The Jaguar E-Type defined its generation and epitomized the glamour and excitement of the Swinging Sixties and became the car of choice for the international jet-set, supermodels, and rock stars alike. I can’t think of any other car that sets the bar for just pure iconic product appeal better than the E-Type. It’s this really juicy cocktail of near-perfect proportion, form, style, and sex appeal.
First unveiled at the 1961 Geneva auto show, the Jaguar E-Type shocked the world and quickly catapulted to iconic status. Its drool-inducing design helped sell more than 70,000 cars from 1961 to 1975. The fact that it went faster than a Ferrari for half the price didn’t hurt, either.
Its superb lines – the work of Malcolm Sayer and Sir William Lyons – led Enzo Ferrari to concede, at the E-type’s unveiling in Geneva in 1961: “That is the most beautiful car in the world!” Its immensely long bonnet set it apart from all other sports cars, along with its passenger compartment, whose rounded shape was as elegant as it was original.
From a technical point of view, the Jaguar E-Type didn’t disappoint either. Work on the future E-Type had begun just after its predecessors, the D-type’s three successive victories in Le Mans from 1955-1957. The newly designed E-type featured four disc brakes, independent suspension with telescopic dampers at the rear, monocoque construction with a tubular subframe carrying a 3.8 litre 12 cylinder engine, fitted with two overhead camshafts. From the time of its launch, it had a place on the starting grid of English racetracks. The famous racing driver Graham Hill once won a race in the spring of 1964 driving a completely standard E-type.
So everything was in place for the birth of a legend. And the classic Jaguar E-Type certainly left its mark on history!
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