The first significant up-grade of Jaguar's sensational E-Type sports car occurred in October 1964 with the launch of the 4.2-litre version. Along with the bigger, torquier engine came a more user-friendly gearbox with synchromesh on first gear, and a superior Lockheed brake servo. Apart from '4.2' badging, the car's external appearance was unchanged, but under the skin there were numerous detail improvements. These mainly concerned the cooling and electrical systems, the latter gaining an alternator and adopting the industry standard negative ground, while the interior boasted a matt black dashboard and improved seating arrangements. The top speed of around 150mph remained unchanged, the main performance gain resulting from the larger engine being improved acceleration.
Like its 3.8-litre forbear, the 4.2-litre E-Type was built in roadster and coupé forms, and in 1966 gained an additional 2+2 coupé variant on a 9" longer wheelbase. Intended to extend the E-Type's appeal beyond the traditional sports car-buying market, the new 'family orientated' 2+2 came with improved visibility thanks to an increased glass area, more headroom, improved heating and ventilation, additional luggage space and optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission.
In 1968 all three versions of the E-Type underwent major revision to comply with US safety and emissions legislation, emerging in 'Series 2' guise minus the original's distinctive headlight covers. In addition, enlarged side and rear lights were adopted while a thickened front bumper centre section bridged a larger radiator intake. Interior changes included a collapsible steering column and rocker switches in place of the earlier toggles.
Beneath the bonnet the familiar XK engine now boasted ribbed cam covers and, on cars destined for North America, twin Stromberg carburettors, replacing the previous triple SUs that remained standard on those supplied to other markets. The adoption of the Strombergs, together with their associated inlet plumbing and a new Lucas ignition distributor, enabled the E-Type to meet the emissions targets but, inevitably, resulted in a reduction in power. Testing a US-specification E-Type in February 1968, Autocar found that this made little difference to acceleration, as the car had the lower overall gearing standardised for North America, and that fuel consumption overall was virtually identical, remarking: '... in many ways we preferred the lower overall gearing for Britain's crowded roads. Performance figures apart, the E-Type remains a delightful car to drive, slow or fast: it is still astonishingly docile, and we were able to take acceleration figures from a mere 10mph in top gear with the 4.2-litre engine turning over lazily at only 460rpm.' Even today there are few cars that can match this effortless performance.
Completed on 4th December 1969, this Series 2 Roadster was despatched to Jaguar's New York distributor on 6th March 1970, and was originally finished in British Racing Green with Cinnamon interior. The car was cosmetically restored in 2010 and Totally rebuilt mechanically in 2015 when the engine was converted to UK engine specification, complete with triple SU carburettors and a six-branch exhaust manifold. We are advised that the car has a very straight and solid body, with no rust, and good paintwork and chrome, while the tyres and chromed wire wheels have recently been renewed.
Finished in Carmen Red with black interior and matching hood, this E-Type is described by the vendor as a driver's car, not a 'Show Queen', and one of the nicest he has had the pleasure to drive; indeed, he states that he would willingly drive it anywhere. Accompanying documentation consist of a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate, MoT to March 2019, and a V5C Registration Certificate.