Jaguar will be celebrating the 50th birthday of the Jaguar E-Type at events throughout the year, strating at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
If there is one car that defines a generation – and its maker – it’s the Jaguar E-Type. Launched to an astonished public in 1961, the E-Type Jag offered the promise of 150mph performance, all wrapped up in a body so glorious even Enzo Ferrari was moved to call it “The most beautiful car in the World”.
The E-Type stayed in production for 14 years, from the very first 3.8 litre flat-floor cars (a pain to drive) right the way through to the automatic V12 E-Types of 1974, which BLMC couldn’t give away. But in between the glorious E-Types of the 1960s became iconic. And at a starting point of £2,256/16s in 1961 (just £38k today) they were remarkable value by contemporary standards.
Today, the E-Type’s influence can still be seen in the cars Jaguar produce. Driving an E-Type is still a thrill and still guaranteed to get gawps of benign lust from one and all – even those normally ambivalent to the beauty of a car.
So with all that history it’s no surprise that Jaguar intends making the most of the E-Type’s 50th birthday. Starting point for the Focus on the E-Type’s 50th will be the Geneva Motor Show in March and on to both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and anywhere else Jaguar can.
So there’s a very good chance that whichever car event floats your boat in 2011, you may very well get to see a drop-dead gorgeous selection of E-Types from the Jaguar Heritage Museum putting in an appearance. It also means, if we play our cards right, we might even be able to persuade Jaguar to let us loose on an E-Type or two. Which would be a real treat.
It’s been a while.
(35 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)