Jaguar E Type
An iconic model which evolved over 13 years of production
When the E Type was launched at the Geneva show in 1961, it created as much, if not more of a sensation as the XK120 had 13 years earlier. It was not without it’s faults though. The brakes were not really up to the outstanding performance, the seats were uncomfortable for many, there was insufficient legroom for anyone of more than average height, the gearbox, though robust, was a bit agricultural, and the cooling was inadequate for many of it’s important target markets. It was superb ground-breaking car, and was astonishing value, but there was scope for improvement!
Jaguar E Type
From the beginning, the E Type was available in fixed head coupe, and roadster forms. In 1963 a longer and taller ‘2+2’ was also offered.
The story of the E Type is one of gradual improvement over the years, and then changes introduced for compliance in the all-important US market.
Available initially with the 3.8 XK engine, which was later enlarged to 4.2 (1964) for greater torque, the earliest cars are considered ‘seminal’ for the died-in-the wool enthusiast.
However, early on seat travel was extended, and recesses let into the flat floors to improve legroom. By the time the 4.2 was introduced, brakes, cooling, gearbox and seats had all been changed for the better. Many people confuse the fact that both 3.8 and 4.2 E Types can be Series 1s. A general misunderstanding seems to be that 4.2s are S2s. If the car was built in or before mid 1967, it is an S1.
Series 1 ½ & Series 2
Towards the end of 1967 the E Type gradually evolved into the S 1 ½ and in 1968 the S2 model.
Many changes on these models were made to comply with the changing US market, and these changes, though practical, were generally felt to have compromised the sensational looks of the earlier cars.
The headlights were exposed, brought forward and raised slightly. The interior flick switches changed to plastic rockers, and with the S2 the air intake was enlarged, as were the rear lights which dropped below the bumpers which continued across both front and rear. In S2 form, for the US market, the car lost its triple SU carbs, for twin Strombergs, which reduced both emissions and power. The last S2s were built in September/October 1970.
Using the elongated 2+2 body for both fixed head and roadster models, Jaguar introduced its new V12 engine in the Series 3 E Type in late 1970.
The model had many changes over the S2 apart from the engine and longer body, including increased track, wider wheels with flared arches. The nature of the car changed from that of a sports car to a relaxed and potent long-distance tourer. Production ceased in mid-1974.