Eagle was founded in England in 1984 with a sole focus on the Jaguar E-Type – both classic restorations and preparing cars for competition. In 1989, company founder Henry Pearman and co-driver Gordon Cruickshank took part in the Pirelli Classic Marathon, taking on Pirelli’s “Famous Five” of Stirling Moss, Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Makinen, Roger Clark and Ove Andersson.
Henry and Gordon took a decisive victory in the event, which went a long way towards putting Eagle on the map as the pre-eminent E-Type garage in Britain. As the 1990s progressed the company divided its resources between two major divisions – one focussed on restoring cars back to factory spec, and the other on building upgraded E-Types with high-performance brakes, suspension, engines, and transmissions, with bespoke interiors, and bodies.
The car you see here is the new Eagle Spyder GT – it joins the Eagle Speedster, the Eagle E-Type, and the Eagle Low Drag GT in the line-up of bespoke Jaguars offered by the Sussex-based company with modern underpinnings.
As with its stable-mates, the Spyder GT starts as an original E-Type in need of restoration. It’s stripped down to its individual components and painstakingly rebuilt to a specification significantly higher than any car that left the original production line.
The Spyder GT has a bespoke aluminium monocoque that’s far lighter than the mild steel original (and less prone to corrosion). This new body has deeper sills, a lower floor pan for a lower seating position, and wider wheel arches which offer the ability to fit larger wheels and tires.
A completely new interior was fitted, with a larger upswept centre console with a hidden handbrake lever and an integrated stereo head unit. The new aluminium body is seamless, and thanks to its careful hand assembly it has some of the narrowest door, boot, and hood gaps you’ll see on a fully functioning road car.
Interestingly, the 4.7 litre XK engine used on the Spyder GT has a block cast from aluminium to reduce weight. It’s fitted with a big valve ported head, a bespoke billet crankshaft, special rods, special forged pistons, a billet oil pump, and far more than I can list here.
Each Eagle gearbox is cast in aluminium (instead of the original steel) and has custom ratios, with the addition of a 5th gear for highway driving and touring. The client who ordered this first example of the model also ordered it with a magnesium differential case, magnesium rear uprights, tubular drive shafts, and tubular lower rear wishbones. He ticked the box for the Full Eagle Sport suspension which includes altered spring rates, performance bushes, altered geometry, and bespoke Öhlins damping. This was coupled with the Full Eagle Sport braking, including AP discs and calipers, and oversized servo.
With 330bhp on tap with 340 lbf.ft of torque, the 1029 kilogram Eagle Spyder GT can dash from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds, and reach a top speed of 170+ mph. Performance figures that mean it’s more than capable of rubbing shoulders with modern sports cars, and besting many of them without too much effort.
Upon seeing the Jaguar E-Type for the first time, Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car ever made, which is likely the single biggest compliment in automotive history. One can only imagine what he would think of the Eagle Spyder GT – a car that embodies the best design principles of the 1960s, with state-of-the-art engineering woven deeply into its iconic DNA.
If you’d like to see more from Eagle or order your own, you can click here to visit their official website.
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
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