The E type was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. Jaguar showed the world their latest sports car the likes of which had never been seen before and unlikely to be seen again. The impact on the motoring press and the motoring public was huge. Few knew that the second car at the launch, an Open Two Seat, was driven all night from Coventry by the Test Driver Norman Dewis and arrived with only enough time for a wash before podium display!
The E type took a quantum technological leap from its rich C and D type heritage. The pure aerodynamic lines were set by master aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer. Breakthrough development in metal fabrication uncompromisingly realised the E-Type’s lines. Similar to the aerospace industry the monocoque construction, supporting tube steel engine and front suspension frames facilitated production of the eye-catching E-Type shape.
At launch the E type was powered by the proven 3.8 litre, twin cam, over head valve, straight 6 cylinder engine. This engine looked as good as it performed. Sixty BHP per litre is still a creditable power output, even by today’s standards. The extensive use of polished aluminium and triple SU carburettors is a sight to behold. It is an instant attraction when the large front hinged bonnet is opened.
The engine was coupled to the strong Moss gearbox. At the rear was the unique Independent Rear Suspension of Formula 1 sophistication with inboard disc brakes.
After a short transition period, the Factory introduced the Series 2 to embody the design changes necessary to comply with evolving safety requirements.
The E type has proven to be a timeless creation and evokes the same comments and feeling today as it did it it’s unveiling in 1961. The description of “iconic” is often used. The E-Type is a classic example of the design principle of form following function.
Over the 13 years of production, there were three official Series. They are Series 1, 2 and 3. For a short period there was a transition configuration between the Series 1 and 2 that, over time, has come to be known ‘unofficially’ as the Series ‘1½.’
1961 to 1964
1964 to 1968
1967 to 1968
1968 to 1970
1970 to 1974