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1961 Jaguar E type front left
Jaguar Cars Ltd., better known simply as Jaguar is a British luxury car manufacturer, headquartered in Coventry, England.
Jaguar was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company by Sir William Lyons in 1922, originally making motorcycle sidecars before switching to passenger cars. The name was changed to Jaguar after World War II due to the unfavourable connotations of the SS initials.
The Jaguar E-Type (UK) or XK-E (US) is a British automobile manufactured by Jaguar between 1961 and 1974. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and competitive pricing established the marque as an icon of 1960s motoring. A great success for Jaguar, over seventy thousand E-Types were sold during its lifespan.
In March 2008, the Jaguar E-Type ranked first in Daily Telegraph list of the "100 most beautiful cars" of all time. In 2004, Sports Car International magazine placed the E-Type at number one on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.
The E-Type was initially designed and shown to the public as a grand tourer in two-seater coupe form (FHC or Fixed Head Coupe) and as convertible (OTS or Open Two Seater). The 2+2 version with a lengthened wheelbase was released several years later.
On its release Enzo Ferrari called it "The most beautiful car ever made".
The model was made in three distinct versions which are now generally referred to as "Series 1", "Series 2" and "Series 3". A transitional series between Series 1 and Series 2 is known unofficially as "Series 1?".
The Series 1 was introduced, initially for export only, in March 1961. The domestic market launch came four months later in July 1961. The cars at this time used the triple SU carburetted 3.8 litre 6-cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine from the XK150S. The first 500 cars built had flat floors and external hood (bonnet) latches. These cars are rare and more valuable. After that, the floors were dished to provide more leg room and the twin hood latches moved to inside the car. The 3.8 litre engine was increased to 4.2 litres in October 1964.
All E-Types featured independent coil spring rear suspension with torsion bar front ends, and four wheel disc brakes, in-board at the rear, all were power-assisted. Jaguar was one of the first auto manufacturer to equip cars with disc brakes as standard from the XK150 in 1958. The Series 1 can be recognised by glass covered headlights (up to 1967), small "mouth" opening at the front, signal lights and tail-lights above bumpers and exhaust tips under the licence plate in the rear.
3.8 litre cars have leather-upholstered bucket seats, an aluminium-trimmed centre instrument panel and console (changed to vinyl and leather in 1963), and a 4-speed gearbox that lacks synchromesh for 1st gear ("Moss box"). 4.2 litre cars have more comfortable seats, improved brakes and electrical systems, and an all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox. 4.2 litre cars also have a badge on the boot proclaiming "Jaguar 4.2 Litre E-Type" (3.8 cars have a simple "Jaguar" badge). Optional extras included Chrome Spoked wheels and a detachable hard top for the Open Two Seater.
There was a transitional series of cars built in 1967-68, unofficially called "Series 1?", which are externally similar to Series 1 cars. Due to American pressure the new features were open headlights, different switches, and some de-tuning (with a downgrade of twin Zenith-Stromberg carbs from the original triple SU carbs) for US models. Some Series 1? cars also have twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs. Series 2 features were gradually introduced into the Series 1, creating the unofficial Series 1? cars, but always with the Series 1 body style.
Less widely known, there was also right at the end of Series 1 production and prior to the transitional "Series 1?" referred to above, a very small number of Series 1 cars produced with open headlights. These are sometimes referred to as "Series 1?" cars. Production dates on these machines vary but in right hand drive form production has been verified as late as March 1968.[ It is thought that the low number of these cars produced relative to the other Series make them amongst the rarest of all production E Types.
An open 3.8 litre car, actually the first such production car to be completed, was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961 and had a top speed of 149.1 mph (240.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.3 miles per imperial gallon (13.3 L/100 km; 17.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost ?2097 including taxes
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