When jaguar e-type made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961 it left the world in awe. It was the perfect car for the Swinging Sixties – a decade of decadence, free love and all-out cultural revolution. It was an icon of a time and a true automotive legend.
It was Sir William Lyons’s piece de resistance, a road sports car with an amazing level of technical sophistication and with a racing pedigree to boot. Based on the three Le Mans winning D-Type racers the E-Type was an engineering tour de force that looked every bit as good as it went.
The Timeless Classic: Unraveling the Allure of the E-Type Jagua
The heart of the E-Type is the 3.8 litre straight six engine, essentially a near identical specification to that used in its high performance Le Mans racing predecessor; the Jaguar XK150 3.8 S. It was a very exciting and characterful engine to drive – a real driver’s motor.
With fully independent all-round suspension, rack and pinion steering, and disc brakes on all four wheels the E-Type handled beautifully with excellent stability regardless of the surface. The small-diameter, spring-spoked wood rimmed steering wheel has an almost MGA-like handiness and there’s a fairly heavy return action, but most drivers won’t complain because the car wasn’t built for puttering around. At turnpike speeds it’s light and direct with excellent feel.
For Series 1 cars there is a choice of a Moss four speed all synchromesh manual gearbox or a Borg Warner model 8 three speed automatic. For Series 2 cars power steering was an option.