numbers allocated in 1963. They will have the correct all aluminium 3·8-litre XK straight-six engine, but the body will be made from aluminium instead of the original steel. Jaguar currently makes its XJ, XK and F-type cars from this lighter metal, giving the cars exceptional performance for their size. The ‘new’ E-type will be called the ‘E-type Lightweight’ to reflect this.

Don’t expect to be able to walk into your local Jaguar dealer and ask for a discount. These stunning recreations for the Malcolm Sayer original are likely to be in extremely high demand with incredibly high prices, likely to be much more expensive than any of Jaguar’s current new car range!

Happy birthday

David Bailey portrait of QueenTo commemorate the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, a new portrait photograph has been commissioned on behalf of the British government’s Great Britain campaign. Taken by famous photographer David Bailey at Buckingham Palace, it shows a happy, relaxed and smiling lady.

History goes online

British PatheNews company British Pathé has uploaded its complete collection of historic films. From 1896 to 1976 the company made newsreels which documented contemporary events around the world, and were shown weekly at British cinemas. They’re a fascinating historical treasure trove, showing how we used to live. 85,000 films are now online in high resolution on its YouTube channel. From music and art to sport and showbusiness, there’s something for everyone.

General Manager of British Pathé Alastair White says, “Whether you’re looking for the Royal Family, the Titanic, the destruction of the Hindenburg, or quirky stories about British pastimes, it’s on our channel. You can lose yourself for hours.”

One favourite is this short film showing Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb [pictured] being greeted by 8,000 adoring fans in Carnaby Street in 1969. He’s presented with the Best Dressed Personality of the Year award by Bond Girl Tsai Chin. Also present are The Equals, Status Quo and The Troggs.

Sweet smell of success

Richard E GrantRichard E Grant is an aristocrat of acting. Most famous for his brilliant work in Withnail and I, he has lit up many films from Spiceworld to Bram Stocker’s Dracula. When not in front of the camera, he’s a serious fan of fragrances. While holidaying on the Caribbean island of Mustique with his friend Anya Hindmarch a couple of years ago, he took in the special scent of a gardenia bush, and this inspired him to create his very own perfume. After many months of development, his new fragrance has finally gone on sale at Liberty’s of London. Jack contains a mix of earthy citrus scents, and costs £95 per bottle.

Say what?

accent mapOne of the puzzling things about the United Kingdom is how so many different English accents can exist so closely to one another – in parts of the UK you only need drive for half an hour to hear a completely different dialect! This short video shows professional accent and dialect coach Andrew Jack switching between the UK’s various regional accents as he moves around the map.

Money, money, money

£1The Royal Mint – the government owned company responsible for designing and producing money in Great Britain – is introducing a new one pound (£1) coin. The change has been prompted to combat fraud; it is estimated that several million pounds are lost to fake £1 coins. The new 12-sided coin pays homage to the old three pence piece or ‘threepenny bit’, phased out in 1971 and one of the most popular ever British coins, but will contain special fraud-prevention measures. It will be made from two metals rather than one, and the Royal Mint’s Integrated Secure Identification System is said to offer greater currency security. The Queen’s head will be on the reverse side, and there will be a public competition to design the front.