What's the best-looking car designed by Ian Callum? A discussion that could take a while, given he was responsible for some incredible Aston Martins - DB7, Vanquish and DB9 - the Ford Puma and the Volvo C70. When it comes to his achievements as Jaguar Director of Design, however, there's surely only one contender - the F-Type.
The task was huge: not simply taking the successful reinvention of the saloons into sports cars (and replacing the XK in the process) but using that name. Finally, a replacement for the E-Type, nearly 40 years after it went off sale. A follow up to a car renowned and revered the world over for its styling, a car that defines Jaguar's sports car heritage and which had followed two stunning predecessors as well. The F-Type had to look superb because the E-Type did, as the C- and D-Type had before it, albeit with different remits.
Fortunately, thanks to Callum's work, the F-Type was a great piece of design. Hardly dainty and petite like an E-Type, sure, but suggestively proportioned, stylish, modern and with enough clues to hint at the heritage. Arguably, in fact, the Coupe was the best-looking F-Type, though the Convertible is the focus for today.
Why? Well, yep, it is a little Ian Callum celebration, but also it's here because this is a V8 F-Type for £30k. £29,879 to be precise. The odd one or two have snuck through at this price before, so this isn't a unique case, but it's a move in the market that's well worth shouting about. As the effects of age and mileage take hold, so the F-Type will fall into the grasp of more sports car buyers - and that's quite exciting.
The F-Type range had expanded enormously since launch, but the V8 S is a model that's been off sale for a while now; the 495hp version only lasted for a year from 2013 to 2014, replaced by the 550hp F-Type R in 2014 with the arrival of the Coupe. Once the all-wheel drive option was introduced for the R, demand for the rear-drive waned and was eventually discontinued - this solitary 550hp, rear-drive roadster is there for the discerning few...
But that isn't £30k - this one is. Though quite subtly specced for an F-Type in grey with black and with 70,000 miles showing, there's a lot to be encouraged by - four new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres in March, a warranty until April 2021 and nearly 10 months MOT for a start. Moreover, for those who aim to use the car sparingly, the mileage won't be a concern - 3,000 miles a year will be a very small percentage to add on.
And while an F-Type will continue to depreciate - to where, nobody yet knows - it does look great value for those wishing to take a punt on it. Spend £30k on a Boxster and you'll get this 2012 S, only a little less used than the Jag at 61,000 miles and with 180 fewer horsepower. There's no chance of a 991-era 911 at this money. The closest alternative may well be the Mercedes SLK55 AMG, with cars like this one available with just 10,000 miles at £33k. But the F-Type is a far nicer car to drive.
Add into that the fact this powertrain is still used in SVRs at four times the price and you have what looks like something of a bargain. And a lot of fun. Wonder where it might be in another 70,000 miles?
SPECIFICATION - JAGUAR F-TYPE V8 S
Engine: 5,000cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 495@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 460@3,500rpm
MPG: 25.5 (NEDC combined)
First registered: 2013
Recorded mileage: 70,000
Price new: £79,950 (before options)
Yours for: £29,879