Jaguar : E-type celebrates 50th Anniversary in March

This year marks the Jaguar E-type's 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history – the Jaguar E-type. Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at a number of  high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.

The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on to celebrate at Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.

The E-type caused a sensation when it was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. Capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was an affordable supercar which set new standards in automotive design and performance and remained on sale for 14 years. Indeed, in recognition of the car’s ground-breaking design, one remains on permanent display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-type had when it was unveiled in 1961. Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future.” Ian Callum, Design Director, Jaguar Cars Limited

Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage said: “Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-type. It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar’s most enduring and iconic symbol. The E-type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar’s founder, Sir William Lyons.”

Ian Callum, Jaguar’s current Design Director added: “It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-type had when it was unveiled in 1961. Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future.”

E-type owners included celebrities such as George Best, Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen and the sports car became as synonymous with the Swinging Sixties as the Beatles and the mini skirt.

E-type Facts And Figures

  • The E-type was presented to the world’s press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva on the 15th March, 1961. Such was the media excitement and clamour for demonstration runs up a nearby hillclimb that Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons instructed chief test driver Norman Dewis to drive through the night from Coventry to bring another model to Switzerland.
  • Even Enzo Ferrari admitted it was “the most beautiful car in the world.”
  • 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 265bhp and 260lb ft of torque, making the car a genuine 150mph proposition and, like its XK120 predecessor, the fastest production car in the world.
  • At launch the E-type cost £2,256 15s, including purchase tax and the all-important optional wire wheels, the equivalent today of just £38,000.
  • 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.

Read all about the E-type on AROnline

[Source: Jaguar Cars Limited]

Posted in: AROnline News, Jaguar
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

5 Comments on "Jaguar : E-type celebrates 50th Anniversary in March"

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  1. David 3500 says:

    I understand that, aside from the formal events being organised in conjunction with Jaguar Cars Limited, the annual Historic Vehicle Gathering, which will be taking place at Powderham Castle, near Exeter, on the 9th and 10th July, will be staging a special display and cavalcade to celebrate the E-Type’s 50th Anniversary.

  2. Darren says:

    I still think that the E-Type is one of the most beautiful cars ever produced.
    50 yrs on, it’s still jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

  3. Harry Wiggleson says:

    For those who cannot make the festivities in Europe, and who happen to love or want to visit the spectacular scenery of the Desert Southwest, in September 2011 a group of E-Types and other select Jaguars will be making a run from Laughlin, NV, up through the Copper state, along part of historic Route 66, into the canyonlands of Utah, and ending up in Durango, Colorado.

    The event will be an informal one and all participants will be responsible for their own food and lodging. The scenery is stunning and few other places can offer the photographic opportunities for you and your Jaguar that this area does. Contact here: harwig57@gmail.com for more info.

  4. Frederick Houlding says:

    I had the the first red Jaguar E-Type in Canada in late 1961 – it’s too big a story to tell here as there is not room. However, I can be contacted on skype f.e.houlding

  5. KenS Ken Strachan says:

    I recall that, back in the mid-1990s, a callow youth writing for Autocar described his Peugeot 306 Convertible staff car as “sexier than a sackful of E-types.” This confirms what we already know – that some people have very strange definitions of sex.

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