The Jaguar E-Type – A Brief History

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The Jaguar E-Type is one of the most iconic classic cars on the planet – and it’s a car that many dream about buying. But it’s also a car that needs to be approached with educated caution: the wrong decision could cost you dearly.

In the 1960s, the Jaguar Restorations at Browns Lane began work on a successor to the Le Mans-winning D-type and the dated roadgoing XK140 flagship. The resulting E-Type was a major leap forward, with new independent rear suspension and a more aerodynamic body that was capable of competing at the top level of international motorsport.

Behind the Scenes: The Manufacturing Process of the Jaguar E-Type

With the aging D-type now well into its retirement period, and rules changes for 1958 forcing the end of the D-type’s dominance at Le Mans, it was clear that something new was needed. At the Experimental Department at Browns Lane, Chief Engineer William (Bill) Heynes and aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer started work on a replacement.

Their solution was the 4.2 litre E-Type. Officially referred to by Jaguar as Series 1 cars, the enthusiast fraternity quickly adopted a different nomenclature and christened these the Lightweight E-Types.

The 4.2-litre engine was an excellent improvement for the E-Type, making it smoother and more sophisticated as a grand touring car. And, crucially, it complied with emission controls that were coming into force in smog ridden cities like Los Angeles. In addition to the powerplant, the Lightweights also received a new Jaguar all synchromesh gearbox and switched from a positive earth electrical system to a modern negative ground system powered by an alternator.