A small area of Frankfurt was transformed into a Jaguar historic event yesterday evening. The area around the newly-rebuilt Palais Thurn Und Taxis was thronged with E-types, most of which seem to have arrived from Switzerland.

In the courtyard of the palace was the usual selection of historic Jaguar competition cars. Inside the Palace itself, the first public unveiling of the new C-X16 concept car was scheduled.

As I wandered through the display, I couldn’t help but reflect on the inherent tensions within Jaguar. One the one hand, this company has the kind of visual and competition heritage that most carmakers would kill for.

On the other hand, a large faction within Jaguar – led by design boss Ian Callum – are trying hard to modernise the brand and get away from constant reference to the past.

Brand boss Adrian Hallmark told the assembled crowd that Jaguar ‘couldn’t go on’ much longer without a ‘true two-seater’ sports car. He said the C-X16 was ‘utterly new, but grounded in the company’s DNA’.