A unique fusion of beauty, performance, cutting-edge technology and affordability. The E-Type Jaguar is a timeless British classic, both luxurious and downright thrilling. Bringing out adventurous spirits while exuding class and sophistication.
‘I want that car, and I want it now!’ So cried Frank Sinatra when this innovative and oh-so-cool car first burst onto the motoring scene.
He certainly wasn’t alone in his admiration either. Some of the hottest celebrities of the day, including Brigitte Bardot, Steve McQueen and Tony Curtis were captivated by the emergence of the E-Type. These grand celebrity endorsements further fueled the frenzy of worldwide desire for this British masterpiece.
You know a car is destined for greatness when its release day boarders on a riotous. When Jaguar launched their E-Type at the Geneva then New York motor shows in 1961, the crowd was so enthralled many were writing cheques within the instant. It became a free-for-all battle to get staff members attention to take their orders! An absolute sensation.
Assembled in Coventry between 1961-1975, the Jaguar E-Type became the darling of the motoring world. But how did it manage to reign supreme for almost 15 years production, then go on to receive its timeless classic status?
The Jaguar D-type racing car had already received massive kudos after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in succession during the mid-fifties. The E-Type became the road-going commercial guise of this radical race machine. Sleek, sporty and audacious, it's character was undeniable.
Surprisingly, another factor that greatly propelled the original success of the E-Type was value for money. All out performance was comparable to Ferraris and Aston Martins of the era, yet it excelled in terms of comfort and affordability. In fact, it's price tag was a third cheaper than many rivals! Even to this day, the price differential remains, putting a slice of cool within tantalizing reach.
As captivating as E-Type's body was, the greatest appeal was the thrilling driving experience. Race car technology included the mighty powerplant bolted directly to a tubular framework, performance suspension, powerful disc brakes and quick-turn rack and pinion steering. It's dramatic, exciting emergence left all mediocre predecessors and competition for dust.
Jaguar's E-Type certainly lived up to its prestigious Motorsport pedigree. Capable of reaching 150mph+ with a sub 7-second 0-60mph acceleration, this car was no wallflower. Engine options included a 3.2L or 4.2L straight six engine, then eventually, a monstrous 5.2L V12.
But the thrill of the ride was not limited to the straights, it was a blast to drive around the bends and handled beautifully. Refined over years of track testing, it was stable at high speeds yet nimble and responsive. Whatsmore, it was one of the most comfortable rides amongst its peers.
If you are in the market to snap one up, there are a few considerations to mull over. First up, the vintage of the model. In broad terms, the earlier the model, the heftier the cost and also the most competition to purchase. The earliest cars off the production line are considered finest examples to purists.
You’ll also need to weigh up how much true originality is for you. Are you keen on staying as true to the real essence of this sublime machine as possible? The Jaguar E-type is highly receptive to upgrading and modernizing so it’s rare to find 100% originals. While not necessarily a bad thing, just depends on how much of a purist you are? Oh, and another thing to bear in mind, around 85% of the production was sent overseas and converted to right-hand drive, so if you find an original left-hand drive model, do not let go!
Classic car aficionados the world over struggle to find more superlatives to fully describe the experience of driving, or even better owning, a Jaguar E-type. It's an icon of its age, ultimate driving machine and inspiration for movie makers and film stars. To witness, experience or own, this is a iconic piece of the golden age.