Skip to main content

Jaguar Land Rover offers modern infotainment systems for classic cars

If you can’t take a trip down memory lane without bringing a touchscreen along, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has a solution. The British automaker is offering modern infotainment systems that can be retrofitted to classic cars, something already offered by rival Porsche. So you can get Bluetooth in a car that predates the invention of cell phones.

In addition to Bluetooth, Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic Infotainment Systems include navigation (with 2D or 3D maps),  digital radio, and FM and AM analog reception. However, there’s no mention of satellite radio, which is included with Porsche’s system. JLR claims higher-quality sound from the 4 x 45-watt output of the single DIN-sized head unit, but that probably won’t make much difference if the sound is piped through stock speakers.

Everything is controlled from a 3.5-inch touchscreen and a set of analog buttons and knobs. The systems are compatible with cars using older negative-earth electronics. Multiple designs of head unit are available, with retro styling to help them blend in with the dashboards of older cars. Choices include black or chrome finishes for Jaguars, and black or brushed aluminum for Land Rovers.

These head units could offer the best of both worlds for classic-car owners who want a vintage experience, but don’t want to go back to using paper maps. On the other hand, one of the nice things about driving an old car is not having to deal with the modern distractions of being constantly connected.

The systems retail for 1,200 pounds ($1,563) in the U.K., but JLR hasn’t released U.S.-specific pricing. Head units can be ordered online, and certain JLR dealers can perform the installation if desired. The systems can also be added to cars as part of restorations performed at JLR’s U.K. Classic Works.

Modern infotainment systems aren’t the only new tech JLR is installing in vintage cars. The automaker will also offer electric powertrain conversions for the Jaguar E-Type, arguably one of the greatest sports cars in history. A battery pack sits where a stock E-Type’s engine would normally reside. JLR is currently taking reservations from customers for the conversions, which the automaker claims are fully reversible.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Vintage car group says EV classics aren’t real classics. Here’s why that’s wrong
volkswagen updates classic beetles with modern electric powertrains e beetle

The Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) has put out a statement that explains how the historic vehicle federation does not recognize a vehicle as historic if it has been upgraded to an electric drivetrain. According to the statement, the group "cannot promote, to owners or regulators, the use of modern EV components to replace a historic vehicle’s drivetrain."

This announcement comes on the heels of several debuts of classic-bodied vehicles with modern electric drivetrains, including those from Lunaz and Swindon Powertrain, as well as factory-backed efforts by Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Volkswagen. FIVA says it sees the need for such modifications, but suggests that modified vehicles remain capable of being returned to factory original specification.

Read more
Land Rover searches for ways to keep customers and regulators satisfied
land rover defender remote control tech report 2020

Sister companies Jaguar and Land Rover pledged to electrify every model they develop starting in 2020. That means every car released by either brand during the next decade will be available as a hybrid, or with a battery-powered drivetrain. This approach works well in some segments, but the firm is struggling to turn its biggest, heaviest cars into EVs.

On one hand, car buyers have an insatiable appetite for crossovers and SUVs. Motorists are ditching sedans, station wagons, and hatchbacks and flocking toward big, spacious, and tall cars. On the other hand, regulators around the world are forcing automakers to make drastically more efficient cars, and low-body styles require far less energy to move.

Read more
Land Rover Defender could become a life-size remote-control car
land rover defender remote control tech report 2020

Land Rover transformed its legendary Defender from a primitive tool into a truly modern vehicle brimming with tech, but the automaker may not have revealed everything. The Land Rover Defender could get remote-control tech that will allow for low-speed driving from outside the car, reports British magazine Autocar.

The new Defender is "capable of being able to do that in terms of its architecture," Stuart Frith, the Defender's chief product engineer, said in an interview with Autocar. He said Land Rover has "run prototypes" of the system, which would be used for off-road driving.

Read more