In a world saturated with double-clutch automatics and fly-by-wire controls, every time somebody develops a new stick shift is worth celebrating, no matter how niche it may be.
JD Classics is one of the biggest names in vintage racing in Britain, and never ceases to amaze me. When it comes to Jaguars, these guys can park an XJR-9 next to an XJR-15 and the Le Mans class-winner TWR XJR-15, and that's just a regular Tuesday. But since JD also deals with a lot of XKs and E-Types built for the highest levels of classic racing, a few months back, they decided to end the rule of Jaguar's 4.2 all-synchro gearbox, and replace it with a lighter, more robust five-speed unit.
The new box fits right where the old one did, and thanks to having dual mounting points, it can also be taken out without the removal of the bell housing. Cased in reinforced aluminum, it features synchromesh and close ratio helical cut gears. Like the original, it will fit most Jags from the fifties and sixties, and although modified Tremec T5s have also been used for the same purpose by others, JD says their unit can handle 400 horsepower "without compromising the car’s historical compliancy."
That's a win-win, and a neat piece of engineering.