Jaguar E-type Coupe

Celebrating 50 Years of the Jaguar E-Type

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the Jaguar E-Type, arguably one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history. When it was launched in 1961, the appeal of E-Type transcended the automotive world. Such is the inherent rightness of its proportions, stance and purity of line, that it is a permanent exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The now iconic Jaguar E-Type set new standards in automotive design and performance when it was launched in 1961. Its influence is still apparent in Jaguar’s modern range: cars that offer a peerless blend of performance, comfort, cutting-edge technology and award-winning design.

Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at motoring events throughout 2011. The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on to celebrate at Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and a host of Jaguar events worldwide.

“Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type,” said Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage. “It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar’s most enduring and iconic symbol. The E-Type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar’s founder, Sir William Lyons.”

E-Type owners included celebrities such as George Best, Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen and the sports car became as synonymous with the Swinging Sixties as the Beatles and the mini skirt.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director. “Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-Type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future.”

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, Jaguar’s E-Type caused a sensation. Capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was the affordable supercar and became an instant icon – remaining on sale for 14 years.

Jaguar E-type Coupe Rear

50 Years of the Jaguar E-Type – Interesting Facts

— The E-Type was presented to the world’s press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva on 15th March 1961. Such was the media excitement and clamour for demonstration runs up a nearby hillclimb that Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons instructed chief test driver Norman Dewis to drive through the night from Coventry to bring another model to Switzerland.
— Even Enzo Ferrari admitted it was “the most beautiful car in the world.”
–The E-type’s straight-six engine had powered Jaguar to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s and by 1961 in 3.8-litre form produced 265bhp and 260lb ft of torque, making the car a genuine 150mph proposition and, like its XK120 predecessor, the fastest production car in the world.
— At launch the E-Type cost £2,256 15s, including purchase tax and the all-important optional wire wheels, the equivalent today of just £38,000.
— The E-Type’s perfectly proportioned bodywork was the work of Malcolm Sayer, an aeronautical engineer by training who also applied his aerodynamic expertise in shaping the earlier Le Mans-winning C and D-Type racers.
— The E-type remained in production for 14 years, selling more than 70,000 units, making it Europe’s first mass-produced sports car.

[Source: Jaguar]

Show Comments (5)

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  1. Having piloted a range of classic E-Types over the past decade, I have to say that there indeed is perhaps no car that defines the term “Sports Car” in a better sense than Jaguar’s E-Type range. From the beastile torque and suave handling of the six cylinder range, to the smooth, almost jet like acceleration on tap from the Series III V12 cars, the E-Type continues to exude the true performance and style it became so well known for all these years later.

    Happy 50th to one of my favorite Cats from Coventry.

  2. In April of 1961 I went to New York with a high school friend to the New York Auto Show (in the old Colliseum). The e-type pictured on the back cover of the show program booklet looked gorgeous; when we got to see the actual car it was stunning in the fullest sense of the word. It could have been from Mars, it was so much more beautiful, voluptuous, so right. Fifty years later, I’m still lusting after one.

  3. What an easy car to love. History, style, power, advanced design and sheer sexiness. This is a car that still looks good today and is not dated. It also represented a great value in what it offered for its price. And that is always in style.
    Jaguar is one of the great car companies of all time.

  4. In 1961 my father, who was Vice President of Advertising, Tampax, Inc.,NYC approved his ad agencies selection of this sexy E-Type shown with a beautiful woman in their print advertising program. Kenyon and Eckhart Advertising agency had chosen the perfect image of the modern girl with a beautiful sports car to imply the transferance of appeal of Tampax tampons for personal sanitary protection!What better image could there be?
    Dad bought the Jaguar XKE for Mom. She gave it to me on my wedding. Still have it, still love it… a sweet memory.

  5. I was age two when the E-Type was born. I starting drawing pictures of the Coupe when I was six. At age 20 I sold the truck I was driving to purchased my 63′ Roadster for $1500.00. I gave the owners mother my drivers license to hold the Roadster as I did not have a dime to my name. Not having the money to restore the roadster due to both family and health expenses my goal was to hold onto it. I started RichCraftedWheels as a hobby hoping to have a fund for my Roadster. Well, after having two beautiful daughters you know where the money went. After owning my Jaguar for approximately 30 years unrestored, for the first time in my life last summer I was given the opportunity by a friend to drive my first E-Type. Who said patience dosen’t pay off! I have truely enjoyed every minute. The E-Type set the mark for all others to be judged by! Thanks UK! See you in Columbus!