Jaguar E-Type celebrates 50th anniversary with lineup of events

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 23, 2011

Known as one of the most desirable and celebrated cars in automobile history, the Jaguar E-Type will be commemorating its 50th year in the industry. To celebrate this special anniversary, the brand will be conducting, all through 2011, a number of high-profile motoring events.

This celebration will start at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, after which the brand will then take it to Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, followed by Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and then Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix.

There will also be lifestyle events around the world that will include Jaguar dealers and customers. The first time the E-type was released back in 1961, its appeal managed to go beyond that of the automotive industry. As a result of its stance, the purity of the line, and even the flawless proportions, the E-Type is now part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York as a permanent exhibit. In addition, after the 1961 launch, this now iconic car then set new benchmarks when it came to performance and automotive design.

Even with the brand coming up with newer models, its modern range continues to display influences from the E-Type. This is why the brand continues to offer cars that offer top comfort as well as carry award winnings designs and equipped with innovative technologies that are superior over its rivals when it comes to performance.

Managing Director for Jaguar Cars and Chairman of Jaguar Heritage Mike O’Driscoll shared that even with 50 years of development, the E-Type remains to be significant today. When it was first launched, he added, it became a sensation and continues to be most iconic and lasting symbol of the brand. The E-Type is indeed one of the most exciting cars to have been made and it also serves as a legacy of the genius that was Sir William Lyons, the brand’s founder, O’Driscoll continued.

Launched during the 1960s, the E-Type came to be iconic in this period, comparable to the mini skirt, the swinging sixties, and of course, the Beatles. A number of celebrities have been known to own this iconic sports car and include famous names like Steve McQueen, Tony Curtis, George Best, and Brigitte Bardot. Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design direction, meanwhile said that it remains to be impossible to overstate the impact that the E-Type had when it was first unveiled.

This car in particular, Callum added, did not only symbolize the revolutionary era but even managed to capture its spirit. Even today, the E-Type remains to be a design that goes to reveal what the brand does when it come to the style of Jaguar’s future models.

First revealed to the public during the Geneva Motor Show held in March 1961, the E-type was able to cause a sensation. While the maximum speed was at 150 mph, it was priced at a fraction of the cost compared to competitors having the same performance. Being an affordable supercar, it has achieved a legendary status and was on sale for around 14 years.

Press Release

Jaguar celebrates 50 years of iconic E-Type

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history — the Jaguar E-Type. Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.

The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on to celebrate at Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.

When it was launched in 1961, the appeal of the E-Type transcended the automotive world. Such is the inherent rightness of its proportions, stance and purity of line, that it is a permanent exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The now iconic E-Type set new standards in automotive design and performance when it was launched in 1961. Its influence is still apparent in Jaguar’s modern range: cars that offer a peerless blend of performance, comfort, cutting-edge technology and award-winning design.

“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.”

E-Type owners included celebrities such as George Best, Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen and the sports car became as synonymous with the swinging sixties as the Beatles and the mini skirt.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961,” said Ian Callum, design director, Jaguar. “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.”

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, Jaguar’s E-Type caused a sensation. Capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was the affordable supercar and became an instant icon — remaining on sale for 14 years.

E-Type facts for editors:
The E-Type was presented to the world’s press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva on March 15, 1961. Such was the media excitement and clamour for demonstration runs up a nearby hillclimb that Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons instructed chief test driver Norman Dewis to drive through the night from Coventry to bring another model to Switzerland.
Even Enzo Ferrari admitted it was “the most beautiful car in the world”.
The E-Type’s straight-six engine had powered Jaguar to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s and by 1961 in 3.8-litre form produced 265bhp and 260lb ft of torque, making the car a genuine 150mph proposition and, like its XK120 predecessor, the fastest production car in the world.
At launch the E-Type cost £2,256 15s, including purchase tax and the all-important optional wire wheels, the equivalent today of just £38,000.
The E-Type’s perfectly proportioned bodywork was the work of Malcolm Sayer, an aeronautical engineer by training who also applied his aerodynamic expertise in shaping the earlier Le Mans-winning C and D-Type racers.
The E-Type remained in production for 14 years, selling more than 70,000 units, making it Europe’s first mass-produced sports car.

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