History of the Jaguar E-Type

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There are dozens of different models that Jaguar has developed and manufactured over the years, and while all of them are excellent and innovative in terms of features and looks, there are only a few that have truly stood the test of time and are still considered as some of the greatest cars ever made. One of those models is the Jaguar E-Type, which was produced by Jaguar Cars Ltd from 1961 to 1975. What makes this particular model so special that it is regarded as a timeless classic? To know more about the car, here is a brief history of the Jaguar E-Type.

Concept Models

The E-Type was intended to be a road car version of Jaguar’s popular D-Type racing car, which won three consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance races starting from 1955 to 1957. Jaguar wanted to bring the reliable and durable features of the D-Type into a production road model. The first prototype of the E-Type, the E1A, was designed in 1957 by William Heynes, the Technical Director and Chief Engineer at Jaguar during that time. The prototype features the XK engine and has an independent rear suspension. There was only one E1A that existed, and after further testing, the prototype was scrapped.

The second concept car for the E-Type series was the E2A that was designed and created in 1960. The E2A has several improvements from the previous prototype, including a steel chassis, an aluminum body, a 3-liter version of the XK engine, and a Lucas Industries fuel injection system. This concept model was designed as a racing car and was driven during the Le Mans race in 1960. After the race, it was then shipped to North America and was used by sportsman and Jaguar privateer Briggs Cunningham for racing. In 1961, the concept car was returned to Jaguar and was passed around by different Jaguar employees throughout the 60s. 

By 1970, the E2A was in the possession of Jaguar competition car manager Roger Woodley, who intended to scrap the vehicle since it can no longer be used. However, Woodley didn’t scrap the car, and it was still in his estate’s possession until 2008 when his wife offered it at the Bonhams Quail Auction, where it was sold for more than $4.9 million.

Production Models

The Jaguar E-Type has various production models that were manufactured in the early 1960s up to the mid-1970s. The long production period for the E-Type is mainly caused by the popularity of the series, as Jaguar offers durable and impressive features at a relatively affordable price for sports cars. Here are some details about the production models of the Jaguar E-Type.

Series 1

The first production model was called “Series 1,” and its manufacturing period started in March 1961, which was just a year after the critical success of the E2A concept model. The first units of Series 1 have the SU carbureted 3.8-liter six-cylinder XK6 engine that was first used for the Jaguar XK150 model. The 3.8-liter engine would soon be upgraded to a 4.2-liter engine in October 1964. 

In addition, the earlier units would also sport external bonnet latches that are quite tedious to open since you will need a tool for them. But, despite being not as convenient to use as the later Series 1 units, the earlier vehicles are considered the rarest and most expensive.

Jaguar produced limited variants of the Series 1 E-Type, with one of these being the “Lightweight” E-Type that was designed to be used for racing and is supposed to be the successor of the Jaguar D-Type. There were only 12 units of the Lightweight E-Type that were produced in the 60s, thus making it one of the rarest car models in history. Jaguar originally planned to make 18 units of the Lightweight variant, but they were only able to manufacture 12. However, in 2014, Jaguar produced the remaining six units and sold them for more than $1 million each.

In 1996, The Museum of Modern Art or MoMA in New York City began displaying a Series 1 Jaguar E-Type with a dark gray finish in honor of its designer William Heynes and its significance to the history of automobiles. The Jaguar E-Type is one of the six iconic vehicles displayed at the MoMA.

Series 2

The Series 2 E-Type began its production in 1968, when Jaguar was adamant about changing the design of the E-Type to follow the regulations imposed by the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. There were plenty of aesthetic changes in the Series 2 when compared to the Series 1, such as the different headlight covers that are not made of glass anymore, a wrap-around rear bumper, and re-positioned tail lights.

The Jaguar Series 2 is not as popular as the Series 1, with many car enthusiasts claiming that it doesn’t look as good as its predecessor. As such, the Series 2’s resale value is slightly lower than the Series 1, but it is still quite expensive. One unit of the Series 2 E-Type would cost about $355,000 in the resale market.

Series 3

The last production model created for the E-Type is the Series 3, which was produced from 1971 to 1974. The Series 3 features a new 5.3-liter Jaguar V12 engine, as well as standard power steering and uprated brakes for smoother movement. Optional parts include air conditioning, an automatic transmission system, and wire wheels.

Much like the Series 2, the Series 3 is not as highly sought-after as the Series 1, although they are the better production model to purchase for resale since they have better features and they have a lower resale value.

Because of the heavy demand from elite Jaguar collectors, the E-Type’s resell price keeps increasing over the years. So, the average person may not be able to get his or her hands on an E-Type, but you may be able to see it in various car shows and conventions. If ever you come to New York, be sure to check out the MoMA to get a glimpse of one of the most pristine and amazing-looking E-Types in the world.

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