The sports car market was never quite the same after the Jaguar E-type took the world by storm at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. Hard to believe that this beautiful design is now approaching 60 years old and it looks as relevant today as it did all those years ago. One cannot overestimate the impact that Sir William Lyons’ and Malcolm Sayer’s masterpiece had when it was launched. And the beauty of this work of art is not just skin deep.
The E-type sported advanced technology such as an all steel monocoque with front subframe, all round independent suspension (double wishbones at the front, wishbones and twin coil/damper units at the rear), rack and pinion steering, and dual circuit served inboard disc brakes at the rear – all ground-breaking stuff at the time.
In the current owner’s own words:
‘The car before you is a fine example of how Jaguar constantly had to develop its models to meet continuously evolving [particularly American] legislative requirements. Gone are the streamlined covered-in headlamps, slim-line bumpers and delicate rear lamps of the original Series I icon. Instead the design team, headed by the company founder – and my grandfather – Sir William Lyons, had to devise ingenious ways to meet those requirements while not adversely affecting the essentials of its attractive nature. The mouth aperture is larger too allowing more cooling air to enter the engine bay, and the wire wheels have lost their ‘2-eared’ spinners. The dash has rounded rocker switches which were deemed less hazardous inside the cockpit.’
‘This car was originally supplied by Henlys of Hendon to a lady in Paddington, London and I am the second recorded keeper. Coincidentally her name was also Lyons although there is no known family connection. When I inherited the car, it had been stored for many years in a barn in Devon, then briefly at my grandfather’s home at Wappenbury Hall. It required a full restoration which was carried out partly through my own endeavours when I worked at RA Creamer & Son, Jaguar’s main dealer in Kensington, and partly with the assistance of RS Panels in Nuneaton who repaired, reassembled and painted the body.’
After the restoration was completed in 1996, I have used the car more sparingly than I had intended to, but it has since covered approximately 15,000 miles including trips to Le Mans and Scotland. It has also appeared in various books and photo-shoots, and the odd concours event.
Displayed courtesy of Club Motoring Committee member Michael Quinn from Monday 20th May to Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2019.