In 1967, this prototype Jaguar was made conjunction with The Daily Telegraph as a redesigned Jaguar E-Type. Starting a new 4.2-litre 2+2 from Jaguar, Marcello Gandini at Bertone redesigned the car into an “ideal car” with direct help from Jaguar and their partners.
The Pirana debuted at the 1967 London Motor Show at Earl’s Court on the stand of Carrozzeria Bertone S.A.S. In many ways this was Bertone’s bid at styling the E-Type’s replacement which never happened. Afterward it was shown at the Turin and New York motor shows.
At the request of John Anstey from the The Daily Telegraph, the Pirana was delivered as a fully-functioning car that retained the entire E-Type running gear. Bob Berry from Jaguar PR fully supported the project and opened up the door to Jaguar’s suppliers.
The Pirana was produced at Bertone at the same time as the Alfa Romeo Montreal Prototype and shares many design cues such as the swept up rear quarter windows. Some of the design features around the headlights were also later used for the Lamborghini Espada.
Bertone extensively recreated the interior with a new integrated center console, redesigned seats and new door panels. They also fitted power door windows and a powered radio antenna. Smiths Industries assisted with much of the interior including a prototype climate control system which fed cool air to the roof and warm air through the floor. Furthermore a tape recorder system was installed which was a precursor to the cassette tape.
The car was featured as a cover car of The Daily Telegraph Magazine with the line “We built the star of the Motor show.” Partners at the time included Smiths Industries who fitted a new air conditioning system, Joseph Lucas for new lights, the Connolly Brothers who supplied a new type of leather known as Britax.