Happy birthday to an icon – the Jaguar E-type

Sporty like Wayne Gretzky, modern and inspirational like Barack Obama, brings a smile like Eddie Murphy, a British icon like Princess Diana, a sound that is incredible like Susan Boyle, and stylish like Tom Ford. All of these people were born in 1961, just like the revered Jaguar E-Type which also holds the same attributes that have been named here. I wanted to write a piece about this incredible icon in order to celebrate its belated Birthday on the 15th of March.


Some of the many E-Types I’ve seen

Whilst its 50th birthday was celebrated stupendously on Top Gear with an incredible film by Clarkson that inspired a true sense (of a failing feeling in recent years) of British pride, I however wanted to go a bit more in depth into this car and my relationship with it.

Clarksons 50 year tribute

Despite being created in the infamous city of British Leyland, strikes, and overall bad reputation for looking awful (not anymore though, its rather a nice city now) the car in contrast is most famous due to its truly unrivalled looks, there have been hundreds of beautiful cars, but I don’t think any of them has captured the essence of seamless beauty with hint of stunning style. I think to emphasise how good this car truly looks, just listen to the words of Enzo Ferrari, a man who himself has created some of the most jaw dropping automobiles, he stated it was the most beautiful car ever made, that takes great weight coming from the creator of the 250 GT California. 

The 250 GT California 

Another factor that created its timeless popularity is the engineering. This car was born with motorsport pedigree written into its DNA which it later proved on many occasions, including under the helm of F1 world champion Graham Hill where he overcame the competition of the DB4 and aforementioned 250 GT. This was due to its sleek and aerodynamic body as well as new technology such as disc brakes and independent rear suspension. This along with the V12 engine created from the remains of the Jaguar XJ13 project, which was supposed to be a 1967 Le Mans racer, made the E-Type a success on and off track whilst winning the hearts of everyone whilst doing so.

The Jaguar XJ13 engine used in the V12 E-type

Some of those peoples whose hearts were won over include Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, and Elton John. This car, despite its comparatively low price of £2,250 (approximately £40,000 or about $50,000 in today’s money) became a symbol of style for the jet set and even today is a hot ticket item amongst countless people despite its old age. 

The first ever Jaguar E-Type
The last ever Jaguar E-Type

Due to this never-ceasing demand, the prices have risen so that even the least desirable models still fetch about £50,000 and the more desirable ones can go up to £300,000 or more. Of course that is a ridiculous amount of money, but this car is still humble like its origins because comparatively, this car is still a bargain since the reoccurring 250 GT California costs up to 300 times the price of an E-Type. £50,000 for an icon of style sounds good to me!

As for my relationship, sadly I do not have a childhood story of seeing one or being one and falling in love. I have always admired it but never found the passion it deserved until recent years, and once I had that passion, I was hooked. In my short time on this Earth, I have seen too many E-Types to count thanks to going to car shows in the city where it was made, I have seen racing versions, all colours, shapes, and generations. Most impressive of all, I have seen the very first Jaguar E-Type convertible which in itself has a brilliant story of its unveiling, the very last Jaguar E-Type, as well as the Jaguar D-Type and XJ13 which is what handed over its motorsport pedigree to make it the success it was. 

Front of the D-Type
Rear of the D-Type
One of the racing E-Types
Front of the XJ13
Rear of the XJ13

I love this car, sadly I doubt I will ever own one due to price as well as my lack of knowledge on maintenance. However, every single time I see one, no matter how often, my face lights up and that passion is reignited, and makes me proud to be from the country and city that created this masterpiece.

Not all is lost though, I also love its spiritual successor the F-Type and that is a future possibility!

Pre- facelift F-Type
Facelift F-Type

As a little bonus, here are two diecast of the E-Type that I have and also a phone wallpaper as well!

Published in Classics

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