The Jaguar E-Type profile: Series 1, 2 and 3
The Jaguar E-Type, which was offered in America as the Jaguar XK-E, is still regarded as an unrivalled classic and style icon of British automobiles.
Its beautiful silhouette makes it unmistakable amongst even the most exotic European sports cars of its day. Even Enzo Ferrari described the Jaguar E-Type as the most beautiful car he had ever seen. Built from 1961 to 1974, the E-Type has almost universal appeal, and that is reflected in its values.
The Jaguar E-Type is effectively a road-legal variant of the successful Jaguar D-Type that was raced so successfully, with three outright wins at Le Mans. The E-Type’s debut took place at the Geneva Motor Show on March 15, 1961, and between 1961 and 1974 a total of three series and several special models were produced. It was available with various engines as a coupé, 2+2 coupé, and roadster.
Jaguae E-type Development
The first prototype Jaguar E-Type was completed in 1958 and bore the name E1A, followed two years later by the E2A. It was equipped with the six-cylinder in-line XK engine that had been introduced in 1948 in the Jaguar XK120. Power makes its way to the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox, propelling the car to a top speed of almost 150mph. The engine and front suspension were installed into a tubular steel frame, an almost identical design as used in the D-Type. Another innovation of the E-Type was the rear double wishbone suspension on its own subframe. This advanced design was a milestone for the rather conservative British automotive industry of the time.
jaguar E-type Models
Jaguar E-Type Series 1s were manufactured from 1961 to 1968, and until 1964 the sports car was delivered with a 3.8-litre engine with 269bhp, which gave the E-Type a 0 to 60mph time of around seven seconds. In 1964 the engine was revised with displacement growing to 4.2-litres. The famously obstructive Moss ‘box was also replaced by a four-speed manual gearbox developed by Jaguar.
The first series of the Jaguar E-Type was available as a two-door coupé, two-door 2 + 2 coupé and as a two-door roadster. The second series of E-Type was delivered from 1968 – one reason for the revision of the model was stricter safety regulations in the USA. Alterations included removing the headlight covers, enlarged radiator openings and new indicators.
From 1971 the third and last series of the Jaguar E-Type was manufactured, delivered with a newly developed 5.3-litre V12 engine. This updated E-Type could not build on the success of the first two series, being more of a GT than a sports car, leading to poor sales figures. These cars were only available in long wheelbase 2+2 form, as coupés and roadsters, with approximately 72,500 examples produced.
Special jaguar E-type Models
In addition to the regular models of the Jaguar E-Type, some special variants were also made. The Jaguar E-Type Lightweight from 1963 was designed for racing, and was significantly different from the production model. Its monocoque was made of aluminium and the rear subframe was taken over by the Jaguar MkX. The engine used was also made of aluminium, more compact and equipped with larger exhaust valves. Power increased to a claimed 320bhp.
Visually, the Lightweight was similar to the production model, but some details differed. Just 12 of these special cars were produced. Between 1963 and 1966, the Jaguar E-Type Lightweight was used in a number of races such as the Le Mans and Sebring 24-hour races. However, it saw little success even at the hands of Briggs Cunningham, Peter Lindner and Jackie Stewart.
A further variant on the Lightweight theme was the Low Drag E-Type, one of which was further modified to become the Lindner-Knöcker Lightweight E-Type. Sadly, on October 11 1964, racing driver Peter Lindner died in that car, though the crashed remains have since been restored.
No classic car enthusiast can escape the allure of a Jaguar E-Type, but very few can fulfil the dream of ownership. Due to high demand, prices have risen accordingly over the years. The cheapest versions include the 2+2 variants of the II and III series, with 4.2-litre roadsters being the most popular. The most collectible are the earliest ‘flat floor’ versions of the E-Type with their aesthetically pleasing headlight covers. V12 roadsters can also attract good money if in worthy condition.
Text Jan Fröhlich Photos Houtkamp Collection, Carjager, The Splined Hub
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