True romance: introducing the Helm E-Type Roadster, an icon of automotive design, reimagined to today’s standards

Helm is proud to announce the second in our series of Jaguar E-type Series 1 launches: the Roadster. Working closely with Bill Amberg to produce sumptuous bespoke leather interiors, our aim is to preserve the art of the E-type for the next generation, while elevating the driving experience and build to the pinnacle of contemporary luxury.

Despite the beauty of its lines, the original E-type was beset with unreliable electronics, a troublesome carburetor and a less than luxurious black plastic interior: now, in introducing our first Roadster, we have reimagined a classic, fit for today’s standards.

The ultimate E-type
Helm is the culmination of a lifetime’s work for renowned restoration specialist Chedeen Battick, who boasts over a decade’s worth of experience restoring E-types. ‘I wanted to create the ultimate E-type: remaining sensitive to its history, but ensuring the drive, build and performance is as good as it can possibly be, using the finest materials and British craftsmanship combined with the finest standards of modern engineering, instilling a feeling of love, care and attention to detail within each component.’

In the 60 years since Malcolm Sayer’s design first wowed the automotive world, huge improvements in technology and techniques mean that his original vision for the E-type can now be fully realized. By utilising everything from 3D printing, LCD displays and parking sensor technology, soft-close doors and bespoke inertia seatbelts to upgrades in paint and metalwork as well as the quality of materials throughout, this is the E-type as it always should have been.

Now, with our first Roadster model, the romance of the E-type is fulfilled. This is a car that was always designed to be driven rather than simply admired – and what could be a more alluring than the chance to take to the open road with the top down in an icon of modern design?

A classic, crafted interior to match
Working with Bill Amberg Studio to design the leather interiors as well as a pair of unique, made to measure weekend bags has been a genuine meeting of minds.

‘Bill is a real car enthusiast,’ says Chedeen. ‘He has a passionate opinion on what a classic car should look like, so this project has been a developing partnership. Bill’s aesthetic: luxury but understated, modern but classic, demonstrating the expertise of traditional British craftwork, perfectly matches our own at Helm.’

For his part, Amberg was enthused by the shared vision of updating a classic design with sensitivity and flair. ‘Usually with a renovation project, you’re dealing with a flashy upgrade or else a faithful recreation of what it looked like when it first came out on the factory floor,’ says Amberg. ‘The idea was to create an interior for how the E-type could have been if the same attention was paid to the inside detailing, in order to match the iconic shape of the exterior. We’re trying to produce something that reflects the spirit of the car.’

Amberg was keen to introduce classic English racing detail in the leatherwork, using a combination of the finest suede and leathers previously used only in luxury residential interiors, playing up the textural differences between the two materials. The use of vegetable-tanned black leather adds a feel of discreet luxury, and was created alongside the chassis build, with constant checks to ensure the bespoke design fitted seamlessly.

The Roadster comes complete with its own set of purpose-built Bill Amberg luggage, too. ‘We thought it would be much better to have a more casual, spur of the moment travel bag,’ Amberg explains. Made from soft, lightweight black Italian calf-skin, the pair of bags are held neatly in place with handmade leather straps: the ultimate in weekend escapism.

The best of the best
As for the final result – car number two in a strictly limited edition of just 20 – the reward has been worth all the effort (with a build time of over 6,000 man hours).

This has been the hardest project Helm has so far undertaken, demanding countless prototypes and the development of a number of ‘firsts’ in terms of design, development and engineering. But what a first the E-Type Roadster has proven to be…

Helm exists to push the boundaries of automotive restoration, and is born out of a love for the Series 1 Jaguar E-type.

Bringing together uncompromising production standards, with advanced modern technology and bespoke interiors, it has a mission to celebrate the artistry of the iconic Series 1 design, while elevating the driving experience to the pinnacle of contemporary luxury.

Helm E-types are produced to the exact specification of the owners, to create unique works of automotive art, which will never be replicated.

Only 20 cars will be produced, all to the exact specification of the owners, to create unique works of automotive art, which will never be replicated.

Originally designed by former aeronautics engineer Malcolm Sayer, on its release on 15 March 1961, Enzo Ferrari described the Series 1 Jaguar E-type as ‘the most beautiful car ever made’.

Bill Amberg Studio has existed for over 30 years, and today stands as an industry leader in bespoke leather products, interiors and furniture. Bringing together designers and artisans from the worlds of saddlery, case-making, bookbinding and other forms of fine leathercraft, the studio has a mission to explore the aesthetic and material possibilities of leather.

Their work runs the gamut from bags and accessories, through to timeless bespoke furniture and interiors for high-end private residences, commercial projects and cultural institutions around the globe.

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