1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS – Car Profile

There’s no denying the statement Jaguar’s Sir William Lyons made with the unveiling of the marque’s stunning new E-Type show car at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. Coming off a decade of domination at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jaguar realized the necessity for a new automobile to replace its aging XK 150 model line. Penned by Jaguar’s legendary aerodynamicist, Malcolm Sayer, this new car’s monocoque construction would bear similarities to their now legendary D-Type sports racer, with the mission to create not only a sensational road car, but also a highly capable Le Mans winner.

Initially fitted with the triple SU carbureted, 3.8L straight-six cylinder engine that previously powered the XK 150S, the 265HP power-plant could propel the slippery E-Type (XK-E on US soil) from still to 60 mph in unheard of sub-7 second time and onto speeds of 150 mph. Perhaps even more important was this new car’s evidence of technological progress with independent rear suspension, disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering at a point when live rear axles and drum brakes were the norm. No mention of the E-Type is complete with at least some recognition of the sexy sheet metal penned by Mr. Sayer.

This new Jaguar would be responsible for winning the hearts of millions of sports car enthusiasts, celebrities and even caused a stir with the great Enzo Ferrari who would famously call the E-Type, “The most beautiful car ever made”. Today the cars are just as revered, with Series 1 examples enjoying considerable appreciation in the marketplace.

Available for sale at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016 Auction, this 1961 Jaguar E-Type Open Two-Seater is not only a Series 1 example, but also one of the 500 initial 1961 models fitted with the early flat-floor design, welded-in louvers and exposed hinges on the hood.  All details equipped on the very earliest E-Types, this example is further separated from the rest of these 500 cars as it is one of only 385 versions produced as a left-hand drive open two-seater.

With its original engine and transmission, Lot# 1368.1 was comprehensively restored by California-based Jaguar E-Type specialist, Classic Showcase. The focus of the restoration was to produce a concours-winning example, a claim reinforced by an independent assessment of the car from two Jaguar Club North America judges that determined the car to be without deduction, scoring a perfect 100 point score.

The original body work of this E-Type was completely disassembled and taken down to bare metal during its lengthy rehabilitation and the process was well documented.  The supplied Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate reveals the same Graphite grey on red livery that it wears today.

The Jaguar E-Type cemented its place in history right from the start and its remarkable story is one that continues to be a standout in the history of the automobile.  Represented in places like New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, it’s clear these cars are as much a cultural and design icon as a fixture of sports car history.

This 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS is available at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale, scheduled for January 23-31, 2016.  For more information, visit Barrett-Jackson.com.

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]

Show Comments (9)

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  1. The E-type brought Jaguar’s sports car range out of that pre-War styling era and into the modern age. The one single design feature that made this possible was the radiator grille, which was changed from it’s traditional vertical orientation to a horizontal one. This design feature, obviously taken from the racing D-type, was a revolution in itself as very few (if any) other similar production cars had made this move by the early 1960s. I spoke to several production engineers, designers and other commentators at the time I was researching this fact for my book on the design of the E-type, and while not many people had latched onto this fact, the MOMA had done so and it became the first automobile on permanent display at the renowned museum for this very reason. This horizontal radiator grille feature, which lowered the frontal profile of the car, is still to be found in the design language of Jaguar’s sports cars today, as well as many other front-engined sports and family cars.

  2. Yes – The Morris Minor when introduced also had the “horizontal” grill so typical of American cars but so rare in Europe. Yes, I know the Morris is a far cry from the E-type…

  3. It is not only the horizontal opening for the radiator that made the E-type a revolutionary sportscar. And the strange thing is that all these new design features were more or less inspired by practical and engineering reasons. The shape was coming from the laws of aerodynamics, the height in the middle of the bonnet needed be there because otherwise the engine wouldn’t fit, the horizontal opening was a logical choice because the bonnet was too low for a vertical one and the size was calculated by the amount of air that was needed to cool the engine at say a speed of 100 mph. It shouldn’t be too large otherwise it should create too much drag. Series 2 was in that respect much less an aerodynamic car. In the end a wonderful shape was the result with revolutionary features.

  4. Not to offend, but it should be noted that Enzo Ferrari dubbed the fixed head coupe, not the convertible, as “the most beautiful car ever made.” The fixed head coupe preceded the convertible and in my humble opinion is the more beautiful of the two.

    1. I totally agree with you Tim, but that is a general rule with most FHC and OTS versions of the same model, the coupe styling accentuates the overall design, but as with everything in life there are always some exceptions. It wasn’t just the horizontal grille that set a trend in this world for sports cars, but the E-type had a racing style frame attached to the monocoque that held the engine and suspension in place, a construction feature that Malcolm Sayer had brought with him from the aeronautical industry..really advanced stuff back then. Its just an awesome car, ’nuff said!!

  5. l have owned the 1,413th (car #876413) Open Two Seat 61 XKE since 1975, but my first car (when I was 15 years old), was a very early precursor to that very low slotted, aerodynamic cooling air intake design. Very slippery except for the headlights which were still way up there.