The Jaguar E-Type (UK) or XK-E (US) is a British automobile manufactured by Jaguar between 1961 and 1975. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and compe...More »
The Jaguar E-Type (UK) or XK-E (US) is a British automobile manufactured by Jaguar between 1961 and 1975. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and competitive pricing established the marque as an icon of 1960s motoring. A great success for Jaguar, over seventy thousand E-Types were sold during its lifespan.
Series 1 (1961-1968)
The Series 1 was introduced, initially for export only, in March 1961. The domestic market launch came four months later in July 1961. The cars at this time used the triple SU carburetted 3.8 litre 6-cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine from the XK150S. The first 500 cars built had flat floors and external hood (bonnet) latches. These cars are rare and more valuable. After that, the floors were dished to provide more leg room and the twin hood latches moved to inside the car. The 3.8 litre engine was increased to 4.2 litres in October 1964.
All E-Types featured independent coil spring rear suspension with torsion bar front ends, and four wheel disc brakes, in-board at the rear, all were power-assisted. Jaguar was one of the first auto manufacturers to equip cars with disc brakes as standard from the XK150 in 1958. The Series 1 can be recognised by glass covered headlights (up to 1967), small "mouth" opening at the front, signal lights and tail-lights above bumpers and exhaust tips under the licence plate in the rear.
3.8 litre cars have leather-upholstered bucket seats, an aluminium-trimmed centre instrument panel and console (changed to vinyl and leather in 1963), and a Moss 4-speed gearbox that lacks synchromesh for 1st gear ("Moss box"). 4.2 litre cars have more comfortable seats, improved brakes and electrical systems, and an all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox. 4.2 litre cars also have a badge on the boot proclaiming "Jaguar 4.2 Litre E-Type" (3.8 cars have a simple "Jaguar" badge). Optional extras included chrome spoked wheels and a detachable hard top for the OTS.
An original E-Type hard top is very rare, and finding one intact with all the chrome, not to mention original paint in decent condition, is rather difficult. For those who want a hardtop and aren't fussy over whether or not it is an original from Jaguar, several third parties have recreated the hardtop to almost exact specifications. The cost ranges anywhere from double to triple the cost of a canvas/vinyl soft top.
A 2+2 version of the coupé was added in 1966. The 2+2 offered the option of an automatic transmission. The body is 9 in (229 mm) longer and the roof angles are different with a more vertical windscreen. The roadster remained a strict two-seater.
Less widely known, right at the end of Series 1 production and prior to the transitional "Series 1½" referred to below, a very small number of Series 1 cars were produced with open headlights. Production dates on these machines vary but in right hand drive form production has been verified as late as March 1968. The low number of these cars produced make them amongst the rarest of all production E Types.
Following the Series 1 there was a transitional series of cars built in 1967-68, unofficially called "Series 1½", which are externally similar to Series 1 cars. Due to American pressure the new features were open headlights, different switches, and some de-tuning (with a downgrade of twin Zenith-Stromberg carbs from the original triple SU carbs) for US models. Some Series 1½ cars also have twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs. Series 2 features were gradually introduced into the Series 1, creating the unofficial Series 1½ cars, but always with the Series 1 body style.
An open 3.8 litre car, actually the first such production car to be completed, was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961 and had a top speed of 149.1 mph (240.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.3 miles per imperial gallon (13.3 L/100 km; 17.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £2097 including taxes.
Series 2 (1969-1971)
Open headlights without glass covers, a wrap-around rear bumper, re-positioned and larger front indicators and taillights below the bumpers, better cooling aided by an enlarged "mouth" and twin electric fans, and uprated brakes are hallmarks of Series 2 cars. De-tuned in US, but still with triple SUs in the UK, the engine is easily identified visually by the change from smooth polished cam covers to a more industrial 'ribbed' appearance. Late Series 1½ cars also had ribbed cam covers. The interior and dashboard were also redesigned, with rocker switches that met U.S health and safety regulations being substituted for toggle switches. The dashboard switches also lost their symmetrical layout. New seats were fitted, which purists claim lacked the style of the originals but were certainly more comfortable. Air conditioning and power steering were available as factory options.
Series 3 (1971-1975)
A new 5.3 L 12-cylinder Jaguar V12 engine was introduced, with uprated brakes and standard power steering. The short wheelbase FHC body style was discontinued and the V12 was available only as a convertible and 2+2 coupé. The convertible used the longer-wheelbase 2+2 floorplan. It is easily identifiable by the large cross-slatted front grille, flared wheel arches and a badge on the rear that proclaims it to be a V12. There were also a very limited number of 4.2 litre six-cylinder Series 3 E-Types built. These were featured in the initial sales literature. It is believed these are the rarest of all E-Types of any remaining.
Lightweight E-Type (1963-1964)
In some ways, this was an evolution of the Low Drag Coupé. It made extensive use of aluminium alloy in the body panels and other components. However, with at least one exception, it remained an open-top car in the spirit of the
to which this car is a more direct successor than the production E-Type which is more of a GT than a sports car. The cars used a tuned version of the production 3.8 litre Jaguar engine with 300 bhp (224 kW) output rather than the 265 bhp (198 kW) produced by the "ordinary" version. At least one car is known to have been fitted with fuel-injection.
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