The E-type is the classic Jaguar and one of the most recognisable cars in the world. Many people, including Enzo Ferrari, have suggested it is the most beautiful car ever built.
Its iconic long shape is one of the most famous in motoring history and was created by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer using complex mathematical calculations that predate computer aided styling. It is a design classic, confirmed by its inclusion in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
It will forever be synonymous with the 60s and was owned by a succession of trendsetters of the decade, including Peter Sellers and George Best. George Harrison even had a record player fitted in his E-type.
Whilst much of its popularity stemmed from its aesthetics, it was also a high watermark in British engineering combining speed, comfort and affordability. The first models are considered the first affordable supercars.
All pre-production prototypes were tragically scrapped. An E-type registered as 9600 HP launched the model at Geneva in 1961 and was then used by journalists to review the car. It is suggested that this car and a convertible version (reg no 77 RW) were the only E-types ever capable of reaching 150mph through subtle modifications. Series 1 also included the highly coveted Lightweight E-type of which only 18 were made. A 2+2 version was added in 1966, with an option of automatic transmission.
There were three official series of production models manufactured between 1961 and 1975, selling over 70,000 cars. Whilst there have been many Jaguar models, nothing has ever held the public imagination as much as the E-type. It is telling that the marketing for the recent F-type heavily leans on the nostalgia and imagery of the E-type; such is the passion that the original E-type is still capable of evoking.