An Automotive Legend
The Jaguar E-Type sports car, created by former aircraft designer Malcolm Sayer, was unveiled outside the Restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives during the Geneva Salon at 4.30pm on March 15, 1961. Its radical appearance and promise of being ‘the fastest production car in the world’ caused near hysteria and resulted in 500 orders being placed during the show.
It’s powered by a race-bred, six-cylinder, 3.8 litre, 265 horsepower engine that gives the car a top speed of 150 mph - yet, at £2,098 for the roadster and £2,197 for the fixed-head coupe, it cost less than half the price of a comparable Ferrari or Aston Martin.
During its 14-year production run, the E-Type evolved to feature first a 4.2 litre engine and, ultimately, Jaguar’s 5.3 litre V12. It was offered with manual or automatic transmission and, in the final ‘Series 3’ form, fixed-head models were available only with family-friendly two-plus-two bodywork.
More than 72,000 E-Types were built, with around 12,000 being sold in Britain and the majority going to the USA. Celebrated owners included Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Britt Ekland, Peter Sellers, Sir Jackie Stewart and George Best.