Dennis Kazmerowski loved the lines of the Jagette Special when he first saw them around 2017. The car reminded him of a Jaguar XKE and there was a reason why. Dennis ended up buying the Special and luckily when he bought it the car came with history written by its builder and vintage photos. So often this information is missing and we were thrilled to hear that it existed. So let’s learn about the Jagette from its original designer and builder – D.L. Baker. Take it away D.L….
The 1975 Jagette
By D.L. Baker: Designer and Builder of Jagette
The 1975 the Jagette Special started as a unrestorable 1962 Jaguar XKE. I purchased a 1965 Corvette frame and built a rolling chassis. Many of the upgraded suspension components came from Guldstrand Engineering. Next, I customized the original steel XKE body to fit the chassis taking into account space consideration for tires, headers and engine. When complete, I hand layed up a six piece fiberglass body. Afterward, I scrapped the original body/buck once the mold was made.
After bolting the molds back together the new body was once again hand layed inside the molds. Once cured, it took two people to lift the body from the mold which weighed approximately 200 pounds. The one piece body then needed a support structure for frame fastenings ,most are rubber mounted other than the hood section.
I custom made the headlights (hidden), taillights (1959 Cadillac), front turn signals and license plate mount. All of these parts required unique molds and custom fitting to the body. For the floor, I used the Corvette floorpan and fiberglassed the side walls to match body design. I finished the interior in black leather with rolled and pleated black leather sides and a tonneau cover.
I don’t recall where I got the 327 short block but all was balanced after assembly. We installed 12.5 to 1 pistons which required high octane fuel, a General Kinetics cam, Holden roller rockers with 2 piece lifters also require resetting occasionally for optimum performance.
The heads have 202 intakes, the Lakewood bell housing is explosion proof for safety, hooker headers are 1965 corvette. I tried three differential gear ratios in the rear end, the 306 had unlimited top end , then a 513 would beat anything off the line but not good on the expressway. When I sold it, it had a 411 rear end ratio. The spark came from an Accell Super Coil with a dual point distributor also requiring regapping of the points once and a while. Dual electric fans on the radiator came from two Honda cars welded together and a thermostat on the block for control. Rear suspension parts are 1978, and shock absorbers used were Koni double adjustable for 65 front and 78 rear.
The Jagette Special took 7 years, 2 wives, 10,000 cans of beer and many good and talented friends to create. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The car was built for competition but after the molds burned up in a fire I only took it to car shows where it did quite well. I still have all the trophies from local car shows the best one was from the Glass City Corvette Concourse Show. It took first place, much to the dismay of many die hard corvette freaks. The judges crawled all over that car and ruled that it Jagette Special was considered a “Special-Bodied Corvette.”
Dennis Kazmerowski Brings Home the Jagette
When Dennis brought home the car, he wanted to make some changes to it. When it was built, some of the custom features that were incorporated were stylish and creative for the time. Here’s how the Jagette looked when Dennis first acquired it:
Here’s what he wanted his car to look like – a Jaguar race car for the street:
Dennis wanted to bring some vintage elegance and history back to the car and he did so by returning the front end to more of a Jaguar design, eliminating the fender flares, installing a new windshield closer to the style that a Jaguar used and cleaning up the rear design of the car including taillights. He also eliminated the side pipes and built rocker panels where the side pipes used to be. It was quite a bit of work, but the car turned out beautifully.
The photos below show the Jagette Special today with changes made by Dennis to change its appearance more closely toward a Jaguar race car for the street:
What a great job Dennis did and making these changes to his car. The final look is a blend of vintage Jaguar with modern stance and an aggressive race car look. Great job Dennis! And those of you who have questions for Dennis or what to let him know your thoughts on the car, please leave your comments below.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.