Builder Of The V12 “Jaguair” Dies; One Of Those Rare Persons Who Made Their Wildest Ideas Come True

Yes, that’s the “trunk” of a Corvair you’re looking at. And a highly modified Jaguar V12, very nicely ensconced there. Now, I’ve been vaguely aware of the “Jaguair’s” existence, but was a bit dismissive of it as another one of those one-upmanship cars, like stuffing an Allison V12 in an Isetta. Nothing of the sort. Jay Eitel was a brilliant engineer, and his most famous act was to invent the “cherry picker” lift that revolutionized the utility industry. But he was infatuated with both the Corvair and the early “rope-drive” Tempest (a man after my heart indeed), and owned a 421-powered ’63 Tempest to keep his ’67 Corvair company.  But he had a vision for something even more unique and radical, that would encompass aspects of both cars. One of those was a four-speed “Powerglide” transaxle, and yes, Virginia, they do exist.

The Jaguair’s story is incredibly complex, the multi-year quest to create a totally unique high-performance car (150+ mph) that handled and braked in relation to its performance, yet looked totally stock on the outside, right down to the 13″ wheelcovers. I can’t really do the amazing engineering justice here, so head over to for the full story, which will leave your jaw several inches lower than before. And here’s Jay’s obit, which is quite a read too. I’ll leave you with one snippet from the story; the “four-speed Powerglide”. But that almost pales compared to everything else that went into this car.


hat tip to johnnyangel