The morbid, macabre and entirely transfixing Jaguar E-Type hearse first crossed into the public consciousness through the 1971 cult classic film Harold and Maude. Sadly, the original Jaguar hearse was destroyed at the end of the motion picture by being tossed off a cliff onto a beach at Mori Point, in Pacifica, California.
Inspired by the car in the film, Arizona-based car enthusiast Ken Roberts built this one-off replica during a 40-month period ending March 2015. “In the movie, Harold builds his in about two days,” he told Petrolicious. “Well, it took us four years, and more money than I even want to admit to.”
Roberts and his team studied 35 still frames lifted from the movie to ensure they had nailed down the details. The replica Jaguar-hearse was built, as with the original, from bits and pieces from various import cars, American cars and different series of XKE Jaguars.
The rear hatch opens by remote control; inside, a remote control banjo case holds items representing the fake suicide props, such as a samurai sword and a noose. A recording plays Cat Stevens’ “If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” made famous by the film. The rear hatch, banjo case and music are all powered by an extra battery.
After the car was completed, Roberts had the opportunity to meet the designer/builder of the original Jaguar hearse. That’s when he discovered the back door of the original vehicle didn’t open, as the script didn’t call for it.
“I think I could build it again in half the time for half the money, knowing what I know now,” said Roberts.