One Man Spent Eight Years Building This Insanely Detailed Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe Clone

The painstakingly precise creation at last had its own debut in Monterey at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering this week.

Larry Chen Larry@larrychenphoto.com—Larry Chen

Though the history of the Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe is murky, with various sources offering conflicting accounts of the car's development, opinions of its looks are anything but mixed. A sleeker, prettier version of the model Enzo Ferrari deemed "the most beautiful car ever made," the Low Drag Coupe is arguably just that, and one Marco Diez was so taken with the car that he decided he'd make one himself.

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But because only two Low Drag Coupes were ever assembled, and by different parties at that, recreating the object of Diez's affection—the car known as "49FXN" for its license plate—wasn't easy. It took Diez eight years to bring his own E-Type, plated OWL226, even close to the 49FXN car's original specification, but today, his car is practically the original's twin. Save for a handful of creative liberties he took during the build, of course.

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Between Diez's 49FXN muse and his own OWL226, the biggest difference is that the original was a stripped-out, race-ready concept, while Diez's car has no buts about being a street car. Its interior was carefully crafted to be nicer than that of an original E-Type, with proprietary gauges, a custom-machined steering wheel, and a one-off air conditioning setup. Most of it is held together with screws specially machined for this very project, and to (literally) top it all off, there's even a custom roll bar integrated into the seats' headrests, to protect occupants in the event that this car ever ends up on its roof.

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Not that anyone wants it to be on its roof, but Diez's Low Drag Coupe is more than fast enough to end up there if driven by a sufficient idiot (which it hopefully won't be). Its power comes from a 3.8-liter inline-six that mimics 49FXN's unique setup with a ram-air intake that feeds side-draft Weber carburetors. It's built with all the best parts available from British speed shop Crosthwaite and Gardiner and produces 380 horsepower, making it more than a handful in a car that dates from the early 1960s.

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Diez was proud to unveil OWL226 at Monterey Car Week's most exclusive event: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.

"Unveiling this car at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering was the culmination of nearly a decade's work," Diez said at the show. "This Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe has been a passion project. I believe '49FXN' is the one of most beautiful automobiles ever made, so to take inspiration from that and make it my own is a dream come true."

Larry Chen