This V8-powered E-Type is one of the most controversial cars on the scene right now. But its cheerful owner, Pipey McGraw, isn’t too worried that he won’t be getting an invite to the E-Type Owners’ Club’s Christmas party – he just built this thing to have fun…
The world is broken. It’s devastating, but it’s true – even if you’re able to look past the melting ice caps and the dying bees, it’s really humanity itself that’s the problem. We just don’t like each other very much. Have a look at your preferred news app of choice, and see how many of the headlines are positive, happy stories – two? One? None?
No, it’s all hate crimes and stabbings and racism veiled as nationalism. Asinine celebrity provocateurs like Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins make a living from deliberately insulting people online to get clicks. Social media is riddled with hate, with people’s default position being to criticise and belittle rather than support and celebrate.
This isn’t anything new, not really. People have been starting wars and burning each other’s villages for millennia, in the name of money or religion or property. Humans have never liked each other.
Now, there are two ways to react to this toxic state of affairs. The first is to let it break you down, to retreat into yourself, kick out at the world, and give up on humanity. The second – and by far the healthier option – is to do what Pipey McGraw does, and simply enjoy your life with a big smile on your face and not care what other people think.
This isn’t to say Pipey’s a jester, or some sort of doormat; he likes to needle and provoke for the sake of his own amusement, and this is mirrored in the cars he builds. His previous hits include the world’s lowest Mk1 Golf, the shell dropped onto a Beetle chassis and running a bridge-ported Wankel rotary in the back, and a VW K70 artfully buttered over the mechanicals of a Passat W8 – both of which achieved two important things: to create cars that have never been attempted (or even imagined) before, and to get up the noses of classic car enthusiasts.
Because if there’s one thing that classic purists really love, with their tweed elbow patches and old-money snootiness, it’s to insult and deride young-upstart modifiers. Pipey loves to prick their pomposity. And with this outrageous E-Type, he’s really putting some noses out of joint.
“Modifying an E-Type is always going to ruffle some feathers,” he laughs. “It gets as much dislike as it does likes… but nine times out of ten when I explain to people who hate it that I’ve not just taken a perfectly fine E-Type and modified it, but instead spent a year and half trawling the country for scrapyards and Jag restorers and piecing it together, they seem to come round to it a bit! I mean, I’m only in my twenties. I’d love to be in a position to buy and modify an E-Type, but I don’t have thirty or forty grand lying around to buy a basket case that looks like it’s been chilling with the Titanic most of its life, then plough another thirty or forty grand into restoring it. My Jag has been built realistically, the only way I could actually do it and make it happen.”
We’re on fairly safe ground to park the ‘sacrilege’ label, then. Sure, it’s not a sympathetic restoration, but neither is it a hooligan reworking of…