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Jaguar Pirana | Pic of the Week

The Jag concept that inspired the Lamborghini Espada can now be in your collection - or just on your desktop

By Matt Bird / Sunday, July 21, 2019

The story of the Jaguar Pirana really is a fascinating one, the kind of escapade that simply wouldn’t happen nowadays. It was the brainchild of the Daily Telegraph’s motoring staff; in 1967, they wanted to discover what their ultimate grand touring car would be like - to have that sort of free time in 2019 - and the Pirana was the incredible result of their ambition.

It was an ambition fuelled by a collaboration with the greats, though. Having been sold a 2+2 E-Type engine and frame by William Lyons, the DT boys needed a designer for their vision. So they did what anyone else would have done in the 1960s: they wrote a letter to Nuccio Bertone, offering him some work. He duly agreed, and along with chief stylist Marcello Gandini they set about working on the Telegraph’s vision. Having only sculpted the first lump of clay in the May of 1967, the Pirana styling buck made its debut at the Earls Court show in October of that year and was sold the May after. It really was (and remains), a stunning piece of design, drawing inspiration from the earlier Lamborghini Marzal but very evidently the basis also for the later Espada. Indeed it’s hard to spot many meaningful differences - Gandini clearly was chuffed with what he’d achieved…

Having disappeared from public view for more than 40 years, the Pirana has been with its current owner since 2011 and sympathetically restored to its original motor show configuration. Now it’s being sold once more, one of many outstanding lots in RM’s upcoming Monterey sale. There isn’t even an estimate, let alone a reserve, though it’s hard to imagine a unique Bertone Jaguar being an entry-level classic purchase. What an incredible thing to be able to own, though. Alas, it shall remain but a dream for many; if you also fall into that camp, join in updating your desktop with a Gandini GT classic - the Jaguar one...

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