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History of the Jaguar E-Type

jaguar_headlightFew automobiles can lay claim to the iconic status achieved by the Jaguar E-Type during the 14 years it was produced from 1961 to 1975. This sleek and stylish British sports car has truly stood the test of time; it is every bit as (if not more) fascinating and exciting in 2014 as it was when the last one was made nearly 40 years ago.

In 2011, the UK publication The Telegraph announced that the E-Type (known as the XKE in the US) had been named the most beautiful automobile ever made, ahead of various types of Ferraris, Aston Martins, and other Jaguar models. Enzo Ferrari, who knew a thing or two about crafting alluring sports cars, was said to have expressed the same sentiment about the E-Type when it debuted back in 1961.

Love at First Sight

The impression the E-Type left on the automobile industry was immediate and indelible. The E-Type turned heads from the moment it exploded onto the scene at the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland in March 1961; Jaguar reportedly sold about 500 of them as a result of its presence at that Geneva show.

A month later, in April 1961, the E-Type made its first appearance in the US at the New York International Auto Show. Allegedly, six of them were sold in the first half hour, including one to crooner Frank Sinatra. According to legend, Ol’ Blue Eyes said he wanted an E-Type immediately upon first seeing it.

So, what was it about the E-Type that made it so desirable?

  • Exterior design. The E-Type’s simplistic yet distinctive design, created by aerodynamics engineer Malcolm Sayer, featured a curvy body shape and an oval face that made it visually striking. Even to this day the E-Type consistently places at or near the top of many “most beautiful cars” lists.
  • Speed. The 1961 E-Type topped out at 150 mph, which rivaled the Ferrari and the Aston Martin as the fastest car in the world at the time. It also handled and performed well, especially for a fast car.
  • Price. The first E-Type models (both the roadster and the coupe) sold for less than $6,000 in the US, which was roughly half the cost of a Ferrari or Aston Martin in 1961.

The Need for Speed

The E-Type was the successor to Jaguar’s C-Type and D-Type models, both of which had achieved notoriety on the professional racing circuit with a series of victories (including several in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France in the 1950s). Jaguar sports cars were already well known for their speed, so designers wanted to continue this custom with the E-Type.

Since its predecessors were both racecars, the E-Type was meant to be fast. The first E-Type had a six-cylinder, 3.8 liter engine with a horsepower of 265, which gave it a top speed of 150 mph. It could accelerate from zero to 60 in less than seven seconds, which was blazingly fast for that time period. In 1964, the engine displacement increased to 4.2 liters.

Changes Through the Years

Emissions and safety regulations that came about in the late 1960s forced Jaguar to make some changes to the E-Type design. Most of these changes were minor; probably the most significant modification was the removal of the glass covers on the headlights in favor of the “open headlight” style. Other features had to be enlarged for safety purposes, such as taillights, turn signal lights, parking lights, and brakes. The Series 2 E-Type, which debuted in 1969, had a reduced engine horsepower and as a result was not as powerful as previous E-Type models.

The car’s original power was restored in 1971 when the Series 3 E-Type was introduced and included a V-12 engine. By this time, air conditioning was a staple in E-Types, and a more luxurious interior indicated that the E-Type was moving away from its racecar roots. The E-Type remained competitively priced when compared with other sports cars, even in its final years of production. In 1975, the E-Type’s last year, it sold for about $7,600.


The Jaguar E-Type remains one of the most recognizable sports car brands in the world. About 70,000 of them were sold during its 14-year run. The E-Type has been featured in many TV shows and movies, probably most notably in Austin Powers where the titular character, played by Mike Myers, drove an E-Type roadster dubbed the “Shaguar” with a Union Jack painted on the hood.

The potency of the E-Type was undeniable, as actor Steve McQueen found out on one occasion in the mid-1960s in London. McQueen, who was known for owning a variety of fast cars and motorcycles, once test drove a borrowed Jaguar E-Type on the streets surrounding the grand Savoy Hotel where he was booked for a four-day stay. After accounts of McQueen’s wild and reckless excursion in the E-Type on the narrow streets of central London appeared in several British newspapers the next day, McQueen was reportedly evicted from the hotel.

The Sequel

In 2013, almost 40 years after the last E-Type was manufactured, Jaguar rolled out the E-Type’s successor, known as the F-Type. The Jaguar F-Type has carried on the tradition started by the E-Type over 50 years earlier by offering a smooth, speedy, thrilling, ride at a price that can hold its own against that of any luxury sports car.

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History of the Jaguar F-Type

British automobile manufacturer Jaguar ended a nearly 40-year wait in the summer of 2012 when it made a triumphant re-entry into the luxury sports car market with the initial version of its stunning F-Type model. The F-Type was billed as the long awaited successor to Jaguar’s iconic E-Type, which was last manufactured in 1975.

E-typeThe E-Type was a tough act to follow; after all, it is one of the most recognizable sports car brands in all the world. When it was first introduced in 1961, legendary Italian automaker Enzo Ferrari was reported to have called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful automobile that had ever been made.

Jaguar’s F-Type is a two-seater that more closely resembles their C-X16 model (a hybrid that was introduced just a year before the F-Type in 2011) than it does the E-Type of yesteryear. What Jaguar accomplished with the F-Type was a model that captures the look and feel of a true luxury sports car without diminishing or simply making a carbon copy of its famous predecessor; a true luxury sports car that can compete with Porsche’s 911 and Boxster models for market share.

Those who behold the majestic style and experience the sheer power of the F-Type believe it to be a worthy heir to the E-Type’s throne. After two highly successful years on the market for the F-Type, it is now entering its third year of production. The F-Type’s 2015 models are already on the market.

Introduction of the Jaguar F-Type

The world first saw the 2013 Jaguar F-Type when it was introduced at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. The car is sleek and lightweight (it’s made of aluminum) but also extremely powerful – even the most basic F-Type model features a supercharged 3.0 liter V6 340 horsepower engine that can accelerate from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds. For the first year, 2013, Jaguar offered an upgraded “S” model of the F-Type that gave buyers the option to add even more power to their engine: 3.0 liter V6 380 horsepower or 5.0 liter V8 495 horsepower.

For the sophomore model of the F-Type the following year, Jaguar expanded the options by offering even more models of the F-Type:

  • The 2014 F-Type became available in both convertible and coupe models. Only convertible models of the 2013 version were made.
  • In addition to basic and S models of the F-Type coupe, Jaguar introduced an R model coupe with an even more powerful engine. The F-Type R features a V8 550 horsepower motor that can go from zero to 60 in a mere four seconds.

What Makes the F-Type Unique?

F-TypeWhen the lowest engine horsepower offered is 340, you know that a drive in a Jaguar F-Type is going to be a thrill ride. The roaring, high-performance engines of the F-Type have made it a force to be reckoned with in the luxury sports car market since its inception two years ago.

One of the F-Type’s unique features is a lightning quick, smooth, eight speed automatic transmission with an intelligent control system that carefully selects which gear to use based on the driving situation. Here are a few other features that make the F-Type a world class luxury ride:

  • A front splitter to manage the airflow beneath the car.
  • A deployable spoiler that automatically rises when the car accelerates to higher speeds, reducing lift by up to 265 pounds.
  • Deployable door handles that retract when not in use.
  • A smooth leather interior, making it a tantalizingly comfortable ride.
  • An adaptive lighting system that will automatically switch between high and low beam, depending on the driving situation.
  • For coupe models, buyers can choose a panoramic glass roof that can add more natural light to the interior of the car.
  • For convertible models, the top is made of light, compact fabric that can be raised or lowered in as little as 12 seconds when driving 30 miles an hour or less. The top is available in four colors and is especially designed to cut down on noise produced by wind and the road.

Safety Features

Jaguar has taken extra steps to add the latest in safety and security features to all models of the 2015 F-Type. One of the safety features available to the buyer is an optional Vision Pack that includes:

  • A blind spot monitor that warns you via a diagram in your exterior rear view mirror when another vehicle is approaching in your blind spot.
  • A closing vehicle sensing feature that alerts you when changing lanes might be more dangerous based on the speeds of approaching vehicles.
  • Parking aids, both front and rear, that audibly alert you when you are approaching an object while parking the car.
  • Reverse traffic detection, which warns you via a radar system when another vehicle is crossing your path while you are backing up.

Other safety features available include two front airbags and two side airbags that deploy appropriately by using sensors to detect the size and weight of the driver and passenger.

The Price of the Jaguar F-Type

All 2015 models of the Jaguar F-Type have an MSRP of less than $100,000. The basic coupe model of the F-Type carries with it an MSRP starting at $65,000, while the MSRP of the basic convertible F-Type starts at $69,000. For the F-Types with the V8 engines, the coupe S model’s MSRP starts at $92,000 while the MSRP for the V8 R model begins at $99,000, which is the highest base MSRP of any F-Type model.

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