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Jaguar unveils Project 7 concept

Tue, 09 Jul 2013

For the past couple of years, Associate Editor Blake Z. Rong has been defending the blue stripe bisecting the hood of his Mazda Miata. People look askance at the thing, wondering aloud if the stripe shouldn't perhaps be running from nose to tail rather than from fender to fender. No matter how many times he's asked, he remains cheerful and helpful in his explanation: "It's an FIA stripe. Like they used to have on the old Cobras that ran at Le Mans."

People nod, but inside, they're shaking their heads thinking, "Son, that just ain't right." Ian Callum, however, is on Rong's side; Jaguar just announced Project 7, a one-off concept developed from a sketch by Jaguar designer Cesar Pieri, prior to its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Based on the striking-as-all-get-out new F-Type, it's got D-Type details: a single seat, a cowl behind the driver's head, and across the leading edge of the hood, an FIA stripe.

The name refers to Jag's seven wins at the Circuit de la Sarthe between 1951 and 1990. Painted in a blue meant to honor the 1956-'57 Le Mans-winning D-Types, the monoposto F-type isn't all retro. Carbon-fiber details bring it into the present — the wing, the splitter, the sill extensions and the splitter are all made from the stuff. In place of the passenger seat, there's a tiedown point for one's helmet.

We're not entirely sure that tacked-on cowls work visually on modern cars (see the recent Boxster Spyder), but the white-line tires look boss, and a 542-hp supercharged AJ is not a V8 to be scoffed at. Or looked at askance.

The car goes up the hill at Goodwood under the fleet hands and feet of Mike Cross, the Coventry-based automaker's Chief Engineer, Vehicle integrity.

What think you? Click through the gallery above and leave your comments below. As for us, we'd like to see one with fender spats wearing Silk Cut colors.

By Davey G. Johnson