Jaguar E-Type - a pure classic

Try as they may with some superb, modern designs built to world standards of quality, Jaguar can never quite match their sensational E-Type - launched over 40 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show.

The E-Type – Sensationally fast, sensationally cheap

Why? Because not only was the E-type drop-dead stunning and sensationally fast, it was also sensationally cheap - for what it was. That was then. And it's also the case now in a post-boom market with plentiful supply. Consider this: at the height of the boom in the late 1980s the best E-type roadsters were commanding £100,000 and a little more. Today £40,000 gives a world of choice among better examples of roadsters.

Jaguar created a legend with the XK 120, C-Type and D-Type:
The legend of Jaguar's post-war sporting years started in 1948 with the Earls Court debut of the show-stopping Jaguar Super Sports, which quickly became the XK120, quite simple the fastest standard production road car of its day. In the 1950s Jaguar made Le Mans its own, dominating first with the C-type and then the D-type, with its unrepeatable hat-trick on the run in 1955, '56 and '57.

Roadster Series I

Roadster Series I

The E-Type initiated a new road-car development

And that's where the E-type came in. In its very early development stages the E-type was originally envisaged as a successor to the D-type (and the rare XKSS road-going D-type), but along the way, as Jaguar abandoned racing, the road-car project developed along different lines. There was no doubt though, that racing had improved the breed. For a start the lovely lines of the E-type displayed a direct lineage from the D-type. Under the skin the E-type chassis evolved from the D-Type's monocoque and front-subframe structure. Of course there were the four-wheel disc brakes and that fabulous XK six-cylinder overhead-cam engine that in various guises had powered the racing Jaguars and road-going XK-series cars. The spec was sensational and the impact the shape made at its launch on March 15, 1961 at the Geneva Motor Show, is now the stuff of Jaguar lore.

Roadster Series 1.5

Coupe Series II

A distinguished life and a remarkable export success

But which E-type? There are certainly plenty of flavours to choose from in a long and complex production history. The very first E-type roadsters and fixed-head coupes, produced until June 1962, are now referred to as `flat-floor' models and they're the most prized of all. In fact their flat floor was something of a flaw as after that recessed foot wells were incorporated to increase comfort for taller drives. Early complaints had centred on ventilation, overheating (particularly in the USA) and, surprisingly, the disc brakes. In 1964 the 4.2-litre engine supplanted the 3.8. It was slightly more torquey and now had an all-synchro box. But one of the many E-type watersheds was in 1967 with the so-called Series 1½ models, which lost those characteristic headlamp cowls in the interests of better illumination. From there US Federal safety regulations took control and the Series 2 featured altered bumpers and lights. By now the Cat was approaching middle age and putting on weight and girth. In 1971, as US emission regs were increasingly strangling the Cat's performance, the Series 3 emerged with a 5.3-litre V12 based on the layout of the longer 2+2 fixed-head. But there was no disguising the fact that the E-type was growing long in the tooth and in 1974 production finally ceased. But it was a distinguished life and a remarkable export success story for Jaguar. For of every three E-types built, two were exported - most of those to the US. There's one more telling fact, when you come to decide which E-type you'd choose. The 150mph performance of the very first 3.8 E-type's was never matched by succeeding E-type generations.

Last of the line - SIII V12 Roadster

The E-Type – nowadays relatively affordable

Compared to peak prices in the late 1980s all E-type Jaguar models are now relatively affordable - and very tempting to be sure. A good one will be a joy, but a bad one can be a money pit with costs soon soaring past current market values.

David Ager of The E-Type Centre explains more about buying an E-Type -

"Ten or more years ago we sold E-Types in all conditions to many different sorts of customers. Some wanted a fully sorted E-Type, but most were classic car enthusiasts looking for a traditional classic car experience, who relished the prospect of extensive tinkering and ongoing renovation work. They almost literally looked forward to rebuilding their car’s engine on the kitchen table over Christmastime!

However, during the last ten years and particularly the last five we found that our customer profile had changed. We no longer met the old school enthusiast, but instead people who were passionate about owning an E-type not for a classic car experience, but because it is the most exciting British Sportscar ever built. Our new breed of buyer had neither the inclination or the time to get their hands dirty. The future direction of The E-Type Centre became clear; to sell fine examples prepared in our workshops to ensure structural and mechanical integrity, with everything working as it should so that we can offer our unique warranty.

For 2004 we have decided to take this concept a stage further by also attending to the cosmetics during preparation. Our preparation now ensures that E-Types leave The E-Type Centre not just with lovely paintwork, chromework, and interiors, but also shiny detailed engine bays. Beautiful, warranted E-Types for turnkey motoring, for all to admire inside, outside, and under the bonnet.

We welcome you to visit us not only to see the largest collection of E-Types for sale in the World, but also to appreciate the quality of our stock, and the care and attention to detail in the extensive preparation undertaken in our workshops. You will then fully appreciate the uniqueness of an E-Type Centre E-Type."

DE12 8DQ
Tel: +44 (0)1827 373247
Hotline: +44 07000 E-TYPES 3-89737
Fax: +44 (0)1827 373604

E-mail: [email protected]