The common expression ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ can certainly be attributed to Enzo Ferrari’s thoughts on Jaguar’s E-type as, on first sighting the car, il Commendatore was reported to have called it “the most beautiful car ever made”.

He wasn’t the only one that had these thoughts after the original E-type rolled off the assembly line back in 1961. Go forward 47 years from that point in time to 2008 and the Daily Telegraph newspaper rated this most sensuous big car number one on their list of the world’s 100 most beautiful cars.

World famous in NZ – Jeremy and his Jaguar make the front page

Such was the success of the E-type that it would remain in series production for 14 years. The Series 1 cars ran from 1961 to 1968, with Series 2 models built from 1968 to 1971. The last-of-the-line Series 3 cars were finally phased out in 1975.

As most will be aware, the E-type was largely based upon Jaguar’s D-type race car. They had famously won the Le Mans 24 hour race in three consecutive years beginning in 1955. For the E-type, Jaguar combined race-bred heritage with competitive pricing and high performance, all wrapped up in stunning good looks. As you’d imagine, the car was an immediate winner in its own right. It would also spur industry changes with advanced aspects such as a top speed of 250km/h, sub-seven second 0-to-100km/h time, monocoque construction, four-wheel disc brakes, and fully independent suspension.

Today, the 3.8-litre Series 1 cars with their non-synchromesh Moss gearboxes made between 1961 and 1964 are the most valuable models. In between 1965 and 1967, the XK six-cylinder engine was increased to 4.2 litres, and a full synchromesh gearbox was added along with superior brakes.

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