British classic cars are some of the best looking on the market, and the Jaguar E-Type is definitely one of the most influential vehicles of all time. With its combination of speed, style and performance, it’s not hard to see why.
When it was introduced at the beginning of the 1960s, it had a revolutionary effect on the car industry. This was during a time when 70 mph was considered fast for an average family motor. The E-Type’s 150 mph speed limit was unlike anything the world had seen before. It’s why we’re taking a look back on the history of this iconic car.
The Jaguar roars into life
The story of the E-Type begins with the 1957 E1A prototype, which was designed by renowned engineer Malcolm Sayer. This prototype was smaller than the final version and had a 2.4-litre engine. The E1A provided an important testing ground for the independent rear suspension design that would become the blueprint for future Jaguars. Sir William Lyons recognised the importance of the American market and made sure the final version was larger than the E1A.
When the E-Type debuted at the 1961 Geneva Auto Salon it stole the show. Enzo Ferrari described it as “the most beautiful car in the world.” The long, elegant bonnet and sleek body gave it a regal appearance. The deep, bucket-shaped interior was comfortable and provided plenty of space. The E-Type was powered by a 3.8-litre engine that gave it a top speed of 150 mph.
Grace, space, pace
The success of the E-Type gave Jaguar the opportunity to expand on their original idea. Jaguar sold Lightweight models with an aluminium body instead of regular steel. These cars achieved racing success with drivers such as British champion Graham Hill.
In 1964, Jaguar fitted the road car with a 4.2-litre XK engine. 1967 saw the launch of the Series ½, which featured an unfaired headlight design. At this point, racing wasn’t a priority for Jaguar and they transformed the E-Type into a GT vehicle. The official change came in 1971 with the V12-powered S3.
Today, the E-Type remains a true British classic. It was recently announced that Jaguar have built an all-electric E-Type, and with electric vehicles becoming more common, it’ll be interesting to see how the car is received.
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