2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: Design Links to the XK120
April 28, 2015
When Edmunds first got a hold of our long-term 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe in July 2014, I told everyone. I was anxious to drive the car and excited to talk about it. If you had five minutes to spare, I was going to tell you about my new favorite car in our fleet. That same week, I spoke to my father and our conversation, as it almost always does, led to cars. He wondered what I was driving and what was new at the office, so of course I brought up the F-Type.
Then, in true Dad-style, he regaled me with tales of a car from his past. In this case, it was his Jaguar XK120. To follow up, he sent me a few photos of the XK120 and his thoughts about the design language of the two cars.
That's Dad's old Jag in the photo (and his period-correct 70's haircut) and here are his thoughts on the XK/F-Type design language:
"Looking at this photo, I was reminded why Jaguar styling has generally been so successful. The great automotive designer Alex Tremulis (who was a good friend for several years before he passed away) once told me that every truly great design is "wheel-specific." He meant that the proportion between the body of the car and its greenhouse had to be in tune with the size and placement of the wheels and tires, especially the size. "Wheel size is everything," he said. Since he designed several Duesenbergs and Cords and the Tucker, he definitely knew.
"When you look at the XK 120, it has those large (for the time) 16-inch wire wheels and those very tall 600x16 tires, which makes the wheel masses dominate the side profile of the car, giving it a sense of motion, power and grace that is just absent in lesser designs. The car exudes the feeling that it was designed from the wheels up, which gives it a purposeful, race-bred look, too. Same with the E-Type and same with the F-Type. They're beautiful because the proportion of the wheels and tires makes them that way."
When I look at the two photos of the different Jaguars, separated by nearly seven decades, it doesn't take me long to see what he's talking about. It also doesn't take long to realize that I'll never be cool enough to pull off that afro, those lifts or bell-bottoms of any kind.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor