The end of the Jaguar F-Type is nigh. It wasn’t so long ago that Jaguar was spitting out fire-breathing supercharged monsters into virtually every model range. The XFR-S, the Project 8, and the XJR were all brilliant cars for those with a penchant for speed. Come 2025, the speed will likely remain, but the soundtrack of British gravel will disappear as the brand goes all-in on the electric future.
To celebrate the last model year of the F-Type, Jaguar’s launched the F-Type 75 and R 75 to commemorate 75 years of Jaguar sports cars. Back in 1949, the Jaguar XK120 became the fastest production car in the world, topping out at 124 mph. While this seems a bit silly now, imagine wandering down an A-road in your Ford Anglia, only to get absolutely blitzed by a swooping specter of inline-six speed. From there, Jaguar sports car history is filled with greats. The paired-down XKSS, the iconic E-Type, the bewitching XJ220, and of course, the F-Type.
Strangely, the F-Type 75 and R 75 don’t get much in the way of special stuff. Aside from badges, wheels, a black headliner, and the option of Giola Green Metallic paint, these special cars are virtually identical to their standard counterparts. No extra power, no special handling bits, just a bit of cosmetic glimmer. However, how do you improve the F-Type?
Admittedly, there’s a lot wrong with the Jaguar F-Type that could be improved. It weighs as much as a cathedral, the view out is through a mail slot, the trunk can only hold an orange, and the rather corporate facelift makes it look like two different cars taped together. Long-term reliability on early models hasn’t been brilliant, the base four-cylinder engine feels a bit inappropriate, the short-lived manual V6 models were initially troubled by a batch of bad clutches, the car itself is a decade old, and it arguably started the stupid trend of artificial pops and bangs. However, none of this really matters, for the F-Type is loved.
Every engine has character, and V8s are some of the most characterful around. They writhe and bellow like living things, especially when there are no pesky turbochargers to dull exhaust note. While the base F-Type does feature a fairly cooking-grade four-cylinder engine, a five-liter V8 in two states of tune is also available. Oh, and did I mention that it’s supercharged? Whether you opt for the standard 444 horsepower version or the 575 horsepower R version, there’s no wrong way to order a V8 F-Type. Sure, the 444-horsepower rear-wheel-drive version is twitchier than a Jack Russel Terrier, but that’s part of the fun. Many modern cars dull the sensation of speed, whereas the rear-wheel-drive V8 F-Type really makes you feel its speed.
From the rear three-quarter view, the F-Type still looks incredible. Wide, near-horizontal haunches, delightfully slim tail lights, and massive wheels combine to create one of the best rear three-quarter views in the automotive kingdom. So what if the interior’s a bit crap? This car oozes style. More importantly, it’s stylish without being trashy. If you pull up in a Toyota GR Supra or Porsche 718 Cayman, you’ll either look like you’re about to start talking about crypto or like you couldn’t afford a Porsche 911. Not so with an F-Type.
Complex love is what makes a car great. The joy of owning it, the odd pain of running it, and the pantomime of brilliant internal combustion. Old BMWs have terrible cooling systems and brittle plastics, yet because the straight-six engines are so characterful and the suspension systems were tuned by people who love driving, everyone wants a Bavarian banger. Most old muscle cars can’t turn or stop particularly well and weren’t assembled with anything approaching precision, yet people pull out their phones when one drives past because muscle cars are affable louts. In twenty years’ time, we’ll look back on the F-Type in a similar way, as a car made by people who love cars. Not people who love software, not people who love technical challenges on paper, not people who love objective speed, people who love cars. Buy one while you still have the chance.