19 February 2011

Jaguar E-Type turns 50

You would be hard pressed to believe that this beauty is 50. It's an all-time classic.


WITH my list of the most beautiful cars ever made. Without hesitation, the Jaguar E-Type (XKE it was known in the United States of A) would be on it. Some believe it is the best car Jaguar have ever made as well. The classic big cat in March this year, celebrates its 50th birthday.

Rewind back to 1961, when Sir William Lyons unveiled the stunning E-Type. It’s dashing and artfully-sculpted feline curves; long, sleek bonnet and pert rear. In short, this big cat was a glamour puss. Stunning the public with amazement back then. Fifty years later, this car still has the power to turns heads with admiration whenever people see one. Still oozes charisma and sex appeal. A car that stirs the soul and emotion. It's not hard to see why.

Besides it’s sensational looks, the E-Type was great value for money for buyers when new. In the 1960s, at around £2,000 (say about £65k in today’s money) got you a very capable car. It’s powerful 3.8 litre straight-six engine could push the car to 60 mph in an eye-watering 7.1 seconds. Then it could reach the top speed of 150mph. 

OK, you can get those performance figures from a hot hatch nowadays. That's not the point. The E-Type’s performance was impressive in its day and still respectable today. Back in the 60s, the Lamborghini Muira and a couple of Ferraris were faster than the E-Type. But they cost more than twice as much as the Jag. It was great value for money on what Jaguar offered.

The Jaguar E-Type is not just a beautiful piece of British automotive art. It’s not just a classic but it’s also an icon. Malcolm Sawyer’s design is something of a masterpiece. The E-Type to me, is one of the cars, that is very much the pinnacle of great automotive design. Even Enzo Ferrari famously hailed it as “the most beautiful car in the world”. High praise indeed.

I'd love to have an E-Type for a weekend. It would ideally be a pure and undiluted Series 1 convertible in red. Take it out on a quiet and sunny afternoon. In the open country lanes, with the wind in my hair. Hearing the raspberry exhaust notes from the engine would be music to my ears. That would be paradise. I would be in heaven.

Happy birthday to the Jaguar E-Type. It may have hit 50. It has matured like fine wine. Its breathtaking looks just gets better with age. It doesn't look a day old to me. The E-Type arguably, will always be the coolest cat of all time. One of the most beautiful cars ever made.

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