Jaguar is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the E-Type, the brand’s iconic sports car with events all year. Rumors are about of an introduction of a new E-Type because fans would love to see it. If there is to be one, it’s likely to show up at the Geneva Motor Show and the New York Auto Show and the Goodwood Festival of Speed where Jag says it’s going to celebrate.
Nothing says Jaguar like the E-Type. It debuted in Geneva in 1961. The car defined the sleek, low-slung, muscular appearance that still defines Jag.
“Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type,” said Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage. “It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar’s most enduring and iconic symbol.”
E-Type owners have included Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, and Tony Curtis. The E-Type was also known as the XK-E in the United States. That’s a 1970 model in the photo, above. A total of 72,520 E-Types were produced. Of those, 83% were exported from England. Other fun facts:
The 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 265 horsepower, giving the car a top speed in excess of 150 miles per hour.
- At launch the E-Type cost $5,595 for the Roadster or “OTS” (Open two-seater) and $5,895 for the Coupe or “FHC” (Fixed head coupe) this included standard wire wheels. Adjusted for inflation in 2011 dollars, the E-type would cost about $41,000 for the roadster and $43,000 for the coupe.
- The 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 C and D-Type racers.
- The E-type remained in production for 14 years, selling more than 70,000 units, making it Europe’s first mass-produced sports car.
“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar design director. “Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolize.”