Jaguar E-Type Anniversary
This is FSN 1, an E-type I drove often, with Jimmy Stewart, Jackie's elder brother. Like the Sprite in the next blog, it is at Turnberry for the RSAC Concours d'elegance
1961 JAGUAR E-type 3.8 FHC: From The Jaguar File, revised for EBook
The E-type epitomised the classic sports touring car. Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, in the Parc des Eaux Vives within sight of the famous jet d’eau, it created shock-waves throughout the motor industry. The social elite of Geneva queued up - literally - to be whisked up a hill-climb course by test driver Norman Dewis and Jaguar public relations chief and accomplished D-type racer, Bob Berry. So many people turned up that the police were called to keep order.
The E-type looked the quintessence of quality, its UK price was less than £1500, and it was expected to reach 150mph (241.39kph). Officially the successor to the XK series, it evoked the lines and style of a D-type, slimmed and refined to create a beautiful car, which became an enduring symbol of the 1960s. More attainable than a Ferrari, more charismatic than a Rolls-Royce, racier than a Mercedes-Benz, the E-type stamped its image on a generation and its shape became an icon of the so-called swinging sixties. Its basis was straightforward. Both the open and closed versions had a cockpit made of small spot-welded steel pressings, with the independent rear suspension carried in a cradle underneath.
E2A, the Briggs Cunningham prototype that had raced at Le Mans, showed what had motivated thinkers at Jaguar, who wanted something that did double duty as a sports-racing lookalike and a practical road car. The front was constructed of Reynolds 541 square section steel tubing containing the engine and carrying the front suspension. A smaller tubular sub-frame was bolted to the front, supporting the radiator and front bonnet anchor. The bonnet hinged upwards for access to the engine and front suspension, and comprised the entire nose-section with complicated ducts and electrical connections. It was an elaborate and expensive item of equipment, as anybody unfortunate enough to damage one soon found out.
The Autocar and The Motor road testers managed the required top speeds, but only just. A certain amount of duplicity emerged after production E-types seldom got much past 140mph. The model’s reputation was sullied through overheating of the inboard rear disc brakes. Yet it changed the world of the sports car, setting standards in ride and handling that lasted for years, banishing for ever the notion that fast sports cars should feel “difficult”. It arrived at the dawn of the motorway age in Britain, when people could still dream of dashing from one end of the country to the other at unfettered speed. Timid ministers of transport, desperate to impose motorway speed limits, were still years off.
Announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 1961, one of the first E-types I drove was a works press car, taken to Scotland for the Kelvin Hall Motor Show, that I drove to the offices of The Hamilton Advertiser to have it photographed. Jaguar apprentice Clive Martin came with me to make sure I could handle the power.INTRODUCTION 1961 produced to 1964.
BODY coupe; 2-doors, 2-seats; dry weight 1143kg (2519.8lb) kerb weight 1226kg (2702lb).
ENGINE 6-cylinders, in-line; front; 87mm x 106mm, 3781cc; compr 9:1, 8.1 optional; 197.6kW (265bhp) @ 5500rpm; 52.26kW (70bhp)/l; 348.7Nm (257.2lbft) @ 4000rpm.
ENGINE STRUCTURE two chain-driven ohc; aluminium cylinder head, cast iron block; 3 2in SU HD8 carburettors; Lucas ignition; SU electric fuel pump; 7-bearing crankshaft.
TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 25.3cm (10in) Borg and Beck sdp clutch; 4-speed synchromesh gearbox; hypoid final drive 3.31:1; options 4.09, 3.77, 3.27:1; Powr-Lok limited-slip diff.
CHASSIS steel monocoque centre, bolted tubular front sub-frames; ifs by wishbones, coil springs; anti roll bar; irs by lower wishbone, upper driveshaft link, radius arms, twin coil spring/telescopic damper units; anti roll bar; hydraulic servo disc 27.9cm (11in) front 25.4cm (10in) inboard rear brakes; rack and pinion steering; 63.3l (14gal) fuel tank; Dunlop RS5 6.40-15 tyres, optional Dunlop Racing R5 6.00-15 front, 6.50-15 rear; wire wheels.
DIMENSIONS wheelbase 244cm (96in); track 127cm (50in); length 444cm (175in); width 165cm (65in); height 122cm (48in); ground clearance 12.7cm (5in); turning circle right 12.3m (40.4ft), left 11.7m (38.4ft).
EQUIPMENT spare wheel and toolkit in recessed floor of boot; optional HMV radio; chrome wire wheels £60 21; Sundym glass in hatchback.
PERFORMANCE maximum speed 242.1kph (150.4mph); 37kph (23mph) @ 1000rpm on RS5, 39.58kph (24.6mph) on R5 tyres; 0-100kph (62mph) 6.9sec; fuel consumption 15.8l/100km (17.9mpg).
PRICE £2197. PRODUCTION 7669.