Features: Metal Wire Spoke Wheels
The E-Type was first 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 clamor 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.
In the US, the Jaguar E-Type was also known as the Jaguar XK-E and the North American debut took place at the New York Auto Show in April 1961.
A total of 72,520 Jaguar E-Types were produced of which 83% were exported from the UK. 43,765 were delivered to the USA, and sold as the Jaguar XK-E. Even Enzo Ferrari of Ferrari admitted it was “the most beautiful car in the world.”
The Jaguar 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 predecessor the Jaguar XK120, the fastest production car in the world.
At launch the E-Type cost $5595 for the Roadster or “OTS” (Open two-seater) and $5895 for the Coupe or “FHC” (Fixed head coupe) this included standard wire wheels. Adjusted for inflation in 2011 dollars, the Jaguar E-type would cost about $41,000 for the roadster and $43,000 for the coupe.
The Jaguar 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 Jaguar C-Type and D-Type racers. The Jaguar E-type remained in production for 14 years, selling more than 70,000 units, making it Europe’s first mass-produced sports car.