Jaguar E-Type

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Jaguar E-Type
1963 Jaguar XK-E Roadster.jpg 1963 Open Two Seater
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
Parent companyBritish Leyland
Also calledJaguar XK-E
AssemblyCoventry, England
PredecessorJaguar XK150
SuccessorJaguar XJ-S
ClassSports car
LayoutFR layout
RelatedJaguar D-Type
Jaguar XJ13
DesignerMalcolm Sayer[1]
ManualsService Manual

The Jaguar E-Type (UK) or XK-E (US) is a British automobile, manufactured by Jaguar between 1961 and 1974. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and competitive pricing resulted in a great success for Jaguar, with more than 70,000 E-Types being sold over its lifespan. It is often referred to as the E-Type Jag, and has subsequently become an icon of 1960s motoring. In March 2008, the Jaguar E-Type ranked first in Daily Telegraph list of the "100 most beautiful cars" of all time.[2] In 2004, Sports Car International magazine placed the E-Type at number one on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.


The E-Type was initially designed and shown to the public as a grand tourer in two seater coupé form (FHC or Fixed Head Coupé) and as convertible (OTS or Open Two Seater). The 2+2 version with a lengthened wheelbase was released several years later.

When released Enzo Ferrari called it "The most beautiful car ever made".

The model was made in 3 distinct versions generally referred to as "Series 1", "Series 2" and "Series 3". A transitional series between Series 1 and Series 2 is known unofficially as "Series 1½".

In addition, several limited-edition variants were produced:

  • The "'Lightweight' E-Type" which was apparently intended as a sort of follow-up to the D-Type. Jaguar planned to produce 18 units but ultimately only a dozen were reportedly built. Of those, one is known to have been destroyed and two others have been converted to coupé form. These are exceedingly rare and sought after by collectors.
  • The "Low Drag Coupé" was a one-off technical exercise which was ultimately sold to a Jaguar racing driver. It is presently believed to be part of the private collection of the current Viscount Cowdray.

Series 1 (1961-1967)

Series I
Jaguar Series 1 E-Type coupe
Body style(s)2-door coupe
2-door convertible
Engine(s)3.8 L XK I6
4.2 L XK I6
Wheelbase96 in (2438 mm)[3]
Length175.5 in (4458 mm)[3]
Width65.25 in (1657 mm)[3]
Height47 in (1194 mm)[3]

The Series 1 was introduced in March 1961, using 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 late 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, which were power-assisted from 1964. Jaguar was one of the first auto manufacturer to equip cars with disc brakes as standard.

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 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 Wire wheels and a detachable hard top for the Open Two Seater.

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.

There was a transitional series of cars built in 1967-68, unofficially called "Series 1½", which are externally similar to Series 1 cars. Because of the 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 Template:Convert/foutmig (Template:Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £2097 including taxes. [3]

15,490 3.8s, 17,320 4.2s and 10,930 2+2s were made. [4]

Series 2 (1968-1971)

Series II
1970 Jaguar E-Type Roadster.JPG1970 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
Body style(s)2-door coupe
2-door 2+2 coupe
2-door convertible
Engine(s)4.2 L XK I6

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 flick switches being substituted for rocker switches that met U.S health and safety regulations. 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.

It was available in FHC, OTS, and 2+2 versions. 13,490 were made. [4]

Series 3 (1971-1975)

Series III
'74 Jaguar E-Type Convertible (Hudson).JPG1974 Jaguar E-Type Series III convertible (North America)
Body style(s)2-door 2+2 coupe
2-door convertible
Engine(s)5.3 L Jaguar V12

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 floorpan. It is easily identifiable by the aggressive, slatted front grill in place of the mouth of earlier cars, 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.

15,290 were made. [4]

In 2008 a British classic car enthusiast assembled what is surely the last ever E-Type from parts bought from the end-of-production surplus in 1974.[5]

Low Drag Coupé (1962)

Shortly after the introduction of the E-Type, Jaguar management wanted to investigate the possibility of building a car more in the spirit of the D-Type racer from which elements of the E-Type's styling and design were derived. One car was built to test the concept designed as a coupé as its monocoque design could only be made rigid enough for racing by using the "stressed skin" principle. Previous Jaguar racers were built as open-top cars because they were based on ladder frame designs with independent chassis and bodies. Unlike the steel production E-Types the LDC used lightweight aluminium. Sayer retained the original tub with lighter outer panels riveted and glued to it. The front steel sub frame remained intact, the windshield was given a more pronounced slope and the rear hatch welded shut. Rear brake cooling ducts appeared next to the rear windows,and the interior trim was discarded, with only insulation around the transmission tunnel. With the exception of the windscreen, all cockpit glass was plexi. A tuned version of Jaguars 3.8 litre engine with a wide angle cylinder-head design tested on the D-Type racers was used. Air management became a major problem and, although much sexier looking and certainly faster than a production E-Type, the car was never competitive: the faster it went, the more it wanted to do what its design dictated: take off.

The one and only test bed car was completed in summer of 1962 but was sold a year later to Jaguar racing driver Dick Protheroe who raced it extensively and eventually sold it. Since then it has passed through the hands of several collectors on both sides of the Atlantic and now is believed to reside in the private collection of the current Viscount Cowdray.

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 D-Type 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.

The cars were entered in various races but, unlike the C-Type and D-Type racing cars, they did not win at Le Mans or Sebring.

Motor Sport

Bob Jane won the 1963 Australian GT Championship at the wheel of an E-Type.

The Jaguar E-Type was very successful in SCCA Production sports car racing with Group44 and Bob Tullius taking the B-Production championship with a Series-3 V12 racer in 1975. A few years later, Gran-Turismo Jaguar from Cleveland Ohio campaigned a 4.2 L 6 cylinder FHC racer in SCCA production series and in 1980, won the National Championship in the SCCA C-Production Class defeating a fully funded factory Nissan Z-car team with Paul Newman.

In media

  • In the Austin Powers films, Austin drives a Series I convertible E-Type called the "Shaguar"
  • In the movie The Italian Job a couple of Jaguar E-Types are attacked by the Mafia in the Alps.
  • In Harold and Maude a Jaguar E-Type is converted to a hearse.
  • In Vanishing Point a Jaguar E-Type is beaten by a Dodge Challenger in a short race. The dare finishes when the Jaguar driver tries too hard and catapults into a river.
  • A Jaguar E is the signature car of the comic character Diabolik.
  • In the Devil May Cry television series, Dante, the main character, drives an E-Type.
  • In the Paradise Kiss anime television series, George Koizumi drives an E-Type. It is also prominently shown in its opening and end sequences.
  • The titular car of the Alisa Mizuki song "oh-darling - Convertible" is a Jaguar E.
  • A Jaguar E (XKE) drag race against a Corvette is immortalized in the Jan and Dean hit song Dead Man's Curve.
  • In It's Me or the Dog, dog trainer Victoria Stilwell comes to the rescue each episode in a red E-Type convertible.
  • The car is drivable in the console games Gran Turismo 4, Forza Motorsport, Forza Motorsport 2 and Project Gotham Racing 2.
  • A Jaguar E-Type is the vehicle restored in the Discovery Networks Europe's "A Car is Reborn" series, hosted by Mark Evans (TV Host).

See also

  • Jaguar XK150 - predecessor to the E-Type
  • Jaguar XJS - successor to the E-Type
  • Jaguar XK8 - The E-Type's current and spiritual successor


  1. Loughborough graduate and designer of E Type Jaguar honoured
  2. 100 most beautiful cars
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "The Jaguar E-type". The Motor. March 22, 1961. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Robson, Graham (2006). A–Z British Cars 1945–1980. Devon, UK: Herridge & Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  5. Taken from Dec 2008[1]

External links