The Jaguar E-Type
While Jaguar might have been a troubled automaker for the past decade ortwo, being sold, and then sold again, the company was once a powerhouse in theBritish automotive scene. While there are many examples of popular models fromthe automaker, it’s the Jaguar E-Type that most often comes to mind whenspeaking of classic British sports cars.
The Birth of theE-Type
The E-Type, or XK-E for those across the Pond, was first designed andmanufactured in 1961. Upon seeing the car, Enzo Ferrari called it “the mostbeautiful car in the world”. There’s no denying the original’s aestheticappeal, either. Production would run for a full 13 years, finally ending in1975.
The first run of the E-Type was designed in several configurations – atwo-door fastback coupe, a two-door 2+2 fastback coupe, and a two-doorroadster. Early models in the production run had flat interior floors, and twolatches on the outside of the bonnet that required a special tool to open. Notlong into production, this configuration was changed. The floors wereredesigned to provide more legroom, and the bonnet latches were moved inside.
The Jaguar E-Type started life with a 3.8-litre inline six-cylinderengine that was capable of putting out 265 horsepower, with a top speed of 150miles per hour. It also offered a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.4 seconds. Consideringthat the car weighed less than 3,000 pounds, it offered significantperformance, and came at a relatively affordable price.
In 1964, the engine was replaced with a larger 4.2-litre affair.Interestingly, it had the same horsepower and top speed as the smaller engine,but provided greater torque for better throttle performance.
Jaguar ended the production run of the Series I E-Type in 1967, andbegan production of the Series II version in 1968. This model saw a number ofchanges, largely because of new legislation applied to models exported to theUS. The E-Type lost the glass housings over the headlights, and gained a rearbumper that wrapped all the way around the back of the car.
A wider grille/intake area was designed in the front to improve airflowand cooling for the engine. Perhaps most importantly, the Series II saw a shiftfrom the three-carburettor setup to a two-carb affair. This effectively reducedhorsepower to 246 hp, and dropped available torque to 263. This model also lostthe push-button start in favour of a steering column mounted ignition switch(keyed).
Series III marked the end of production for the E-Type, and ran from1971 to 1975. This version used a 5.3-litre V12 with 254 horsepower, and a topspeed of 135 miles per hour. It also featured significant exterior designchanges, including a large front grille and bumper projections to the left andright of the grille.
While production ceased in the 1970s, Jaguar decided to revive the modelin the 2010s, and they are currently available for special order only.