While it didn’t invent the sports car, some might say Jaguar nearly perfected it. Fifty years ago, the E-Type was unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show and its timeless design is still influencing automotive designers today.
“Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type,” said Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage. “It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar's most enduring and iconic symbol. The E-Type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar's founder, Sir William Lyons.”
To mark the big anniversary, Jaguar will host celebrations at some of the world’s best automotive events. These are set to include the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nürburgring Old Timer Grand Prix, and a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.
In its day, the E-Type was not only breathtakingly beautiful, it also had the performance to back up those looks. In 1961, it was the fastest production car in the world with the ability to top 150 mph – heady stuff 50 years ago. It was initially launched with a 3.8-liter, inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 265 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Over 70,000 E-types were sold during its 14 years of production and it is often considered to be the world’s first mass-production sports car.
“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director. “Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-Type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future.”
With Jaguar in the process of designing another sports car to compete head to head with Porsche’s Boxster, many argue that there could not be a more appropriate time to reflect back on the E-Type. What do you think? Should Jaguar look back to the E-Type for inspiration of its new roadster, or should it charge forward without recalling past successes?