There’s no denying the statement Jaguar’s Sir William Lyons made with the unveiling of the marque’s stunning new E-Type show car at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. Coming off a decade of domination at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jaguar realized the necessity for a new automobile to replace its aging XK 150 model line. Penned by Jaguar’s legendary aerodynamicist, Malcolm Sayer, this new car’s monocoque construction would bear similarities to their now legendary D-Type sports racer, with the mission to create not only a sensational road car, but also a highly capable Le Mans winner.
Initially fitted with the triple SU carbureted, 3.8L straight-six cylinder engine that previously powered the XK 150S, the 265HP power-plant could propel the slippery E-Type (XK-E on US soil) from still to 60 mph in unheard of sub-7 second time and onto speeds of 150 mph. Perhaps even more important was this new car’s evidence of technological progress with independent rear suspension, disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering at a point when live rear axles and drum brakes were the norm. No mention of the E-Type is complete with at least some recognition of the sexy sheet metal penned by Mr. Sayer.
This new Jaguar would be responsible for winning the hearts of millions of sports car enthusiasts, celebrities and even caused a stir with the great Enzo Ferrari who would famously call the E-Type, “The most beautiful car ever made”. Today the cars are just as revered, with Series 1 examples enjoying considerable appreciation in the marketplace.
Available for sale at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016 Auction, this 1961 Jaguar E-Type Open Two-Seater is not only a Series 1 example, but also one of the 500 initial 1961 models fitted with the early flat-floor design, welded-in louvers and exposed hinges on the hood. All details equipped on the very earliest E-Types, this example is further separated from the rest of these 500 cars as it is one of only 385 versions produced as a left-hand drive open two-seater.
With its original engine and transmission, Lot# 1368.1 was comprehensively restored by California-based Jaguar E-Type specialist, Classic Showcase. The focus of the restoration was to produce a concours-winning example, a claim reinforced by an independent assessment of the car from two Jaguar Club North America judges that determined the car to be without deduction, scoring a perfect 100 point score.
The original body work of this E-Type was completely disassembled and taken down to bare metal during its lengthy rehabilitation and the process was well documented. The supplied Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate reveals the same Graphite grey on red livery that it wears today.
The Jaguar E-Type cemented its place in history right from the start and its remarkable story is one that continues to be a standout in the history of the automobile. Represented in places like New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, it’s clear these cars are as much a cultural and design icon as a fixture of sports car history.
This 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS is available at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale, scheduled for January 23-31, 2016. For more information, visit Barrett-Jackson.com.
1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 OTS – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)